I asked my friend Alice Demetrius Stock, a former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette vintage-cookbook columnist—for her favorite old pie recipe. She responded with this versatile cream pie from Raymond Sokolov’s 1976, “Great Recipes from the NYTimes.” It’s become Alice’s all-time favorite cream pie. We prepared it as a banana-cream, but Alice has had good results substituting coconut for the bananas, or, blending good-quality, milk-chocolate chips into the cream while it’s hot, to make a yummy chocolate cream pie. My boys named this the best-tasting of all the recipes I tested this month.
Makes one, 10-inch pie; 8-servings
- 1 cup cold, sifted flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1/3 cup ice-cold lard plus 1 Tbsp ice-cold butter
- 2 ½ Tbsp ice water
- ½ cup sugar
- 5 Tbsp flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups milk
- 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 3 medium, ripe bananas, unpeeled
- 1 baked 10-inch pie shell
- Whipping cream, for garnish
- Make crust: Preheat oven to 400. Blend or sift flour and salt. Cut fat in with metal pastry blender, or two knives, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle ice water over dough and moving cool fingers quickly around bowl in circular motion, blend mixture into a smooth ball of dough. (Takes a minute or two). Roll dough on well-floured board to fit pie pan with 1-inch overhang for fluting. Press dough gently into pan , fold top crust edge and flute. Prick bottom and sides of crust with a fork.
- Bake crust: Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit in bottom of unbaked pie shell. Pour 1/2 cup of beans or lentils over this to weight the bottom. Bake at 425 for five minutes. Carefully pour out the beans. Bake for another 5 minutes until pie shell is golden brown. Cool.
- Make filling: In top of double boiler, combine sugar, flour and salt. Add milk slowly, mixing thoroughly. Cook over rapidly boiling water until well-thickened, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolks to temper them; then pour warmed eggs back into remaining hot mixture while beating vigorously. Cook one minute longer. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla and stir in. Cool, but do not refrigerate. Peel and slice bananas into pie shell and cover immediately with filling. Cool completely. Refrigerate. When ready to serve, whip cream and pipe onto pie