I have 2 Recipes in this post: David Lebovitz’s Banana Butterscotch Cream Pie, and his adapted version of Almond Cake from the Chez Panisse Dessert Cookbook by Lindsey Remolif Shere For the record, David Lebovitz is a genius, a total dessert mastermind. His blog and recipes have changed my life for the better. And so in honor of him I am posting 2 of his recipes that I make a little too often.
Banana Butterscotch Cream Pie
Normally, I only post my own kitchen creations on our blog, but if I make something more than 5 times it becomes a family staple. This pie is so phenomenal that I go out of my way to buy bananas we won’t eat so I have an excuse to make this pie.
I have tweaked this recipe a bit, so this version is not David’s exact recipe. For example he uses a chocolate cookie as his pie shell and that chocolate cookie recipe is in his book, but for the sake of simplicity I use graham crackers. If anyone wants his exact recipe, I suggest you buy his book: "Ready For Dessert", so you have all of his amazing recipes. You won’t regret the purchase. As a matter of fact, I highly suggest you go to his blog as well, and subscribe to his newsletter to experience all the rest of his brilliance.
10 sheets graham crackers 1 TSP fine granulated sugar 4 TB unsalted or salted butter
1 Cup dark brown sugar 2 TB unsalted or salted butter 3 TB corn starch 1 ½ cups whole milk ½ TSP salt 3 large egg yolks ½ TSP vanilla extract 3 medium ripe bananas
1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream 1 TB fine granulated sugar ½ TSP vanilla extract
What to do: Preheat your oven to 350F. Butter a pie dish and set aside. Starting with the crust: put the graham crackers into a food processor and grind completely, toss into a mixing bowl and add in 1 TSP sugar and 4 TB melted butter. Mix well to combine, then pour the crumbs into your pie dish and press into the sides. Using the flat bottom of a drinking glass, flatten the crumbs into the bottom of the dish. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool. Once cooled, peel and slice your bananas and layer them into the bottom of the pie shell. Making the filling: In a small saucepan, melt 2 TB butter into the dark brown sugar and mix to combine, toss into a large mixing bowl and set a strainer over it, you’ll come back to it shortly. In a small bowl whisk the cornstarch and just enough milk to make a smooth slurry, set aside. In another bowl, whisk the 3 egg yolks and set aside. Rinse out the same sauce pan you used to melt the brown sugar and heat up the remaining milk and ½ TSP salt over medium heat, once hot add in the cornstarch slurry, stirring constantly, be careful it will thicken fast! As it begins to boil and get really thick add some of the egg mixture carefully and basically toss some custard into the egg bowl and back and forth some eggs into the milk and some milk into the eggs. The point here is to combine the ingredients so that eventually all the eggs end up in the milk, and it all thickens and boils together without ending up like scrambled eggs! It will become a thick custard which you will then pour/plop through your strainer with the goal of combining it into the dark brown sugar mixture. Add the vanilla and whisk to combine all well and pour the whole insanely delicious custard on top of the sliced banana and graham cracker shell you have waiting. Cover this with plastic wrap and chill for a couple of hours in the fridge. While that’s happening make the whipped cream.
Making the whipped cream: sometimes I use a stand mixer, sometimes an electric beater, whichever you have is fine. Fill a chilled bowl with cream and whisk on high until it starts to look solid, then add in the sugar and vanilla and whip into topping. Spread onto the chilled pie. Then see how long you go before making your next one! I bet you can’t make just one…..
Next up: Almond Cake
Shopping List: 1 1/3 cups fine granulated sugar 8 oz Odense almond paste (I used 7 and it was fine) ¾ cup, plus ¼ cup flour 8 oz unsalted butter at room temp 1 ½ TSP baking powder ¾ TSP salt 1 TSP vanilla extract 1 TSP almond extract 6 large eggs at room temp
Optional for frosting: 8 oz semisweet chocolate ½ cup marscapone 1 TB unsalted butter What to do: Preheat your oven to 325F. Butter and flour a 9-10 inch cake or spring form pan. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together ¾ cup flour, baking soda and salt, set aside. For the cake: In the bowl of your food processor, grind up the almond paste, sugar and ¼ cup of flour until it is finely ground and resembles fine sand. Add the butter, vanilla, almond extract and process until smooth and fluffy. Add in 1 egg at a time processing a bit before adding in the next one until the batter is all mixed and a bit curdled looking. Add half of the flour mixture, pulsing the machine to combine and then add the rest of the flour mixture making sure to always scrape down the sides of your bowl so all ingredients combine well. This can also be done in a bowl by hand. Be careful not to overly beat the mixture. Pour the mixture into your prepared cake pan and bake for approx 1 hour or until the top is deep brown, and the cake feels set when you press the center. Another good test is to stick in a toothpick or skewer and if it pulls out moist but clean it is ready. Let the cake cool in its pan and then when cool tap out and onto a plate.
Frosting: I made this up on my own, brave for sure, but thrilled because it was so good and didn’t end up in the garbage pail! In a small saucepan or double boiler melt the chocolate, marscapone and butter on low heat, stirring constantly to avoid any burning. When combined, pour over cake, spread and let it set up before digging in.