banana cream pie

To me, the last hours of a year are always filled with expectations, excitement, and dreams.

As a matter of fact, I have been dreaming a lot lately. Possibly because my 9am/11pm day life is quite very busy with mise en place, desserts à l’assiette, afternoon teas, foams, and many more exciting things.

Thus, at night I dream that:
1. I spend a weekly day off with my boyfriend.
2. my hair is not that messy.
3. I become a better pâtissière.
4. I see more daylight.
5. I take the time to capture moments through photographs.
6. our Christmas tree lasts forever.
7. I make beautiful pastries at home.
8. Polaroid film hits the shops again.
9. I have leopard leggings in every possible colour.
10. I take the time to write in my new Moleskine diary.

Oh, and while I’m at it, I should admit that I dream of a puppy dog quite often too. I can’t tell you how happy I would be if only one of those dreams would come true during 2010.

Bring it on!

banana cream pie

As for today, I’m afraid it’s nothing near dreamy. But you have to remember that we basically have one wisk, a couple of baking sheets, and that-is-pretty-much-it in our tiny London kitchen.

I did my best to recreate the lovely banana cream pie I had in mind, and trust me, you wouldn’t have wanted to see the kitchen after two of those small tarts were made.

Pulling isomalt without a Silpat is hard. Smoothing whipped cream without a spatula is harder. Piping without a bag is the hardest.

At least, we had a good laugh and a satisfied tummy. Despite the evident lack of sophistication, this tart – or pie – is delicious.

The perfect end to our marathon Christmas lunch.

banana cream pie

Banana cream pie with a chocolate mousse quenelle
My secret to this flavourful banana cream pie is to roast the banana in its own skin before mashing it very slightly, and spreading it at the bottom of a crisp tart shell.

Then comes the confiture de lait. You can either make your own by boiling some milk and sugar together to a thick consistency and golden colour, or boil an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk for hours, or even get the ready-made kind.
I must admit I went for a jar of dulce de leche found at Whole Foods since I didn’t really have the required motivation/energy to make it at home. Sometimes, the easy path feels the best.

Since confiture de lait is quite sweet, I prefer to use plain whipped cream to top my pie instead of chantilly.

Banana cream pie with a chocolate mousse quenelle

makes four 10cm tarts
for the tart shell
250g flour
pinch of sea salt
125g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
25g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
40ml ice-cold water

Sift the flour, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse oatmeal. Mix the egg yolk and water together and pour over the flour mixture. Gently knead until it all comes together. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line four 10cm tart tins. Roll the pastry and drape it over the prepared tin. Press it into the edges and sides of the tin and trim the excess pastry away from the rim. Prick the base with a fork and chill for another 20 minutes.
Bake the pastry blind for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

for the filling
3 bananas
250g confiture de lait or dulce de leche
200g double cream, whipped

Place the bananas – unpeeled – on a baking tray and roast for 15-20 minutes or until black and soft. Allow to cool before removing the flesh from the skin and mashing it slightly with a fork.
Spread into the baked tart shells. Top with confiture de lait and whipped cream. Devour.

And before I forget about it: HAPPY NEW YEAR. x