Bill claims he doesn’t have a sweet tooth,
because in reality he has Sweet Teeth.
The man has an undeniable weakness for a range of creamy confections.
You have to watch him.
He has the best of intentions.
He means to exert willpower.
He makes bold pronouncements about his indulgence.
“Just a small piece for me, please.”
And that’s how it starts. The gateway bite. A slippery slope. A cycle of eternal returns.
You know the thinking.
“That wasn’t a very big serving. Maybe I’ll have one more. A sliver. And that’s it.”
Or, “I’m just going to even up the edges. Clean it up. The cake looks ragged.”
I try to remove temptation. I’ll wrap up the remaining cake, and tuck it into the back of the fridge, out of sight.
To no avail.
Because what occurs are the man’s repeated surreptitious visitations to the refrigerator, knife in hand, a steady whittling away of the dessert.
The next day, I’ll find that half of a cake or pie reduced to a mere wedge.
But very neat.
This routine is predictable, especially when it comes to my Banana Boston Cream Pie.
For Bill, whose fondness for bananas equals–or exceeds—his fondness for sweets, this dessert presents the double-whammy of temptations. Knowing this penchant, I years ago started adding layers of sliced bananas to this classic.
That unexpected element makes it one of his absolute favorites.
There’s another surprise: a hint of citrus—grapefruit zest—in the pastry cream. As the bananas and creamy filling merge and meld into the softening cake, the resulting subtle tang becomes especially alluring.
That secondary fruit note gives him yet another reason to carve “just another little piece.”
Who can blame him?
BANANA-BOSTON CREAM PIE
Grapefruit-Scented Pastry Cream
1/2 c. Sugar
1 T. Butter
3 T. All -purpose Flour
2 c. Milk
1 t. Vanilla
1 1/2 t. Grapefruit zest
In a medium non-reactive saucepan on low heat, melt butter, and mix in sugar and flour. Add half of the milk (one cup) Stir in vanilla and zest.
Whisk eggs with remaining milk until well homogenized–no streaks of yolk.
Pour into the saucepan and stir well. Increase heat to medium. Cook until thickened.
Cool; cover and refrigerate.
4 Eggs, room temperature
3/4 c. Sugar
8 T. (one stick) soft Butter
1 cup Cake Flour, sifted
2 t. Baking Powder
1/4 t. Salt
1/2 c. Milk
1 T. Vanilla
Using a stand mixer, beat eggs, sugar and softened butter together on medium high speed, until the mixture becomes thick, creamy, and light-lemon colored. Beat for a 5-7 minutes.
Sift flour baking powder, and salt together. Beat into the egg mixture.
Beat in milk and vanilla.
Pour into 1 parchment lined, buttered 8″ or 9″ cake pan.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. Test for doneness.
Remove and allow to cool on racks.
Note: To make an extra big cake, double the recipe and use 10″ cake pans. You can make it a triple or quadruple layer.
1 1/2 c. Heavy Cream
12 oz. chopped Bittersweet Chocolate (or combination of bitter and semi-sweets)
2 T. Vanilla
In a heavy duty saucepan, bring cream to a simmer. Add chopped chocolate and stir until melted throughout. Turn down heat. Add vanilla. Stir and continue cook until chocolate ganache is thick, smooth, and shiny.
Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before pouring over the layered cake.
Split Cake in half. (thirds, if you want to get really fancy-rich)
Spread with pastry cream
Cover with sliced bananas
Top with next cake layer
Repeat–if split into thirds
Pour cooled ganache over the layers
Garnish with pecan halves—optional
It’s fine to refrigerate–to let the ganache really set up.
When serving, keep a glass of warm water handy to clean the knife between cuts. This will insure neat-easy slicing.