Mustard Pie

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This evening after dinner I started on my banana cream pie.
Since I was using frozen bananas instead of fresh, I was a little nervous at how things would turn out.

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I put the bananas in the blender and added heavy cream and half & half instead of heavy cream and milk because I was out of milk. Next in was cornstarch, salt, sugar and egg yolks. After it was blended it went into a medium saucepan to be whisked and thickened. In the cook book it said that the mixture will “resemble thick glue, bordering on cement, with a color to match” and she was totally right. At that point I thought maybe the darkness of the defrosted bananas wouldn’t matter.

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A bit of bloomed gelatin and butter went into the blender with the bananas for round two of mixing. After it was all ready it was time to add yellow food coloring. This is one of the issues I have with the book: I am a bit of an ingredient snob because of my holistic background and some of the stuff she uses (food dye, crap cereals…) gives me a bit of anxiety. But I gamely tossed in more and more yellow until I had squeezed most of the bottle in there. Ew.

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It was looking a bit like baby poop yellow curry but I didn’t worry since I knew I’d later be mixing it with heavy cream and powdered sugar and it would probably lighten up. I threw it in the deep freeze to rapidly chill and got to work on the crust.

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The first time I made one of the Milk Bar pies (Crack Pie) I felt like I didn’t add enough butter, like maybe the oat crust was too dry when I tried to press it into the pie plate. So this time I added more butter until it formed a really cohesive ball. This may not have really been necessary since the Crack Pie crust was later baked and it was perfect. But this crust was definitely prettier although maybe I should have baked it a bit. Instead I just followed the recipe. (except I did add some graham crumbs because I was worried I didn’t have quite enough chocolate crumbs to make a good crust)

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By the time the crust was done the banana mixture was chilled through and ready to be whisked into heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar to finish the filling.

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Even after the banana was mixed with the whipped cream it still had a crazy color. If we like the pie, next time I’ll make it with fresh bananas and see what that color looks like. Or maybe I’ll just leave the food coloring out. I’m ok with a grayish-colored pie! 😉 It has been chilling in the fridge for a bit so I may go scoop some out and see how it tastes. I think the mustard-y color actually looked kind of cool with the deep brown crust. Very 70’s.

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I did read a blog where the person who attempted the pie said that the pie filling remained loose, kind of pudding-ish so she didn’t cut cohesive slices but just kind of scooped it out. I was planning on leaving it overnight in the fridge to set with the hopes that I’d get pretty pieces but if that isn’t going to happen I’d like to sample my creation tonight. There were no pictures of the pie after it had been cut in the cook book so I’m not quite sure what to expect.

Next Up:

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I think the Milk Bar Banana Cream Pie needs to happen at some point today. I freeze super ripe bananas (much to my husband’s chagrin) and I think today is the day they will become a yummy pie. I had chocolate crumb leftover from the chocolate-chocolate cookies so that can be used for the crust.

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Ooh! When I was looking for a chocolate crumb photo I stumbled upon a tumblr page where someone basically did a Julie/Julia with the Milk Bar cook book. Can’t wait to read it, I just skimmed a bit.

Tools of the Trade

Having the proper tools goes a long way when cooking or baking. I leave the savory stuff to my sweet husband for the most part but I really find a lot of joy in expanding my skills in the baking arena.

I have been baking my whole life, but it wasn’t until I met my chef husband and he insisted that I use professional equipment in our kitchen that I truly felt like I was getting consistent results when baking.

Here are some of latest tools to join the family:

Decorating comb I noticed cool, wavy details in some of the icing in the Bouchon cook book so when I noticed this tool at the restaurant supply store I snatched it up. It was super cheap and I think it will be fun to use. It turns out that at Bouchon they use a tile comb: literally, a tool used to smooth glue for tile floors. I’m most interested in the wavy part of the tool, I feel like if I need smoothing I will use the bench scraper (see below) or an offset spatula.

