Cake or Pie?
It's a question that comes up over and over again. You may have chosen sides long ago, ready to fight for your chosen dessert, "Give me Pie or give me death!" or "You can take my cake when you pry it out of my cold dead hands!"
No more, I say!
Cake or pie...They're both so delicious, so why choose? Why can't we all just get along? Why not make a Pie-Cake?
This is a first exploration into this new topsy turvy melting pot of a world. I have created a Banana Cream Pie-Cake. I recreate the method here. This recipe will make 2 pie cakes, so get two pie pans greased up, because here we go...
I wanted a heavier cake with some substance that would support a creamy pie filling, so I chose my favorite banana bread recipe for the cake base. This recipe is from Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen, one of the best cookbooks I have ever known. I print a version of the recipe here to show the modifications I made to make this Pie-Cake. If anyone has any objections, speak now or forever hold your peace...
2 cups or 3 Large well-mashed overripe bananas
1 cup sugar
3 eggs (the original recipe calls for 2, but I got carried away)
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 Tablespoons of buttermilk (or a mixture of 3 Tablespoons milk and 1/2 teaspoon vinegar set out for 1 hour) - Note: I use the milk and vinegar mixture. I tried the buttermilk once, but decided it wasn't worth buying the extra buttermilk.
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, dry roasted. (I used a half cup)
In a large bowl combine the bananas, sugar and eggs with a spoon until well blended. Gradually add the butter, mixing well. Stir in the flour and baking soda until well mixed and creamy. Stir in the buttermilk, then fold in the pecans.
(This next part veers from the original recipe)
Spoon batter into 2 greased pie pans. Bake at 300 degrees for 60 minutes until dark brown.
Allow to cool.
While the cakes are cooling, it's time to make the pie filling. I chose a recipe from Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking for my filling. I figured I'd stick to the region from where the cake recipe came from. I modified this recipe as well so I will write it up as I made it, if you want the real recipe, buy the book ; ).
2 Cups Whipping Cream
1 Cup Milk (the book uses 3 cups heavy cream, but I was out so I made do.)
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
3/4 Cup Cornstarch
2 1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
5 Large Egg Yolks
4 Ripe Bananas
Heat the cream in a large saucepan over high heat. Stir in the vanilla and the butter and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the milk with cornstarch and stir until thoroughly blended and smooth.
When the mixture in the saucepan begins to boil, stream in the cream (milk)/cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly until all is thoroughly incorporated. Remove from the heat.
In a bowl combine the sugar and salt, and whisk this dry mixture vigorously into the saucepan until the cream is thick and the dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Over low heat, whisk in the egg yolks one at a time. Remove from the heat and whisk the pastry cream until smooth and creamy.
Take the bananas and slice them into 1/4 inch slices, set aside.
Now that the cakes are cool, take a long sharp knife and carefully cut off the tops of the cakes. Set tops aside.
Scoop a bit more of the cake out to make more room for pie filling.
Pour about 1/6 of the pie filling mixture into each cake shell. Layer 1/4 of the bananas into each of the shells.
Cover with 1/6 pie filling in each shell, layer the rest of the bananas (saving a few for garnish) onto the filling and top with remaining pie filling.
Place the cake tops you set aside onto the cake and garnish with a few banana slices.
Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. You may cover your pie cakes in the fridge... it just wasn't as pretty that way.
I enjoyed this first pie cake, but I found that I wanted more. I may try an crumb cake apple pie or a chocolate cake pudding pie. If I do, I promise to report my findings. Until then, enjoy your new world... one in which pie and cake no longer have to be separate.