1 (9-inch) chocolate cookie pie crust, baked and cooled
1 recipe cinnamon pastry cream (recipe follows)
1-1/2 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (up to 60 percent cacao)
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce), plus 1-1/4 cups (10 ounces) heavy whipping cream
3 large (1-1/2 pounds) firm-ripe bananas*
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate curls or additional chocolate cookie crumbs, for garnish
Caramel sauce and/or dark chocolate sauce, for serving
Place the chocolate and 1 tablespoon cream in the microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir to blend. If there are any lumps, heat for 15 to 20 seconds longer and stir again. Pour the chocolate into the pie shell and use the offset spatula or back of a spoon to spread in a thin layer across the bottom of the shell and as far up the sides as it will go. Chill for 10 minutes to set the ganache. Use a paring knife to cut the bananas into 1/4-inch thick slices and gently stir into the chilled pastry cream until they are completely coated. Scrape the filling into the prepared pie crust and spread evenly to the edge. Chill while you make the topping. Place the 1-1/4 cups cream, the sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on medium speed until soft peaks form. (You can also use a hand mixer and a medium bowl).
Scrape the topping onto the banana filling and use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread it evenly all the way to the edge. The filling should be completely covered. Alternatively, use a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch star tip to decoratively pipe the topping (but increase the cream by 1/2 cup, as piping requires a little extra cream). Sprinkle with cookie crumbs or chocolate curls. Refrigerate 30 minutes before serving. Makes 1 (9-inch) pie, serving 8 to 10.
Cookbook note: "As soon as the bananas are sliced, stir them into the pastry cream, which will seal the surface of the bananas and keep them fresh-looking for days."
Cinnamon Pastry Cream
1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) whole milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1-1/4) ounces unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) cold unsalted butter
Fill a large bowl halfway with ice and water and set it aside. Pour the milk into a medium saucepan. Heat the milk to just below the boiling point, then remove from the heat. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and cinnamon until well blended and smooth. Add the flour and whisk vigorously until the mixture is very smooth. Pour about 1/2 cup of the hot milk into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to temper the yolks. Slowly pour the yolk mixture back into the hot milk, whisking all the while. Heat the mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the flour from lumping, until it reaches a boil. Continue to cook and whisk for another minute, until the pastry cream is very thick. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Strain the pastry cream through a strainer set over a medium bowl to remove any lumps or tiny bits of egg. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream, then set the bowl into the bowl of ice water. Once the pastry cream has completely cooled, use or store in the refrigerator until needed.
Getting Ahead: Store the pastry cream for up to 5 days in an airtight container with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Makes about 2 cups.
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