American Pie Council

2019 Amateur Entry

 

Banana Split Meringue Pie

BANANA SPLIT MERINGUE PIE.
MY FAVORITE VACATION CATEGORY

Crust

1 1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup Crisco vegetable shortening, chilled
1/4 cup ice water
20 Nilla Wafers

Blend all dry ingredients except the Nilla wafers together in food processor. Add butter, and using 1-2 second pulses, cut into dry ingredients until pea size particles form (about 6-8 pulses). Add the Crisco and again, pulse into the dough with about 6-8 pulses.

Pour dough into mixing bowl. Using a fork, slowly add the ice water until dough is evenly moistened. Use spatula to press dough together.

Remove dough and form a ball with your hands. Form into 6 inch disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before using.

In food processor finely pulverize about 20 Nilla wafers into fine crumbs.
Generously sprinkle wafer crumbs over rolling surface. Place pie dough on top of crumbs. Sprinkle more crumbs on top of crust. Roll out crust, frequently sprinkling crumbs on top and bottom of crust until crust rolled out to fit 9” pie plate. Place on pie plate, roll edges over and crimp.

Blind bake at 400 degrees for 18 min. To blind bake: Place aluminum foil over crust to completely cover. Add pie weights. Bake for 18 minutes. Remove blind bake (aluminum foil and pie weights) and bake another 2-3 minutes until crust is evenly lightly baked. Cool completely.

Filling:

Chocolate ganache bottom layer:

1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup+ 2 Tablespoons heavy cream

Bring cream to gentle boil, stirring constantly. Pour into bowl containing butter and chocolate
chips. Use whisk to mix well. Pour into pie crust, swirling to make sure sides of crust are
completely lined and bottom is even. Refrigerate.

Strawberry layer:

1pound frozen strawberries
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons water
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup sugar and pinch salt
1/2 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced thin

Cook frozen berries in saucepan until starts to release juice (3 minutes). Increase heat to medium high and cook until thick and jam like (about 10-15 minutes). Should measure 1 cup.
Combine lemon juice, water and gelatin in small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Microwave briefly (10 sec) to liquify. Add gelatin mix, sugar and salt to cooked berries. Simmer for 2 minutes, transfer to bowl to cool completely.

Fold fresh berries into filling. Spread on top of chocolate layer. Refrigerate until set (2 hours)


Banana cream layer: (make banana infused milk well ahead of time to allow to cool)

Banana infused milk:

4 ripe bananas, sliced into 1/2” pieces. 2 1/2 cups whole milk + 1/4 cup heavy cream .

Place in medium saucepan Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring. Remove from heat.
Cover with lid, sit for at least 2 hours. Place fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Pour banana milk onto sieve. Using spatula, press on bananas to squeeze out all the milk. Scrape underside and add to milk. Discard bananas. Measure out 2 2/3 cups for use in banana cream.

2 2/3 cups banana infused milk (see above)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1 1/2 teaspoon gelatin dissolved in 2 Tablespoons water. Liquefy in microwave for 8-10 seconds before use
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 banana sliced into 1/4 inch thick pieces
1/3 cup crushed salted roasted peanuts
8-10 thin chocolate wafers (Nabisco)

Put sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan and whisk together. Add 2/3 cup of banana milk and whisk until smooth. Whisk in egg yolks and remaining milk. Cook over medium heat and add gelatin. Whisking constantly, bring mixture to boil. Cook x 1 minute more. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Cool slightly, whisking. Pour through fine mesh sieve placed over a bowl using spatula to push mixture through.

Place sliced banana on top of strawberry layer. Carefully pour banana cream on top of
bananas that were placed on strawberry layer. Use just enough to measure about 2/3 inch
thick (can put remainder in fridge and eat later as a treat!).

Distribute peanuts evenly on top of banana cream layer. Place chocolate wafers on top of
peanuts/banana cream to make 1 layer. Refrigerate until set (4 hours) covered with plastic
wrap.


Meringue layer

1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon superfine sugar
1/3 cup water

Combine cornstarch sugar and water into small pan. Cook until thick and translucent. Cool.

4-5 egg whites, room temp
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Caramel sauce (homemade is best, see recipe below)

Beat egg whites to frothy. Add vanilla and cream of tartar. Continue beating and slowly add
sugar. Once sugar incorporated, add cornstarch a bit at a time while beating. Beat until stiff
moist peaks are formed (Don’t overbeat!!)

Spread meringue on top of pie, sealing meringue to crust. Make decorative swirls.

Bake at 350F until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Drizzle caramel sauce on top of meringue. Refrigerate until time to serve, take out 30 minutes before serving.

To make caramel sauce: (Optional for decoration I prefer this over store bought sauce)

Make in advance.
Stir 1 cup sugar, ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar, and 3 Tablespoons water in a medium heavy saucepan to combine.
Bring sugar mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally and scraping around sides to dissolve sugar.
Once the sugar mixture is at a rapid boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, swirling the pan occasionally. After about 4 minutes, the syrup around the edges will start to turn golden.
Keep cooking, swirling as the edges darken to equalize the color and distribute the heat throughout the pan, until caramel is amber, another 2–3 minutes.
Continue to cook, swirling, until caramel is dark amber and a wisp of smoke appears, 1–2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter one tablespoonful at a time until smooth (mixture will sputter).
Stirring constantly, gradually add ½ cup room-temperature heavy cream. Stir until caramel is silky smooth and thick.
Stir 1 teaspoon kosher salt into caramel sauce and let cool (it will continue to thicken as it cools). Transfer to squeeze bottle container. You will have a lot left over for other uses; keeps well in the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature before using.


MY FAVORITE VACATION

When I was about 10 years old, my Dad took us to Red River, New Mexico on a fishing trip and to camp out by the river. He loved to put on his waders and walk into the river and fly fish. My Mom would read a book by the river. My brother and I would put fish eggs on our hooks and cast them into the river. Sometimes Dad would catch a fish or 2, but he spent most of his time untangling my fishing line from bushes, trees and submerged traps which would capture my hook. Dad got pretty frustrated, taking away his fishing time to help me, but we always had a great time being outdoors. For dinner he would fry any fish he caught. After dinner we would drive into town, go to the drug store and he would treat me and my brother to the best banana splits I can ever remember. This pie represents the memory of that fishing trip.


Ron Bronitsky