Month: February 2016

Banana Cream Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crust

banana cream pie with oatmeal cookie crust recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. A simple press in crust made up of store bought crunchy crisp oatmeal cookies (i use gmomma's) is filled with a vanilla and banana flavored pastry cream and slices of real bananas. The whole thing is topped with whipped cream and extra banana for garnish. This recipe is a great summer or spring time cream pie recipe and can easily feed a crowd at your next gathering or party. Find the recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

A few weekends back, I traveled to Orlando for a belated 10 year high school reunion. Being the product of the late 80’s/ early 90’s that I am, the words “high school reunion” bring me mental pictures of Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino dancing to Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” in their Easter egg-toned lamé  outfits just before they fly off via helicopter into the sunset. I’m completely unashamed to report that “High School Musical” also comes to mind, and I seriously (and not so secretly) wish that Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens would reunite down the road for their own musically-inspired version of a reunion. At what age is it inappropriate for me to admit things like that?

From what I’ve gathered from movies, television, and limited personal experience (all legit sources, right?), reuniting with friends from your past can be terrifying for a lot of people, and understandably so, given that the teenage years are often flooded with a crap-shoot of drama, hormones, bullies, and insecurities. So naturally, leading up to this weekend, I thought a lot about the past, listened to a bunch of old burned CD’s, and even looked through a few photo albums from my pre-college years, trying to prepare myself for whatever the night may entail. Even on my way to the reunion, I half expected fear to rear its ugly head along with a million and one of my petty insecurities.

banana cream pie with oatmeal cookie crust 

I’m happy to report that the evening was splendid. I’ll attribute a majority of the painlessness to the fact that I had a truly enjoyable and relatively easy high school experience, marked by loads of fun memories and only a smattering of truly heartbreaking and cringe-worthy ones. Only a handful of people showed up to the dinner gathering, but that kept an element of intimacy, relaxedness, and fun that a larger party of people perhaps would have squashed. It definitely helped that I had my high school and current best friend, Jesse, there as the ultimate wingman/sidekick, but the rest of that lack of anxiety, I have decided, can be attributed to newer attempts I’ve made to genuinely be OK with the person I am right now. This has been one of my goals for 2016: Being OK with me.

I want to be truly content with my life. I want to be proud of who I am. I want to be confident in what I can offer.

I want to walk through life free from shame of who I’ve been or fear that I don’t measure up.

I want to be excited about my life and feel free to relish in the million things I have to be joyful about.

I want to see my present life as something worth sharing with people I haven’t seen in 10+ years, and I want to do so without any hint of sadness at “what could have been.”

I want to know and believe that who I am and what I have is enough, this year and for another ten years.

That’s the person I want to be. 

Admittedly, I have a long way to go. But that’s why it’s a goal and not something I’ve already checked off my list. It’s something worth striving after. 

banana cream pie with oatmeal cookie crust

Another something worth striving after? Perfect banana cream pie.

Have you ever made a cream pie from scratch, only to have it fail to set up and turn into a sloppy tin of pudding? Well, I have. That’s just about every cream pie I’ve ever made. That is, until recently. I ran across this recipe in Cook’s Illustrated and decided to try a variation of it. This recipe uses less liquid than others I’d tried in the past, so I was pretty optimistic that this could be the makings of a winner. It did not disappoint. And because I was feeling extra jazzy, I added an additional layer of bananas AND a cookie crumble crust. Mercy. 

I’m planning to attempt converting this to a coconut cream and chocolate cream pie recipe in the near future, so cross your fingers, legs, and whatever else in hopes that they are as successful as this bad boy was. And if your sweet tooth is calling your name this week, you should make this pie. You should also probably rent “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” and cry laugh while you eat it with someone awesome… bonus points if you’ve been friends since high school. 

banana cream pie with oatmeal cookie crust

 

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Banana Cream Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crust

banana cream pie with oatmeal cookie crust recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. A simple press in crust made up of store bought crunchy crisp oatmeal cookies (i use gmomma's) is filled with a vanilla and banana flavored pastry cream and slices of real bananas. The whole thing is topped with whipped cream and extra banana for garnish. This recipe is a great summer or spring time cream pie recipe and can easily feed a crowd at your next gathering or party. Find the recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

A traditional banana cream pie made special with an oatmeal cookie crust.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 10 1x
Scale

Ingredients

For the cookie crust

  • 6 ounces of crunchy oatmeal cookie crumbs (I used GMommas Buddascotch Oatmeal, but another crunchy oatmeal cookie could be substituted)
  • 1/41/2 teaspoon salt (depending on salt preference)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

For the filling

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (2% or whole)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large bananas

For the topping

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

To prepare the cookie crust

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor or by hand, finely chop cookies/crumbs into a coarse consistency, adding the remaining crust ingredients towards the end. Mix to combine. The mixture should resemble wet, coarse sand.
  3. Press the crust in to a standard 9″ pie plate. (There will not be enough crumbs to coat a deep dish plate)
  4. Bake until the crust begins to firm up, about 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool.

