Friday, April 27, 2012

Banana Boston Cream Pie

Firstly, I want to give my Foodbuzz friends a big thank you for voting the Amadeus Cookies into the top 9!  Your kindness, talent and knowledge are what drives me to strive to do better every day.  Not sure where I would be without the Foodbuzz community! 
I have been wanting to make something with bananas recently, but I wanted something different from bread or ice cream.  Then after reviewing several recipes, I decided on this particular one.  It is a version of the Boston Cream Pie, but created with banana cake instead of the standard yellow cake.

Some people do not like banana because they say it has too strong of a flavor.  However, this particular recipe, even though it has 6 mashed bananas, has a light flavor which does well with the chocolate ganache and vanilla pastry.  You can still taste the distinct flavors in the cake which makes it well balanced. I do not want to be eating chocolate and only tasting bananas!

The cake here is a little tall. The recipe calls for 10 inch cake pans and I used 9 inch pans.  Normally I photograph my layered cake slices laying down, but I decided to save some of the ganache and drizzle it over one slice. I had to move this several times during the photo session and I was worried about it toppling over. Luckily it survived the moving around!

There is an upcoming BBQ I have been invited to that I am deliberating on attending.  However, since there is a big difference between the number of people in an army squad and squadron, I will have to clarify that.  This cake certainly will not feed a whole squadron!

Banana Boston Cream Pie
adapted from From Emerils Kitchen Cookbook

4 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
1 tbs vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 cups mashed ripe (not over ripe) bananas (about 6 bananas)
1 1/4 sticks plus 2 tbs butter (room temp)

Ingredients/Pastry Cream
1/2 cup plus 3 tbs sugar
2 cups plus 2 tbs cream
3 tbs and 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1/2 a vanilla bean, split lengthwise with seeds scraped out and all reserved

Ingredients/Chocolate Ganache
1 1/4 lbs or 3 1/4 cups chopped semisweet chocolate
2 cups heavy cream

Due to chilling time, the pastry cream will need to be made first.  Pour 2 cups of the cream into a small saucepan and add 1/2 cup and 1 tbs of the sugar and stir.  Then add all reserved vanilla bean ingredients.   Place saucepan over medium heat and let come to a simmer.  Stir while cooking to make sure all the sugar gets dissolved.  Then remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, add the rest of the cream ingredients (2 tbs sugar, 2 tbs cream, cornstarch, egg yolks).  Blend all together with a whisk until mixture turns pale yellow.  Take 1/2 cup of the hot cream and whisk into egg mixture until blended.  Then pour back into the saucepan of the remaining cream mixture.  Place pan over medium heat and let cook, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon.  Once the mixture can coat the back of the spoon, it is done cooking.  Remove from heat and pour into heatproof bowl.  Cover the surface of the cream with plastic wrap.  Then refrigerate for about 4 hours.  I sped up the process and did 2 hours, one in the fridge and one in the freezer.

To make the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the 2 tbs of butter and then generously grease the interior of 2 ten inch cake pans.  Line the bottom of the pans with parchment and use the rest of the melted butter to grease the face up sides of the parchment.

Sift the baking powder, baking soda, flour, 3/4 cup of sugar and salt in a medium size bowl.  Set aside.

Cream the 1 1/4 sticks of butter with the remaining 1 cup of sugar.  Then, fill the bowl of a food  processor (fitted with a metal blade) with the mashed bananas, eggs, vanilla and sour cream.  Process for about 30 seconds or until all is a thick puree.

Add 1/3 of the sifted ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture.  Beat at low speed until all is blended.  Then beat in 1/2 of the banana mixture.  Continue with the adding and beating, ending with the sifted ingredients.

Divide batter equally into the two pans.  Place in oven and bake until done.  The top of the cake will be golden and it will spring back when lightly touched.  Baking time is about 30-40 minutes.

Remove pans and place on rack for 10 minutes.  Then invert cakes onto rack to cool completely and peel off parchment paper.

To make the ganache, put chocolate in a heat proof bowl.  Then pour cream into a saucepan and place over medium high heat.  Once cream starts to simmer, pour it over the chocolate.  Let rest for 5 minutes and then whisk cream into chocolate.  Chocolate should be smooth and melted.

To assemble cake, place your rack with the cake over a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Also, if using a cake round, cover it with foil.  The rounded tops of the cake layers should be leveled.  Then place one layer with bottom level side up on the cake board.  Cover the cake's top surface with the chilled pastry cream, smoothing it out leaving 1/2 inch border around the edge.  Place the other layer of cake on top, bottom side up, pressing lightly.  Cover the circumference of the cake with two layers of plastic and press top layer again making sure pastry comes to outer edge of the cake.

Remove plastic and scrape off any excess pastry cream.  Then pour 1 1/2 cups of ganache over the cake.  It will drip down the sides.  Allow to set up for about 5 minutes.  Then pour the remainder of the ganache on top, making sure top and sides are evenly covered.  Chill for 30 minutes before serving and then cut pieces with a serrated edge knife.
                                 **LAST YEAR: Chinese Almond Cookies**