Friday, December 21, 2012

Old Fashioned Thanksgiving

I haven't had a very normal Thanksgiving the past few years.  In fact, I can't even remember our last "real" Thanksgiving.  Three years ago my grandfather was really sick, two years ago I was in Spain, and last year my grandfather died the week before, so my mom and I spent the day eating pie in our pjs on the couch.

Losing both my grandparents last year definitely changed our holidays.  We didn't want to do "normal" anymore.  We even escaped Christmas by running away to Florida for a two week vacation.  This year, my mom decided we'd try to redefine our holidays.

We cooked a big, traditional Thanksgiving dinner for just the three of us.  We tried to recreate all our old dishes from Thanksgiving with our grandparents, and change the holiday to fit our new, sadly smaller version of our family.  I also needed some sense of normalcy to relax from the horrible semester I was having.

Of course, I was placed in charge of the desserts.  Every year my grandma made banana cream pie, pumpkin pie, cheesecake, and occasionally a cake of some sort.  We didn't need all that for the three of us, so I just went with the banana cream and the pumpkin.

Old-Fashioned Banana Cream Pie
Recipe from Betty Crocker
Yield: 1 9" pie

2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 Tbs cornstarch
1 Tbs all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 Tbs unsalted butter
2 ripe medium bananas

Mix together dry ingredients in a large saucepan
Stir in milk gradually.  Stir constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils.
It takes a very long time for it to boil.  Be patient.
 Once it boils for 1 minute, remove from heat. 

Slowly stir half the mixture into the bowl with the beaten egg yolks
Stir the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the thickened milk mixture.
 Boil for 1 minute more, and continue stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.

Stir in butter and vanilla until incorporated.
Fill the bottom of a prepared pie shell with your desired amount of sliced bananas
*Don't judge me for using frozen pie shells.  I had to make 3 of these pies to share with family friends, and I didn't have a lot of time or energy after all my school work that week.

Pour custard into pie shell.
Place plastic wrap directly on top of the custard.  Refrigerate well (at least two hours) before serving.  Top with homemade whipped cream before serving.

*Make sure you use very high quality vanilla.  My mom didn't tell me which vanilla I should use, and the one I ended up using was some kind of old, gross, industrial-strength vanilla they use in an ice-cream plant.  The pies came out tasting almost alcoholic and inedible.  Of course, I may have eaten the entire pie myself anyway, you know, for tradition's sake. ;)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Love and cookies,

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