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Banana Custard Pie with Caramelized Sugar
2¼ hours 40 minutes active, plus cooling
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Handmade, freshly baked pies sold by the slice are a specialty of the beach town of Yelapa in Jalisco state on Mexico’s west coast. Inspired by those Yelapa delights, recipe writer Paola Briseño-González created a simple, rustic banana custard pie with a sturdy, sandy-textured crust. We adapted her recipe, blending a banana into the custard mixture instead of only studding it with slices, for a creamy filling suffused with tropical flavor. As with most custard pies, this crust must be prebaked, so you will need pie weights for this recipe (about 2 cups works best to prevent shrinking and slipping during prebaking). And if you own a kitchen torch, this pie is a good reason to dig it out. It’s an optional step, but sprinkling the baked, cooled pie with sugar and brûléeing it until caramelized elevates the dessert, giving it a crackly-crisp surface and a lovely dappled look. Serve slices with lightly sweetened, softly whipped cream. Covered well, leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days (though if you caramelized the surface, the sugar crust will gradually soften).
8 to 10
Don’t use underripe bananas, but don’t use overripe ones, either. The bananas should be ripe so they’re sweet and creamy but not so ripe that they’re brown and mushy in texture. Don’t make the dough in advance. It’s easiest to work with when just made. Also, don’t roll it too thin; aim for ¼-inch thickness. If the dough tears when putting it into the pie plate, simply patch it; it’s very forgiving that way.
40 minutes active, plus cooling
grams (1½ cups) all-purpose flour
teaspoon table salt, divided
grams (4 tablespoons) salted butter, cut into pieces
grams (¼ cup) vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
pound ripe but firm bananas
large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
cup whole milk
ounce can sweetened condensed milk
teaspoon vanilla extract
grams (3 tablespoons) white sugar (optional, for caramelizing the surface)
01Heat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the middle position. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Make a well in the center; set aside.
02In a small saucepan, combine the butter, shortening and ¼ cup water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, stirring to melt the solids. As soon as they’re melted and the mixture is simmering, pour it into the well of the dry ingredients. Working quickly, stir with a silicone spatula until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened and without any dry patches; the dough will be very soft and resemble wet mashed potatoes. Turn it out onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and, using your hands, form it into a 6- to 8-inch disk.
03Cover the dough disk with another large sheet of plastic wrap and roll it into a 12-inch round of even thickness. Peel off the top sheet of plastic. Using the bottom sheet of plastic, carefully flip the round into a 9-inch pie plate, centering it as best you can. Ease the dough, still on the plastic, into the corners and up the sides of the pie plate. Carefully peel off the plastic. If needed, patch any tears in the dough. Trim the excess dough and flute or crimp the edge. Carefully line the dough with a large sheet of foil, gently pressing it into the corners and up the sides, then fill with about 2 cups pie weights.
04Bake until the dough is set, about 20 minutes. Carefully lift out the foil with weights, then prick the pie shell all over with a fork to deflate any air bubbles and prevent additional ones from forming. Bake until the shell is lightly browned, another 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool until barely warm to the touch. Reduce the oven to 325°F.
05Peel the bananas and slice them into ¼-inch rounds. Lay as many slices in the pie shell as will fit in a single, tightly packed layer, then set the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Add the remaining banana slices to a blender, along with the whole eggs plus yolk, milk, condensed milk, vanilla and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth, 15 to 30 seconds.
06Pour the mixture into the pie shell, taking care not to overfill it (some of the banana slices will rise to the surface); the pie shell may not hold all of the filling, depending on how much it shrank during prebaking. Carefully transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the filling is puffed and lightly browned at the edges and the filling jiggles only slightly when the pie plate is gently shaken, 55 to 65 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
07If caramelizing the surface, sprinkle the sugar evenly onto the cooled pie. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar until spotty brown. Serve within an hour, before the sugar crust softens. (The pie also is good served chilled, but if caramelizing the sugar, do so just before serving, as refrigeration will soften the sugar crust.)
Hi Diana -
The bananas go into the crust first then the custard gets poured over the bananas. Most of the bananas will, in fact, rise to the top. Then, if you choose to and have a kitchen torch, you can sprinkle sugar over the top of the pie and caramelize the sugar/bananas that floated to the top.
The Milk Street Team
I made this pie. It was good. It was all gone in one night. It tasted like the creme brulee with bananas and pie crust. I felt like the dough was not enough to cover my 10 in dish. I watched making this banana pie on YouTube and it seems there was more dough in the video once it was added to the pie dish. It had thick edges. Next time, I will make more dough. Also, in the YouTube video it shows you how to transfer the dough to the pie dish. I had failed 3 times then watched the video and it finally worked. My dough did shrink after baking it. It didn't end up pretty but the pie was good.
The recipe for the banana pie says to line the bottom of the pie shell with bananas. Then pour in the filling. Some bananas might float to the top. Yet in the picture bananas are neatly placed on top. Then torched. Where do the bananas go? Top or bottom