To prepare the filling

  1. Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a medium saucepan.
  2. Whisk in the egg yolks, followed by the heavy cream and milk, until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Over medium-low heat, bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking constantly. The mixture will slowly thicken to a loose pudding consistency. Be sure to whisk constantly while mixture thickens, otherwise you will have clumpy pudding as opposed to a uniformly smooth pudding.
  4. Remove the pan from heat and stir the pudding through a fine mesh strainer to remove any clumps.
  5. Return the mixture back to the pan, but off the heat, and gently stir in the butter and vanilla.
  6. Allow mixture to cool slightly, stirring once or twice a minute, for about five minutes.

To assemble the pie

  1. Thinly slice (about 1/8th”) a layer of bananas over the bottom of the pie crust. I used about 3/4 of a banana for this.
  2. Spoon half of the pudding mixture on top of the banana layer.
  3. Repeat the layering of banana slices once more, topping with the remaining pudding.
  4. Smooth the top and place a piece of Saran wrap directly on top of the pudding. Allow to cool in the refrigerator at least for 4-5 hours, but preferably overnight.
  5. When ready to serve, whip the remaining heavy cream with a hand or stand mixer, starting on low speed and increasing to high.
  6. Add sugar along the way and turn the mixer off when stiff peaks have formed.
  7. On low, stir in the vanilla until combined.
  8. Keep pie refrigerated until ready to serve and garnish with extra banana if desired!

Notes

  • Cooking your filling enough is really important. You’re looking for a consistency similar to a loose pudding. It will thicken slightly as it cools, but you don’t want to quit the cooking process while the filling is still soupy.
  • Try to avoid over-stirring the filling after it has been cooked. This can cause it to loosen up.
  • Before decorating, I sliced the remaining banana slices and put them in a bath of one cup of water and the juice of half of a lemon. This will slow the browning process and allow you to decorate with bananas a little ahead of time. Note that bananas will still brown slightly given enough time.

Recipe Adapted From: Cook’s Illustrated

Breakfast Danish

breakfast danish by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. This is a rough puff pastry made by laminating dough, rolled out and filled with winter fruits like apples, cherries, cranberries, and other bourbon soaked fruit. Learn how to make laminated dough and how to braid a danish dough. Turns into golden, flaky, pastry once baked. Recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

Brett made a scrunchy face at me and meticulously picked through the remains of his breakfast danish. “There’s a lot of fruit in here”, he said.

“Get out of the kitchen”, I replied.

I usually encourage constructive criticism when it comes to recipes and baking, but this danish had taken so much research, preparation, and use of my spare time that I wanted nothing short of glowing reviews. My husband, though, sometimes a bit more honest than my pride can bear, had already given away how he really felt about the pastry that contained hours of my love, sweat, and flour. He went on the lament of all of the “raisins” in the danish, even as I repeatedly confirmed to him that they were dried cherries.

“CHERRIES. They are dried cherries. It’s legitimately dried fruit soaked in bourbon and then baked into a delicious, flakey crust. How is that ever a bad thing? Explain. Now.”

I usually try to heed most of my husband’s likes and desires but this was one instance where the degree to which he was wrong was no match for how oh-so right the pastry was.

braided breakfast danish fruit filling

At the start of this year, we visited Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN. I high recommend it. Anyone who would kind of consider themselves a foodie, or even anyone that just really likes to eat, would find themselves at home among the never-ending parade of seemingly perfect meals that we were served the entirety of our stay. The resort is small, intimate, and classically Southern, and they are known for their culinary and wine program.

On the last morning of our trip, we sat down for brunch and my attention was immediately directed to my left where BJ Novak (you probably know him as Ryan, the temporary hire on “The Office”) was dining with three other people. I was literally seconds away from approaching him to ask if we could FaceTime Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapour) so I could fangirl  her and talk about her new book that had me near-pants-wetting the entire time I read it. Right about that time, our waitress brought to our table a complimentary treat: breakfast danish. Let’s talk about that danish.

Actually, I may need a minute to just cherish the memory of that pastry.

Blackberry Farm- you know how to do it. You see all the other restaurants and resorts serving club crackers and cold biscuits as their complimentary bread basket and you decide to Michael-Jordan-slam-dunk-from-the-free-throw-line all over their faces. No, this was not your run of the mill bread basket. 

