[This is part of a multi-post series on Thanksgiving. Start from the beginning.]
[A note from the blogger: I have updated this post to reflect the fact that some of my measurements were wrong. While making pies last night, I realized a few mistakes in this post.]
I am, if I do say so myself, pretty good at making pie. I have even been called the Queen of Pie. I like pie. I like making pie. And the Tuesday before Thanksgiving is Pie Day – the day on which I make at least 4 if not more pies. In this entry, I’ll discuss the easier pies.
Yes, I take help from the grocery store. No, I do not feel bad about it. Yes, I think Jell-O makes some darn good pudding!
Mike’s family is a big fan of banana cream pie. It’s not really my thing, but I think I’ve come up with a good recipe never the less. I make it in a 9-inch pie plate.
The crust is a pressed cookie crust – graham crackers to be precise. Since I now own a food processor, the whole thing is really easier than ever before. I buzzed up on sleeve of graham crackers in the food processor, and added about 2 tablespoons of sugar. I then added 4 tablespoons of melted butter, and it was done. I pressed it into the pie plate, and shoved it in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees to set up nice.
For the filling, I mix up the “for a fuller pie” recipe on the box of Jell-O’s french vanilla instant pudding. If memory serves, that’s something like 2 3/4 cups of milk for two boxes. Then I slice up at least 3 bananas, having a fourth on reserve. I slice them thin – about 1/4 of an inch. This way, there are many many layers. The first layer is a thinly spread layer of pudding. Then I tile on a complete layer of banana. Another layer of pudding fills in the spaces, and another layer of banana goes atop that. This continues, ending with pudding, until all the pudding is gone. The pie will not just be “fuller” – it will be full.
But I’m not done yet. I mix up some vanilla whipped cream, which I end up making at least 2 pints worth (that’s 2 pints of heavy cream, before whipping) by the end of the weekend. Some of it goes directly on the pudding pies, and the rest is used as a condiment on other pies. This is simple. In a cold bowl, whip the cream until airy. Then add powdered sugar (it has corn starch in it, this is important) – about 1/2 a cup per pint of cream, as well as 1 teaspoon of vanilla per pint of cream. Whip until peaky. Taste as you get close to see if you’d like it a bit sweeter. If you’re making both the banana and the chocolate cream pies (chocolate cream recipe on the way!), you’ll need almost a whole pint for topping.
To finish off the banana cream pie, use a piping bag or other prettifying device to cover the pie in whipped cream. Eat the banana cream pie within 3 days – the bananas will leach, and it will get soupy, and no one wants that.
Now, for the chocolate!
I get those chocolate cracker cookies whose name I do not know and which I have to scour the store to find every time I want them (they are called Famous Chocolate Wafers!). They are very light and quite crunchy. They come in a single stack. If you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about and/or can’t find them, Oreos would probably be okay, but you might reduce the butter content. You can also get chocolate graham crackers, and treat them just as regular graham crackers.
I set aside 6 crackers, broken in half neatly for decoration, and then put the rest of the package of chocolate cookies in the food processor with a quarter cup of sugar and 5 tablespoons of butter. It makes a similar kind of crust to graham cracker – only chocolate! This will make more than you need for one crust, but not enough for two. Line a 9-inch pie plate, and sprinkle the extra on a baking sheet. Throw both in the oven at 350 for ten minutes.
Meanwhile, make up some devil’s food chocolate pudding “for a fuller pie” and some more vanilla whipped cream. Let the crust cool a bit before adding about 1/3 of the pudding – the idea is to make about an inch thick layer of pudding. Then fold an equal amount of whipped cream into the remaining pudding, making a kind of mousse-like-thing. It’s awesome. Which is great, because you’ll have extra. Add this stuff to the pie, in heaping quantities. You can even pipe it on to make a pretty design. Finally, sprinkle on some of the extra crumbs, making a gorgeous chocolate mousse pie. You can also adorn it with more whipped cream and the reserved crackers. I usually have to store this pie in a cake carrier because it’s too tall to fit in a pie carrier.
Oooh, and bonus! Snacks for the chef! Even stacked as high as you can make it, you’ll probably have extra mousse and extra chocolate crumbs. Make yourself a snack, you deserve it! (I suppose you could also just do the whole thing in a 10-inch pan… but where’s the fun in that?)