As you can tell, I really enjoy baking and in particular, making pies. Although this pastime certainly has its advantages, it can be a little harsh on the waistline. When baking, I've been trying to substitute low-fat foods or ingredients that are more natural. Sometimes it works and sometimes it's a flop.
The banana cream pie recipe I'm about to tell you about was one of my recent low-fat successes. It came from a fabulous book I acquired recently called Secrets of a Skinny Chef by Jennifer Iserloh, which contains, you guessed it, healthier options for your favorite comfort foods. It has tons of great ideas from seafood, classic pasta recipes and of course dessert. This pie is the only recipe I've tried from it so far, but I plan to do more since the results were so tasty.
I brought this pie to a get-together at Jess and Adrian's apartment and it was a huge hit. Everyone including all the guys commented on how delicious it was but also how light. Almost everyone grabbed seconds and I was glad that half of the pie didn't go to waste as often happens with dessert that's too rich or sweet. You can make this for a party, a pie contest or an impromptu treat for you and a loved one. It takes a little time to make but the end result makes it worthwhile.
A Light Banana Cream Pie
Ingredients (Serves 8)
Graham Crust1 1/2 cups of whole wheat graham crackers (about 8 grahams)
2 tbs trans-fat-free margarine, melted
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbs ground flaxseed
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups fat-free milk (or 1% if you like)
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs trans-fat-free margarine
3 ripe bananas, thinly sliced (about 1 lb)
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the graham crackers in a food processor and pulse them into fine crumbs. Drizzle in the melted margarine and pulse again. Spoon the mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch pie plate and press with your fingers to form an even crust. Bake for 8-10 minutes until crust is firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Whisk the flour, sugar, cinnamon, flaxseed and salt in a large saucepan off the heat. Add the milk gradually, stirring until smooth. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat, until it boils, stirring constantly. Transfer 1 cup of the liquid into a mug. Whisk in the egg yolks. Slowly mix the contents of the mug back into the liquid in the saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and margarine. Cool 10 to 15 minutes.
Place the bananas on top of the graham crust, pour in the filling, and smooth with a rubber spatula.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy with an electric mixer set on high speed. Add the sugar gradually. Continue beating the eggs whites until they hold a glossy peak.
Spoon the meringue onto the filling, spreading the egg whites to the edge of the crust with the back of a spoon. To make decorative peaks for the top of the pie, touch the back of the spoon to the egg whites and lift up. Bake 10-15 minutes or until the meringue is nicely browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve at room temperature or chill uncovered for 1 hour before slicing.