Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dessert Of The Month Club ~ "Your Favorite" Cream Pie

As I've mentioned before, my hubby loves banana pudding, but you know what he loves even more than banana pudding? Banana Cream Pie!

When I asked him what dessert he wanted for Father's Day, he said he really wanted a banana cream pie. To be honest, I didn't really like his answer.
1. I hate banana cream pie.
2. The thought of making a cream pie of any sort scared me to death.

Don't cream pies sound complicated? Well, they certainly did to me, but I decided to turn to my favorite cook book {The Joy of Cooking, 1997 edition} and see what I could come up with.
What I found there was the easiest and most delicious all-purpose recipe for every cream pie you can imagine!
That pie was so good that my hubby ate it for dessert Friday night, breakfast Saturday morning, and lunch Saturday afternoon. I'd say the proof is in the pie!

Whatever cream pie you like, be it vanilla, banana, coconut,  butterscotch, or chocolate, this recipe is for you!

"Your Favorite" Cream Pie

*Notes before beginning ~ Before preparing your filling, please prepare your favorite flaky pie crust and bake it until golden. These pies can be topped with your favorite meringue recipe or whipped cream or nothing at all!*

1. Basic/Vanilla Cream Pie
     2/3 c. sugar
     1/4 c. cornstarch
     1/4 tsp. salt
     2 1/2 c. whole milk
     5 large egg yolks
     2-3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
     1 Tbsp. vanilla

Whisk in a medium, heavy saucepan until well blended, sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
Gradually whisk in milk.
Vigorously whisk in egg yolks until no yellow streaks remain.
Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, bring the mixture to a bare simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat, scrape the corners of the saucepan with the spoon and whisk until smooth. Return to the heat and, whisking constantly, bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Off the heat, whisk in butter and vanilla.
Spoon filling into the prepared crust and press plastic wrap onto surface.
Refrigerate for 3 hours, if topping with whipped cream.
If topping with your favorite meringue recipe, top and bake immediately, let cool, and then refrigerate.

2. Banana Cream Variation

Prepare crust and filling for Basic Cream Pie, above.
Thinly slice 2-4 ripe bananas, enough to measure 1 1/2-2 cups.
Spoon a third of the filling into the pie shell and scatter half of the bananas over the top.
Cover with another third of the filling and then the rest of the bananas.
Spread the remaining filling over the top.

3. Coconut Cream Variation

Spread 1 -1/3 c. shredded sweetened dried coconut in a 9-inch cake pan and toast, stirring occasionally, in a 300 degree oven until golden brown, 2-30 minutes.
Prepare Basic Cream Pie, above, adding the coconut to the filling along with the butter.
If topping the pie with whipped cream, you can reserve 2-3 tbsp. of the coconut for sprinkling on the top.
Can also be served drizzled with chocolate or caramel sauce.

4. Chocolate Cream Variation

Prepare Basic Cream Pie, above, but increase the sugar to 1 cup and
decrease the cornstarch to 3 Tbsp.
Finely chop 4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, add it with the butter, and stir until the chocolate melts.
If topping with whipped cream, it can be decorated with grated semisweet chocolate.

5. Butterscotch Cream Variation

*This can be made with a pecan nut crust, if you prefer.*
Cook 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter and 1 packed cup light brown sugar in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until melted and bubbly, 3-5 minutes.
Gradually stir in 1/2 c. heavy cream OR evaporated milk. (Do not use regular milk, it may curdle.).
If necessary, return briefly to the heat to melt the butterscotch.
Let cool slightly.
Prepare the filling for Basic Cream Pie, above, but omit the sugar, decrease the milk to 2 cups, add the brown sugar mixture along with the milk, and omit the butter.


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