Sunday, October 2, 2011

Going Bananas!

Friday was my last official day rotating at Providence (insert pouting, crying face here).  After being there all last year and two additional months during fourth year, I'm pretty sad to be done.  I love the residents and attendings and always see a smiling face I know in the hallway.  Definitely the type of hospital I want to pursue further training at!  As a "last hurah" and a thank you to my residents for giving me Thursday off (we didn't have any patients!), I made Joy the Baker's Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Cream Pie.  This pie has become one of my go to favorites for serving a smaller group (cupcakes are obviously my favorite for more people).  If you're a fan of the peanut butter, chocolate, banana combo this is a must try!

And speaking of cupcakes, I whipped up a batch of Banana Split Cupcakes for the surgery residents.  Of all the departments I baked for over the course of last year they were definitely the most appreciative.  And oh so flattering... so they continue to get baked goods dropped off every once in awhile.  I do realize its not summer anymore and I should be baking more with pumpkin and apples, not strawberries and whipped cream, but I found the cutest ice cream cone paper cupcake liners in the clearance section at Meijer this week.  I just couldn't resist picking them up and making this recipe that I had mentally bookmarked and never got around to baking this summer.  As usual the residents raved about these cupcakes.  However, I was less than impressed with how the cake turned out.  It was like a super dense, too sweet, spongy banana bread.  The recipe I used is posted below, but I might suggest one of these as an alternative:  Baker's Royale, Paula Deen, Fake Ginger.  I haven't tried any of them, but they MUST be better than the recipe I used.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Cream Pie (adapted from JTB)
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 1 sealed package)
1/2 stick butter, melted
dash of salt

2 ounces dark chocolate
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter (or smooth if you prefer)

1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
4 egg yolks
1 cup milk (closer to whole the better)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter
3 ripe, on the verge of mooshy, bananas
Preheat oven to 350*
To be uber conservative in the clean-up department, the graham crackers can be crushed and mixed with the butter and salt in the pie pan.
Crush graham crackers (use your measuring cup and an oven mitt so you don't get marks all over your hand).
Add salt.
Pour melted butter over top.
Mix with fingers until evenly moistened.
Press in bottom and up the sides of your pie pan.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until browned.
Set aside to cool.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler.  To make your own place a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Be sure the bowl fits well, or you'll have to avoid the spouts of steam as you stir the chocolate.
Pour melted chocolate in center of crust.
Carefully spread the chocolate as the crust easily crumbles. *1
Put in refrigerator to harden.  While its cooling, make the custard.
When cool, spread layer of peanut butter over chocolate. *2

Heat milk over medium heat, stirring occasionally to a simmer.
Whisk sugar, corn starch, and egg yolks together in a bowl.
Pour a portion of the milk into the egg mixture while beating to temper the eggs.
Pour it all into the pan of milk.
Stir constantly until the custard thickens.
Add vanilla.
Remove from heat.
Pass through metal sieve to remove any scrambled egg bits.
Stir butter until melted.
Fold in sliced bananas.
Pour into pie shell. *3
Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings before serving. *4

Banana Split Cupcakes (adapted from Annie's Eats)
Makes 30ish cupcakes.
Cake Batter
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk (make your own by adding a little white vinegar to milk)
1 1/3 cups mashed ripe banana
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup diced strawberries

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup milk
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1-2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 350*
Beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add one egg at a time.  Turn off mixer so the shell doesn't get accidentally incorporated!
Add salt and baking powder.
Beat in flour and milk, alternating which is added to blender.
Mix in mashed banana and chocolate chips.
Fold in strawberries.
Fill paper lined muffin tins  mostly full (this batter didn't rise very much at all).
Bake for 20 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.

Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler.
Once melted, whisk in cream.
Cool for about 10 minutes.
Spoon on the top of the cooled cupcakes.

Heat milk and flour over medium heat.
When the mixture starts to thicken, begin to stir constantly.
Remove from heat once paste forms and transfer to a bowl to cool.
Beat sugar, butter, and shortening until fluffy.
Add cooled flour and milk paste and beat until smooth (no more sugar granules).
Chill for about 30 minutes.
Use piping bag and tip to make frosting look like whipped cream.
Decorate with sprinkles and a maraschino cherry, or your favorite banana split toppings.

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