Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Request Line Is Open...

...for a select few (and by "select few" I mean "my father-in-law"). A few months ago, or late last year, when I was doing some baking, Michele's father asked me for a cream pie. I can't remember if it was when she was telling him about what I was making for Birthday Tea or if she was describing one of the experiments I was gifting to her co-workers but he put in an order for a cream pie of some kind. He recently put in the order again when we got together for lunch. "Chocolate or Banana?" were the options I gave him because I am not making a coconut cream pie; I hate coconut. As much as I like him, I can't bring myself to get over my aversion to that tropical delicacy enough to bake with it. Michele ended up being the deciding factor, mainly because she had a hankering for bananas the other day.

After a lovely afternoon wandering around the Greenmarket at Union Square yesterday, I stopped in at Fairway on East 86th Street to pick up ingredients. Both of these shopping destinations are ripe for deeper blog exploration (it's amazing to me how many topics can present themselves to me here) and made the crust late last night. I'm not one hundred percent sold on the crust, though. It's graham cracker and my technique with that kind of crust isn't the best...yet. We'll see

An aside: I love doing some baking tasks just before what should be bedtime. I get a sense of accomplishment just before I conk out for the night and the apartment smells like freshly baked somethingorother. Talk about fodder for good dreams!

So, it's now father's day, Sunday, and I'm having some coffee while finishing the pie. I don't normally have coffee on the weekends before Michele gets up but today I really needed the warmth of that cuppa' as I worked on the filling. Usually I wait until she wakes and make coffee for both of us. This morning it was percolated coffee for one, using this cute little, vintage percolator.

Crust made, coffee percolating!
I'll go into the story of this coffee maker later but for now, let's just say that it was the perfect contraption to make the perfect amount of coffee to have with filling fixing! The recipe I used for both the crust and the filling is in Judith Choate's The Great American Pie Book, one of the cookbooks I've had for many years that I'm rereading with renewed baking vigor. It's a very good book for basic technique, ingredient suggestions and good recipes. I highly recommend it.

The custard was very simple enough to make and it firmed up perfectly. I think I'm starting to get the hang of some custards. (I'm definitely going to compare and contrast this recipe with the one I'm using for the egg custard pie.) I figured cooling the custard on the marble slab while I worked on lining the crust with bananas would work nicely. I was right.

Custard, coffee, cookbook
Not quite "bell, book and candle", but baking is magic, anyway. Twenty minutes later and, look! Filled pie crust!

Sans topping
I'm chilling the pie in the refrigerator and will transfer it to my all-purpose Pyrex dessert transporting container in a couple of hours so that we can carry it to my in-laws downtown. I'm making the whipped cream topping there, so I'll post pictures later.

Currently listening to: Virginia Coalition, Sing Along 

7: 59 p.m. – The results are in!

Michele and I just got back from her father and step-mother's apartment and we're full of Ford Farm Dorset Red cheese (with which I'm dying to make a grilled cheese sandwich sometime soon), artichoke hearts, French breakfast radishes, baby spinach salad with smoked chicken breast and walnuts – dressed with fig-infused balsamic vinegar and olive oil. And the finished banana cream pie. Michele took these pictures with her phone (I totally forgot my own camera, so thank goodness for technology) the topping.

Is my hand really that big?
I was right about the crust, though. I need to work on it. Still, it was quite tasty and I'd make this one again for sure. I love the way the taste and aroma of the bananas wrapped themselves in the sweetness of the custard. Quite tasty indeed.

Something I appreciate a great deal is sitting with my in-laws, sharing a meal and swapping  stories. I find that Michele's family has that in common with my own and that makes for some delightful times together. My father-in-law did indeed enjoy the pie and offered to taste-test anything else I'm concocting. My step-mother-in-law seconded that. It's good to have volunteers.

Now, on to the next adventure, which is something I'm working on for my father.



  1. Yes, your hand *mumblemumbleforshortening lensmumble* ahem, no really, it's THAT big.

    You forgot about the Belgian butter & fresh baguette for the thinly sliced French breakfast radish sandwiches, the sugar snaps in the salad, the aged gouda, the fresh burata, the grilled artichoke hearts, black olives, and that mystery-whaddyacallit-Tomei something cheese. (I'll give you 1 guess which of us was in charge of acquiring the savory portion of lunch)

    Thanks for making pie for my Dad :)

    1. Yes, the pie really was only about three-inches by three-inches. And I didn't forget about all that stuff. I was just too tired to type it all down. Thanks for putting together a savory lunch for us, honey. :)

  2. Dude! I hate coconut too!!!

    1. See? I knew I liked you for a reason!

  3. Yes our hands are REALLY that big!

    1. And here I thought I was this petite flower....

  4. I'm always down for the savory!!!!!(drool drool)