How do I keep the Doctor away, with a Banana of course.

So much to say about one of my very favorite desserts, mm let me see, bananas, cream, pastry, creme anglaise, fluffy and downright delicious. Oh my what could be better.  A very dear friend of mine who will remain nameless says her favorite dessert is banana cream pie. For me, it is a close run thing, but the pie is for sure high up on the list. Why? Well why not?

A banana is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has five times the vitamin A and iron, four times the protein, three times the phosphorus, twice the carbohydrate and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is rich in potassium. As for value, well it really is value for money. “A banana a day surely does keep the doctor away!”

My first experience of banana cream pie was one of awe. Now sometimes I just have to have it…

banana-cream-pieIngredients
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
4 cups whipping cream
1 ½ cups full cream milk
1 whole vanilla bean split and seeds removed
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
½ cup corn starch
9 large firm bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Caramel sauce
Chocolate sauce
Shaved chocolate
1 tablespoon icing sugar
Several sprigs fresh mint

For the crust
1 packet digestive biscuits
1/3 cup melted butter

Place butter in a medium saucepan and leave to melt on a low heat. Crush the biscuits into small pieces, then add to the melted butter. Mix thoroughly and place in a pie dish, molding to the edges to give a nice pie lining. Once completed, place in the fridge to cool.

In a large saucepan, place the milk, a ½-cup of sugar, the vanilla bean and seeds, and two cups of whipping cream. Bring to a light boil, whisking constantly to ensure all sugars have dissolved. Remove from heat.

In a mixing bowl, add the egg yolks, eggs, cornstarch and one cup of sugar. Whisk on high until yellow in color, then place to one side.

Pour one cup of the hot cream mixture onto the egg mixture and blend. This procedure ensures that the eggs are brought up to the higher temperature correctly. Once this is completed, return the remaining cream mixture to the stove and ,on medium heat, stir and gradually add your egg mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to help thicken. Once you have the desired consistency pass through a sieve into a large bowl. Place surround wrap over the custard mixture, pressing down on the custard to ensure no skin occurs. Place in a fridge to cool for at least four hours.

Remove the pie crust from the fridge. Spread a slim layer of the custard over the bottom of the pie, then slice a portion of the bananas and cover the custard. Repeat this process a second time. The third layer is a little different. Slice bananas onto the third layer of the custard mixture leaving a ¾-inch space from the edge of the pie crust. Once completed, spread the remaining custard mixture over the top of the bananas to prevent discoloration, cover with surround wrap and place in the fridge overnight.

Pour the remaining whipping cream into a mixing bowl, add the vanilla extract and two teaspoons of sugar and whisk until you have stiff peaks.

Remove the pie from the fridge and remove the surround wrap. Using a large piping bag, pipe the whipping cream mixture over the top of the pie until all custard has been completely covered. Layer chocolate shavings over the top and drizzle both chocolate sauce and caramel sauce over the shavings. Finally, add several sprigs of fresh mint and dust with icing sugar.

Serve the pie to your guests and watch as they savor your creation. Smile. This dessert always makes everyone happy.

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