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Chinois, great for all straining. It is narrow enough to fit in the mouth of even smaller jars and pitchers.

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#16 Scoop
, essential for making huge, perfectly round cookies.

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Bench scraper, great for crushing, chopping and cleaning. (this picture is from Williams-Sonoma. Mine looks slightly different)

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Ok, these aren’t from the restaurant supply store, they’re from Target but I love a good solid wooden spoon.

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Sheet pans. We already had a few, but after my husband used them one too many times to roast pigs feet and other assorted bones I insisted that we get ‘baking only’ pans.

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Aluminum bowls. I have a jillion of these, but they were all larger sizes so I needed a few smaller ones.

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I use disposable gloves a lot as an esthetician but I had never used them for baking. I have to say…it’s kind of nice to not dig cookie dough or pie crust out of my wedding rings.

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I really wanted bowl scrapers but didn’t get them. I wish I had have because I would use them every time I baked. Next time.

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I do have a few other things on my wish list, I’ll get them later as my budget allows. In the meantime I have lots of other fun things to play with in our new kitchen. I’m sure I’ll be writing soon about my latest baking adventure.

What have you been up to in your kitchen?

Meanwhile, back at the Milk Bar…

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In the past few weeks since I got the Milk Bar cook book I have been baking like crazy. There is something very satisfying and familiar about Christina Tosi’s book. She is an American pastry chef who really likes blending nostalgic childhood flavors with more sophisticated and unexpected flavor combinations. But all of it is immediately recognizable to me so I have really enjoyed trying out different recipes. I already wrote about the amazing corn cookies, after that I made compost cookies with dark coffee grounds, milk chocolate chips and oatmeal (the were DELISH and kind of reminded me of cowboy cookies)

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After that I made cereal milk ice cream from Cap’n Crunch. I rushed the process and tried to spin the batch before my bowl was ready but it made great shakes.

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Once I tried ice cream I decided to go crazy and make chocolate-chocolate cookies AND two crack pies at thes same time. The cookies call for a chocolate crumb mix in that has to be made and baked separately before being added to the cookie dough. I have never in my life made baked crumbs. They are fantastic and super versatile:

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The finished cookies are dense and super rich, like a perfectly round brownie.

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The pies are so fantastic, so much bigger than the sum of their parts. It’s deceptively easy: oat cookie crust with a brown sugar custard filling. But after baking and freezing to set, then thawing for an hour in the fridge the suspense just about kills me. But it’s worth it because the finished product is so delectable. I couldn’t even get a picture of a whole pie because we ate them too fast. The boys told me it was ‘the best pie in the whole universe.’ It’s quite possible. Finished oat cookie, what will later become the crust after it marries a nice fellow named Butter.

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Here is the finished product, my filling seems a little different than what she described. I may have defrosted too much in the fridge before serving, but no one complains once they eat it. Seriously. It’s great. And shut up, I know that looks a little like snot.

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The recipe calls for a dusting of confectioners’ sugar on top but I skipped it, it really didn’t seem necessary, especially after we tried the first pie.

Texas BBQ

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Recently the Mr. and I decided to try something new. Everyone raves about Franklin Barbecue, a popular restaurant on the East side, but we had never tried it. The problem is that they sell out quickly so if you want to actually get food you have to arrive early and wait in line. This has always seemed absurd to me but when we were discussing it, it suddenly seemed like a fun idea.

So we both dropped the boys off at school and headed down to stand in line. We got there around 8:30am and there was already one man in line ahead of us. C and G hung out with him while I did some work from my iPad. The place opens at 11am so we had some waiting to do.

It went by pretty quickly, once people started showing up we made some friends in line. Unbeknownst to me one of my friends works there so I got to catch up with him a little bit too. Once we got inside we decided to have the full experience so we got t-shirts, beer coozies (we have a collection) and a huge pile of food. We ate ourselves silly then headed home to sleep it off. We had a great time and loved the food, but I think it’s an experience we only need to have once.

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