Classic Banana Cream Pie
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut in pieces
1/4 cup cold water
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
Banana Cream Filling:
2 large eggs
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
4 medium-size firm, ripe bananas
1/2 cup heavy cream
Sprigs of fresh mint (optional)
Sliced banana (optional)
1. To Make the Pie Shell: In a medium-size bowl, mix together the flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the 1/4 cup of butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, combine the water, egg yolk, and oil. Add the egg yolk mixture to the flour mixture, tossing gently with a fork to combine. Gather the pastry into a ball. Flatten it slightly, wrap in wax paper, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the Banana Cream Filling. In a small bowl, beat eggs, superfine sugar, and flour until smooth. In a medium-size saucepan, heat milk over moderate heat to just below the boiling point. Do not boil. Whisk 1/2 cup of milk into the egg mixture. Pour mixture back into pan and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring continuously. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and stir in the 1/4 cup of butter, 1 piece at a time, until melted. Pour the custard into a medium-size bowl. Cover surface with a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap. Cool to room temperature, then chill in refrigerator for 1 hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Lightly flour a work surface and a rolling pin. Roll the dough evenly, from the center outward, and line a 9″ pie pan, fitting it loosely and pressing to fit the side. Trim the edge 1/4″ above the rim of the pan, fold this edge under, and press in place with your fingers. Crimp the pastry edge.
4. Prick bottom of pie shell with a fork, line with aluminum foil, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake pie shell for 10 minutes. Remove foil and weights. Bake for 5 minutes more, or until golden. Remove pie shell from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool.
5. In a medium-size bowl, using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat the cream to stiff peaks.
6. Remove the custard from the refrigerator. Slice the bananas thinly and stir into custard. Spoon the mixture into the pie shell and smooth the top. Spoon whipped cream in the center. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint and banana slices, if desired.