Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Banana Cream Pie with Dark Chocolate Ganache

That unassuming, delicious looking banana cream pie has a surprise for you. A dark, sweet, chocolatey layer of ganache is hiding, nestled between the custard and the crust, just waiting to be bitten into and enjoyed.

Last monday was S's 25th birthday, and we went camping in the New Jersey Pine Barrens to celebrate, which is pretty much our favorite summer camping destination. There's a great little river and we hike out along some sand roads with big inner tubes, then hop in the river and float back to our campground all afternoon drinking hard cider. In the evenings we made swiss and pastrami camper pies, and vegetarian frito chili pies and apple-pie-on-a-stick, and basically we just ate pies. It's heaven. But when we came home, I asked S what type of birthday pie or cake he would like, and he said Banana Cream Pie. With Chocolate. So the pies continued.

"Do you want chocolate in the banana filling?" I asked, confused by his request.
"No." He said, decisively.
"So like a drizzle of homemade magic shell on top?" I asked, knowing his love for my homemade magic shell.
"Yeah, something like that" He said. I pondered this. Would the pie be cold enough to solidify the coconut oils and dark chocolate (the only two ingredients in my magic shell recipe)?
"What about a ganache layer?" I asked. 
"No- well, yes, but not too sweet." S stipulated.
And so this pie was born.

The banana custard filling is borrowed from Bon Appetit, though I added an extra banana, and the crust is a lightly adapted take on Martha Stewart's Gingersnap Crust, though I will admit I used Whole Foods store brand gingersnaps in lieu of making Martha's recipe just to crush them into crust. The store bought snaps worked great, the crust was essentially one giant cookie and everyone loved it.

Banana Cream Pie with Dark Chocolate Layer


10 oz Gingersnap Cookies
1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch of coarse salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pie Filling: 

3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
 2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 sliced bananas

Whipped Cream: 

1 C Heavy Cream
1/4 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add gingersnaps to a food processor and blitz until reduced to large crumbs, or place in
gallon ziplock bag and hit with mallet or otherwise crush until reduced to large
crumbs. Place in bowl and whisk in the brown sugar, salt, and flour, mix well, then
add the butter and mix until well combined. Press some of the mixture together and 
if it holds shape it's ready, if not, add a tiny bit of water. 

Press crumb mixture into a lightly buttered 9-inch pie plate, evenly covering the bottom and sides.
Transfer to freezer and chill for 10 minutes. Place pie plate on a baking sheet and
bake until crust is fragrant and set, about 10 minutes. Transfer pie to a wire rack; let
cool completely.


Heat cream and butter in saucepan over medium heat until mixture is hot (do not boil). Remove from heat. Add chocolate and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Pour into cooled pie crust. Chill crust until chocolate ganache is thick and semi-firm, about 30 minutes.

Pie Filling:

While crust cools, whisk egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan, off heat, until smooth. Slowly whisk in the milk. Whisking constantly, bring to a full boil over medium heat and boil until the custard thickens, pulls away from the walls, and is just a bit thinner than pudding, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. Fold in the sliced bananas and let cool about 15 minutes. When pudding has cooled some, pour over the crust and ganache, spread out, and let chill in fridge 3 hours minimum.

Whipped Cream:

Beat cream, sugar, and vanilla together until firm peaks form.  Spread over cooled pie. 
Serve chilled, and enjoy. 


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