That danish was of another world. That danish tasted as though it was made entirely of butter and fairy dust. That danish was melt in your mouth, rich, buttery, flaky, tender pastry wrapped around a tart and spicy fruit filling.

braided breakfast danish fruit filling

It was beyond. And I knew I had to have it. After scouring the internet for a recipe that seemed worthwhile, I ran across a recipe by efore I tell you the recipe, a few thoughts that I will share in rhetoric:

  • Is this a ridiculously simple recipe? No. This recipe can look a bit overwhelming from the front end and it is not a mere one or two steps.
  • Is this a recipe that I can prepare in an hour start to finish? Absolutely not. This will take you a chunk of time and is best worked through in short phases throughout the day.
  • Is this a recipe that will melt my face off? Yes. Prepare your face for its day of melting. This is a recipe that is worth every second of meltage and more.

braided breakfast danish fruit filling

I recommend reading the recipe start to finish a few times so you’re kind of prepared for what’s ahead. For additional notes, be sure to check out the original recipe for the pastry as well.

And by the way, BJ Novak, if you ever read this by some random strike of luck or coincidence, tell Mindy Kaling I say what’s up and that we should be best friends. That is all. 

braided breakfast danish fruit filling

 

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Breakfast Danish

breakfast danish by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. This is a rough puff pastry made by laminating dough, rolled out and filled with winter fruits like apples, cherries, cranberries, and other bourbon soaked fruit. Learn how to make laminated dough and how to braid a danish dough. Turns into golden, flaky, pastry once baked. Recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

A tender, flaky pastry crust braided and baked around a sweet and tart blend of winter fruits.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 90
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Scale

Ingredients

For the danish dough (Recipe by Samantha Seneviratne)

  • 1 ½ cups bread flour, plus more for rolling dough
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 14 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup cold whole milk

For the winter fruit filling

  • 13 dried apricots, diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 2 tablespoons good quality bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg

Instructions

To prepare the dough

  1. Combine the flour, granulated sugar, yeast and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse to combine until butter is distributed in pea-sized pieces throughout the flour. Put the flour mixture in a medium bowl.
  2. In a separate, small bowl, whisk the egg and milk with 2 tablespoons of water. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Fold the mixture until the liquid is evenly distributed, being careful to not overwork the dough. Dump the contents of the bowl out on to a lightly floured surface and pat into a rectangle. Chill for at least 3 hours, and up to 2 days.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to an 8-by-15-inch rectangle. Fold the dough in thirds like a letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat the rolling and folding process. Dusting with flour as needed to prevent sticking, rotate, roll, and fold a final time, ending with a small, rectangular piece of dough. Wrap the dough in Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  4. Repeat the entire rolling and folding process one more time. You will have rolled and folded the dough six times. If the dough becomes loose or tacky, place in the fridge to rest for a bit. Wrap the dough and place in the fridge for 2 hours or up to overnight.

To prepare the filling

  1. Combine the apricots, cherries, and bourbon in a 4 quart saucepan over low heat with just enough water to almost cover the fruit. Allow to simmer over low heat until fruit has plumped and some of the liquid has been absorbed. This should take about 15 minutes total. Set aside the fruit and its liquid in a separate bowl.
  2. In the same pan over medium heat, combine butter, apples, brown sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, dried fruit, and lemon juice. Bring to a bubble and reduce heat to low, cooking for 5-7 minutes or until apples have softened slightly but are not mushy. During this time, slowly add liquid reserved from the dried fruit so that the filling remains a moist a syrupy consistency but never watery. You may not use all of the reserved liquid. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Allow to cool in the refrigerator.

To assemble the pastry

  1. Roll the pastry dough out in a 11×14″ rectangle on a lightly floured piece of parchment.
  2. Using the back of a knife, mark off a 3″ section of dough running the length of the pastry. Be careful not to break all the way through the pastry. This will serve as your guideline of where the fruit filling will go.
  3. Starting at one end and working your way the entire length of both sides of dough, make 1″cuts perpendicular to the lines you first created, dragging your knife from the barrier line to the end of the dough.These will be the pieces of dough you braid over the top of your fruit filling. Cut off the top and bottom 1″ strips, leaving just a center “flap” on either end.
  4. Beat an egg in a bowl with 2 teaspoons of water and apply a thin coat of this egg wash over the braiding strips and end flap.
  5. Spoon your filling in to the 3″ partitioned section of dough, discarding any extra watery liquid that may have gathered in the bowl.
  6. Fold the center end flaps up and over the fruit. Starting at one end of the pastry, braid your strips, in a slightly downward angle. When you get to the end of the pastry, fold your strips over and lightly press to ensure that the pastry has adhered and sealed.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Move the parchment to a cookie sheet and cover with saran wrap, allowing the pastry to rise. It will puff up slightly and bounce back at your touch.
  8. Brush the remaining egg wash all over the top of pastry. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees. Continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, gently turning the pan halfway through. Remove from oven when the pastry is flaky and golden. Cool on a cooling rack until just warm. Serve warm with a simple powdered sugar or brown butter glaze.

Recipe Adapted From: Samantha Seneviratne