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    from "Farmhouse Cookbook" by Susan Hermann Loomis

    I had the best banana cream pie I've ever eaten at Cooky's Café in Golden City, Missouri. When I walked in there one early spring morning, every single surface was covered with fresh-baked pies. Farmers and hunters crowded the tables and the bar, and many were eating big slices. So I ordered banana cream, and it came to the table still warm, the pastry cream oozing out the side, the meringue tender and vanilla-scented.

    I've re-created that pie here, and it takes me right back to the Cooky's. The secret is simple: Use the ripe, flavorful bananas and add them to the pastry cream while it is still warm.

    This pie should be eaten within about 3 hours of baking, or the meringue will begin to "weep" and become runny.

    One 9-inch pie (6 to 8 servings)

    For the Pastry Cream
    3 cups milk
    1 vanilla bean
    4 egg yolks, at room temperature
    1/3 cup sugar
    6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    2 medium-size fully ripe bananas, sliced into thin rounds

    For the Meringue
    4 egg whites, at room temperature
    Pinch of salt
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 pre-baked 9-inch pie shell

    Print recipe

    1. Make the pastry cream: Combine the milk and the vanilla bean in a medium-size heavy saucepan. Scald the milk over medium heat by heating just until little bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Remove the milk from the heat, cover the pan, and let it infuse for 10 minutes. Then remove the vanilla bean (you can rinse, dry, and reserve it for vanilla sugar).
    2. While the milk is infusing, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar in a large bowl until pale yellow and light. Whisk in the flour, then slowly add the hot milk, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it bubbles. Continue cooking stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, then becomes slightly thinner (which shows the flour is cooked), at least 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the pastry cream into a mixing bowl.
    3. Stir the banana slices into the warm pastry cream, cover, and set aside to cool. (You can prepare the pie up to this point a day ahead. Refrigerate the cooled pastry cream. Any bananas that come to the surface of the pastry cream may brown slightly.)
    4. Make the meringue: Place the egg whites and the salt in a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk. Whisk slowly at first to break up the egg whites, then more quickly until the egg whites become white and foamy. Slowly add the sugar, then the vanilla, and continue whisking until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
    5. Preheat the broiler.
    6. Pour the banana custard into the pre-baked pie shell, and mound the meringue over it. Either smooth it out, or using a flexible knife blade, make little peaks all over the meringue. Make sure the meringue reaches the edge of the crust all around.
    Place the pie 3 inches below the broiler and broil just until the meringue is golden, 3 to 5 minutes.
    8. Remove the pie from the oven, let it cool on a wire rack, and serve within 2 to 3 hours.

    Product nutrition and information
     Quantity Ingredients Est.Price
      Amish Country Farms Organic Whole Milk - $4.49/ea
     1/2 gallon
      Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans - $9.99/ea
     2 beans
      Nature's Yoke Natural Cage-Free Large White Eggs - $3.69/ea
     1 dozen
      Yellow Bananas - $0.88/lb
     Farm Fresh
      FreshDirect Pie & Quiche Shell - $5.99/2pk
    You May Already Have
      Domino Granulated White Sugar - $2.49/ea
     2lb box
      Gold Medal All Purpose Enriched Bleached Pre-Sifted Flour - $2.29/ea
      Morton's Regular Salt - $0.99/ea
      Spice Select Pure Vanilla Extract - $4.69/ea
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