Inspiration for making Banana Chocolate Cream Pie
It started off so innocently. Cruisin' the intertubes for inspiration and I stumbled upon what I knew was the food-enthusiast's equivalent of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: a website full of beautiful photographs of prepared food and the recipes to create them with. Several hours and several hundreds of photos later, I found my first target- a stunningly beautiful banana cream pie recipe that looked decadent & sophisticated (as opposed to hearty & unrefined).
I chose this recipe for many reasons. First, it's something I don't really like. Most banana cream pies I've ever looked at or thought of eating are clearly made with boxed pie filling and topped with oxidized bananas. Second, I had bananas I needed to use up (those blackened ones in the freezer taking up space), and third, it looked absolutely delicious. I'm always hesitant about using recipes from the internet though, especially from a source I haven't used before. That's because more often than not, these recipes are doomed to fail through no fault of the cook. As a person who loves just about anything that encourages people to take an interest in what they are eating, a bad recipe (and there are PLENTY of them around) can sour even the most experienced of chefs.
Requirements of a Good Recipe
A good recipe must contain the following: be accurate, be clear in it's directions, and be complete. Most important: it must be tested to prove it works! Missing ingredients, typos in measurements, omitted steps, un-tested formulas and inexperienced cookbook writers are all reasons why recipes fail. Sometimes it's just plain old misunderstanding. Sometimes, that glorious food-porn image accompanying the recipe doesn't represent the the actual dish. It's a food stylist's and photographer's job to make your mouth water when viewing an image- not to ensure a recipe is accurate. Those big websites that offer tens of thousands of recipes? I click my back-button as fast I can. Remember- quantity doesn't equal quality. Who wrote that recipe anyway?
When Gutenberg created the movable-type printing press, it revolutionized the world. Information, thoughts, and ideas that were once restricted to just few fortunate libraries and scholars, were now able to be shared on a mass scale. This media transformed the way society communicated. The same can be said for the internet. Words and pictures can now be shared across the globe in micro-seconds, and a large percentage of world has the access to not only receive these messages, but also the ability to send them. The problem with this is: just because someone can send out information, doesn't make the information accurate. With the internet, you don't always know who or what was the original source of the message. Sometimes, the messages sent are inaccurate, unclear, and incomplete. Misinformation being shared isn't a new idea though. What is new is how fast and easily it can be done. Good for wanting to know the minute cousin Mary has her baby, but not so good when Aunt Lucy decides to share her recipe for home-canned mushrooms she made up on the weekend.
Not All Recipes are Treated Alike
Now that I've got my dislike for cook.com and inexperienced adapters of copyrighted material off my chest, you may be wondering- how does this relate to banana cream pie? It relates in that even the most professional food sites can make a mistake. Put simply- the banana cream pie recipe I swooned over was faulty. If I hadn't used my knowledge and experience in recipe analysis and food preparation to realize something was 'off', my dessert would have been a flop. Recipe disasters waste time, money, and precious food. I do believe the site I obtained the recipe from didn't intentionally omit a crucial ingredient and provide accurate instructions, but that's exactly what happened.
Reading through the entire recipe before opening the fridge door to check for eggs is an absolute must for any serious cook. By analyzing and recognizing the style of this recipe, I turned back to Google and the internet to search for another version. What I found was the original source of the recipe, from the actual cookbook of the actual recipe author. It was accurate, it was clear, and it was complete. It was a delicious success.
Banana Chocolate Cream Pie- Recipe
Banana Cream Pie Assembly
Banana Cream Pie
Adapted from: Momofuku Milk Bar
225 g ripe bananas
75 g heavy cream
55 g milk
100 g sugar
25 g corn flour
2 g kosher salt
3 egg yolks
2 gelatin sheets, bloomed in cold water
40 g butter, cubed
Combine bananas, cream, and milk in a blender and puree. To this banana mixture add sugar, corn flour, salt and egg yolks. Puree mixture until smooth then pour into a pot. Over medium heat, stir mixture constantly as it thickens and bubbles, ensuring the starch taste has cooked out. Transfer to clean blender and puree again with the gelatin (water squeezed out) and the butter. Once smooth, place banana mixture into clean bowl, cover, and chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour or until cold. While chilling, whip cream and icing sugar to soft peak stage:
160 g heavy cream
100 g icing sugar
Once banana mixture chilled, stir in whipped cream. Set aside until you are ready to assembly the pie.
105 g flour
4 g cornstarch
100 g sugar
65 g cocoa powder
4 g kosher salt
85 g butter, melted
Sift together dry crust ingredients. Using a fork or mixer, stir in melted butter until evenly moistened.
Sprinkle dough onto parchment lined tray and bake in a 300°F oven for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up clumps. Clumps will still be slightly moist, be will become crunchy when cool. Once cool, use a food processor to break clumps into course crumbs.
8 g sugar
0.5 g salt
14 g butter, melted
Add sugar and salt to crushed crumbs. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, stir in melted butter until crumbs can hold together. Press into 10-inch pie plate and allow to cool to room temperature.
2 ripe but firm bananas
To assemble the pie, pour 1/2 of banana cream filling into chocolate pie crust. Cover with 1 sliced banana. Pour in remaining filling, then top with more slice banana and chocolate shavings. Allow pie to chill until set, about 3 hours. Serve within 2 days for best taste and texture.
For those wondering what was faulty with the recipe - it didn't include gelatin, meaning- it wouldn't have set properly. It also combined all of the crust ingredients together in one step.
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.