I Love Chocolate

by Stephanie Zonis


Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie

10 to 12 servings


This is a great dessert for company! A graham cracker-walnut crust holds a bottom layer of chocolate custard, topped by slice bananas. These, in turn, are topped with a rum custard. The pie is served with more sliced bananas, rum whipped cream, and grated bittersweet chocolate.

You'll need a 10 inch heatproof glass pie plate. The bananas you use must be ripe enough to have some sweetness, but you don't want them dead ripe, or they'll be too mushy to handle well. Ideally, the peel should be golden (not mostly brown), with a number of brown "sugar spots". You must allow 4 hours of chilling time once the pie is completed, and it should be served within 24 hours of completion. This does not freeze. Because the pie contains rum, it's probably better suited to adults, though the rum can be omitted if you wish (substitute vanilla extract in the custard, and add one additional tablespoon of confectioners' sugar to the whipped cream). Incidentally, the brand of rum I use is "Myers."

1-1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup walnut pieces
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
Pinch salt
5 egg yolks, from eggs graded "large"
4 cups whole milk
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 Tbsp. dark rum
1 large, ripe banana

For Serving:
Grated or shaved bittersweet chocolate
1 to 2 large, ripe bananas
1-1/3 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp. dark rum


For Crust:
Adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place graham cracker crumbs into medium bowl. In food processor fitted with steel blade, combine walnut pieces and sugar. Process only until walnuts are finely ground. Turn ground walnut mixture into bowl with graham cracker crumbs; with large spoon, stir thoroughly to mix well. Stir in melted butter until well-combined.

Turn mixture into 10-inch heatproof glass pie plate. Use about two-thirds of crust mixture to form sides of crust, making sure to form a high rim that stands slightly above the edge of the pie plate. Compact remaining crust mixture evenly on bottom (be careful not to get crust too thick where bottom and sides meet). Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 11 minutes, or until rim is a slightly darker gold than the rest of the crust. Remove from oven; cool completely before filling.

For Filling:
In 2 quart, heavy-bottomed pot, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk to mix thoroughly; set aside. In small bowl, combine egg yolks with about 1/4 cup milk (reserve remaining milk); with fork, beat to blend well, then set aside, along with remaining milk. Place chopped bittersweet chocolate in small heatproof bowl near stovetop. Place butter in medium heatproof bowl near stovetop. Have nearby the dark rum, a fine strainer, and a heatproof liquid measuring cup of two-cup capacity.

Heat reserved milk in small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until warm (this step can be omitted, but it speeds the cooking process). Off heat, add about 1/4 cup of warmed milk to the sugar-cornstarch mixture; with whisk, stir (do not beat) to combine. Stir yolk mixture into sugar-cornstarch mixture, then very gradually add remaining warmed milk. Place pot over medium heat and stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil. (If using a whisk to stir, make sure you get into the "corners" of the pot while doing so.) If there are any undissolved lumps of cornstarch, press them out with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Just before it boils, the mixture will become very lumpy and look awful, but, if you continue stirring it gently and constantly, it should smooth out as it boils. Boil and stir one minute. Remove from heat.

Immediately place the strainer over the heatproof, two-cup liquid measure. Strain in enough custard to measure 1-1/2 cups. Turn the measured custard into the small heatproof bowl with the bittersweet chocolate; let stand for a couple of minutes to melt the chocolate. Meanwhile, strain the remaining custard into the medium heatproof bowl with the butter. Add the rum to the medium bowl. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the butter and rum into the custard only until incorporated (do not beat or handle more than necessary). Pierce a piece of plastic wrap (large enough to cover the bowl) about a dozen times with the tip of a knife, then place the pierced plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the butter-rum custard. Place butter-rum custard in refrigerator.

With a clean rubber spatula, fold the melted chocolate into the custard in the small bowl, again handling gently and as little as possible. Repeat plastic wrap procedure with small bowl, except leave chocolate custard at room temperature (do not chill). Let chocolate custard stand for 30 minutes. During this time, tear off a piece of plastic wrap large enough to cover the surface of the filled pie plate. with the tip of a sharp knife, pierce it in about twenty places. Set aside.

Just before the 30 minutes are up, peel the banana and slice it thinly (I make my slices about 1/8 inch thick). Turn the still-warm chocolate custard into the cooled pie shell, and spread it evenly over the bottom. Working quickly, place banana slices all over the chocolate custard (I find that making concentric circles is an easy way to do this). Remove the butter-rum custard from the refrigerator (it will still be warm, too). Pour the butter-rum custard slowly onto the banana slices, again spreading it evenly. The pie plate will be quite full. Place the pierced plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the butter-rum custard. Place the pie into the refrigerator; chill at least 4 hours before serving.

About 20 minutes before serving, chill a medium bowl and beater(s). Have ready the grated/shaved chocolate and bananas for serving. Assemble your dessert plates and forks.

In the chilled bowl, with chilled beater(s), beat cream at high speed just to soft peaks. Add confectioners' sugar and rum. Beat at low speed until incorporated, then return to high speed and beat cream to stiff peaks.

Quickly peel and thinly slice the bananas. Cut slices of the pie; place each slice on a dessert plate. Place several banana slices, overlapping, on top of each piece of pie. Place a large spoonful of the rum whipped cream along one side of each pie slice, then lightly sprinkle all with the grated chocolate. Serve immediately!


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This page created January 2000