My younger daughter is a super-smeller, like me. We have a ridiculous sense of smell. Now I am not sure I am a super-taster, but I swear she is probably the closest thing to a super-taster that I know. This comes in handy when things spoil – particularly milk. My older daughter is pretty good too, but not as good as her little sister. Years ago we were visiting some friends – both of my kids love milk – but for some reason they just weren’t drinking their milk. After the second day, I asked what was going on – and they quietly told me that the milk tasted funny. They thought it was because we were not at home, and maybe our friends bought a different type of milk. I tasted it – and there it was – the milk had gone sour. Oops.
Yesterday was a nice day – it was a holiday, and I was fasting – but what do I do when I fast? I bake. My excuse was that we were having some friends come over for dessert after break-the-fast. Truthfully, I have a much easier time fasting when I am in the kitchen. Don’t ask me why – and since I do consider my kitchen to be my place of worship – I thought it was only fitting. I had a great day reflecting, as I slowly made this Banana Cream Pie – a recipe that I found in Bon Appetit. The only problem with baking while fasting, is I am not able to try things along the way. At one point I asked my older daughter (who is not old enough yet to fast) to try the filling – just to make sure we were on the right track – and boy did she love it.
It was right before dinner when I decided to make the whipped cream topping for the pie. I whipped up the cream, and spread it on the pie. It looked amazing. It looked so good that I decided to take pictures before the sun came down. I got a few good shots and then stuck it back in the refrigerator to keep cool. At this point I was knee-deep into preparing dinner, and I just left the bowl on the counter with a few streaks of whipped cream waiting for someone to take a lick. I finished making dinner when my husband declared fasting was over. I went right over to that bowl with the whipped cream and scooped up a little of the leftover cream – wow, that was not good. I tried it again, boy that tasted horrible – I ran over the refrigerator and grabbed the leftover cream in the carton and took a whiff…oh my goodness, the cream I had purchased that day (with an expiration date of October 20th) was completely rancid. I couldn’t believe it.
I sat there for a second not knowing what to do. I certainly couldn’t let this pie go to waste – but we couldn’t eat the cream either. So, after dinner – my husband ran out to the store to get me another carton of cream (I instructed him to open it in the store to make sure it was good), and I scraped the cream off the top of the pie into the sink. Banana Cream Pie – take 2. Fortunately the next batch of whipped cream was delicious – and I spread it on top of the pie. Amazingly it was all completed before our friends arrived. The pie was delicious – particularly with that sweet cream on top. The filling though was perfect – nice and creamy with chunks of banana. Oh, and everyone loved the thin layer of chocolate between the crust and the filling.
There are lots of things I plan on doing differently this year, as always – but there was one thing I added later in the day. From now on, I am always going to smell what is in that carton before doing anything more with it – whether it is fresh off the shelf or has been sitting in the refrigerator for weeks. I definitely learned my lesson there.
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- Prebaked 9″ pie crust
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 sliced bananas
- 1 cup chilled heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
Melt 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate with 2 teaspoons vegetable oil and brush over a prebaked 9″ pie crust; chill until set. Meanwhile, whisk 3 large egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan, off heat, until smooth. Gradually whisk in 2 cups whole milk. Whisking constantly, bring to a full boil over medium heat and boil until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Fold in 3 sliced bananas and let cool slightly. Pour filling into prepared pie crust, cover with plastic wrap, and chill until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day. Beat 1 cup chilled heavy cream with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract until firm peaks form; spoon over pie and swirl decoratively.
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