Cook’s Country: Banana Pudding Pie (Ep 1512)

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Banana Pudding Pie
SERVES 8

For the best results, use either fully yellow or lightly spotted bananas here (avoid bananas that are green on top or all brown). Peel and slice the bananas just before using to help prevent browning. Plan ahead: The pie needs to be refrigerated for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours before it’s topped. Chilling the topped pie for longer than 4 hours may cause the top to deflate. Don’t worry; it will still be delicious.

Ingredients
CRUST
4 cups (81/3 ounces) Nilla Wafer cookies
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

FILLING
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
13⁄4 cups half-and-half, divided
3⁄4 cup (51⁄4 ounces) granulated sugar
5 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon table salt
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch ground allspice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces and chilled
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced 1⁄4 inch thick (11⁄2 cups)

MERINGUE
1/3 cup (21/3 ounces) granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed (21/3 ounces) light brown sugar
4 large egg whites
1⁄4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon table salt

Directions
1. FOR THE CRUST: Adjust oven rack 8 inches from broiler element and heat oven to 325 degrees. Pulse cookies, sugar, flour, and salt in food processor until finely ground, about 10 pulses. Add melted butter and pulse until combined, about 8 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Transfer mixture to 9-inch pie plate (it will seem like a lot of crumbs).

2. Using your hands, press crumbs firmly up sides of plate, building walls about 1⁄4 inch thick and leveling top edge. Press remaining crumbs into even layer on bottom of plate, firmly pressing crumbs into corners of plate. Bake until fragrant and beginning to darken at edges, 18 to 20 minutes.

3. FOR THE FILLING: Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 1⁄2 cup half-and-half in small bowl and let mixture sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Whisk sugar, egg yolks, flour, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and remaining 11⁄4 cups half-and-half in large saucepan
until fully combined. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly and scraping corners of saucepan, until mixture thickens, bubbles burst across entire surface, and mixture registers 180 degrees in several places, 5 to 7 minutes. Off heat, whisk in butter, vanilla,
and gelatin mixture until combined.

4. Stir bananas into hot filling. Pour filling into crust (crust needn’t be completely cooled). Press parchment paper directly onto surface of filling and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

5. FOR THE MERINGUE: Whisk all ingredients together in bowl of stand mixer. Place bowl over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water, making sure water does not touch bottom of bowl. Whisking gently but constantly, cook until mixture registers
160 to 165 degrees, 5 to 8 minutes.

6. Fit mixer with whisk attachment and whip on high speed until meringue forms stiff peaks and is smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.

7. Gently peel off parchment from filling (if any filling sticks to parchment, scrape off and smooth back over surface of pie). Spread meringue over filling, making sure meringue touches edges of crust. Working gently, use spatula or spoon to create swirls over surface.

8A. FOR A BROILER: Heat broiler. Broil until meringue is well browned, 1 to 2 minutes, rotating plate as needed for even browning.
8A. FOR A TORCH: Ignite torch; continuously sweep flame about 2 inches above meringue until well browned.

9. Slice pie into wedges with wet knife, wiping knife clean between slices. Serve immediately. (Topped pie can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours.)

Photo Credit: Cook’s Country


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