Thankful For: Arielle Gold’s Banana Cream Pie

I’ll get straight to the point. Simply put, Thanksgiving is one of the greatest holidays ever. I never truly appreciated it until a few years ago, and I have eagerly awaited its arrival every year since. After several failed attempts at dieting, I have finally gotten on a healthy eating program which I can manage (most of the time). I typically try to avoid sweets, but there are absolutely times where I splurge, and unfortunately, it is abruptly followed by a lingering feeling of guilt. Thankfully, someone out there was smart enough to create Thanksgiving, a holiday that seems to exist specifically for people like me.

What makes it so great you ask? Well, first of all, it is the one day of the year that it is seemingly ok to eat all of the unhealthy food that you want, guilt free, basically until you are sick. Countless people have told me how messed up that sounds, and frankly, yes, it is a little bit messed up. But that’s why we only have it once a year, right? Anyways, it may sound crazy, but I am pretty sure that my least favorite part about Thanksgiving is the turkey. The stuffing and the mashed potatoes are delicious, but we all know deep down that the true star of the show is the pie. After 17 years of Thanksgiving, and 17 years of pie, I like to think that I have found the right kind for me. It is a banana cream pie, with chocolate chip cookie crust. Basically, is it the closest to food porn that you can get. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself!

Once you’ve had the chance to enjoy this, I would strongly recommend a day in the gym… well, lets make that a week. Thanksgiving is a time to embrace tasty food, however, as soon as it’s over, it is the time to put the kibosh on the junk food, and get to the gym…but lets just cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, focus on spending some quality time surrounded by the people (and food) that you love, and have a great Thanksgiving!

Ingredients:

- 1 pound frozen semisweet chocolate chip cookie dough, thawed

- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

- 1/3 cup sugar

- 1/4 cup cornstarch

- 1/8 teaspoon salt

- 5 large egg yolks

- 2 1/3 cups whole milk

- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

- 1 tablespoon dark rum

- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

- 3 medium bananas, peeled and cut into slices

- 1 cup chilled whipping cream

- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

- Chocolate curls

Instructions:

Arrange 3/4 of cookie dough evenly along the bottom and up high on the sides of a greased nine-inch glass pie dish. Press 1/2 of a cup of nuts into dough. Pierce dough all over with a toothpick before freezing the crust for an hour. Make sure there is a rack in the bottom third of the oven before preheating to 350°F. Fold a 36-inch-long piece of foil lengthwise into thirds, forming a 36×4-inch strip.

Place your pie dish on a baking sheet and stand the foil strip snugly around the rim of the dish, protecting the outer edge of the crust. You can secure the overlap with a paper clip before baking the crust until it’s golden and dry to the touch, about 25 minutes. Let the crust cool completely.

Meanwhile, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt to blend in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk in yolks and gradually add milk, whisking until smooth over medium-high heat until custard thickens and boils (about six minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in butter, rum, and one teaspoon vanilla. Transfer to large bowl for cooling to a lukewarm temperature, whisking occasionally, about 45 minutes.

Spread one cup of custard into the crust. Top with sliced bananas, and then cover bananas completely with the remaining custard. Chill the pie until the filling sets, about two hours. Beat the cream, powdered sugar, and remaining one teaspoon vanilla in medium bowl. Spread the cream over the pie. Refrigerate for at least one and up to eight hours. Garnish pie with chocolate curls!

Lead Image: flickr/Renee S. Suen

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