Home of Economy-Herald Pie Bake-off recipes: New Orleans Bananas Foster Dream Pie, by Jill Hanson

Nov. 23—GRAND FORKS — Jill Hanson may have finished second at the

Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off earlier this year, but her final-round entry still caught the attention of the judges and onlookers.

When it was time to box up and distribute the leftover pieces, a number of hands quickly reached for Hanson's pie.

Named "New Orleans Bananas Foster Dream Pie," Hanson said she got the idea for its unique flavors after ordering Bananas Foster on a trip to New Orleans.

The pie exploded with banana flavors and was topped with eight large dollops of "stabilized vanilla bean topping" — taking the place of ice cream, which traditionally is served with Bananas Foster. Ice cream was not allowed in the Home of Economy-Herald contest.

Following is Hanson's recipe of "New Orleans Bananas Foster Dream Pie," which scored 130 points in the final round of judging, finishing second to Caitlin Olson's grand prize-winning "Blue Bird Pie."

During the holiday season, the Herald will be publishing the recipes of all 30 pies entered in this year's Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off.

Baker: Jill Hanson

Town: Newfolden, Minnesota

Sponsor: Hugo's Family Marketplace


1- 1/8 cups flour

1/2 cup lard, cold

1/2 Tbsp (1- 1/2 tsp) salt (I use pink Himalayan)

2- 1/2 to 3- 1/2 Tbsp ice cold water

*Tip: I like to put both flour and lard in refrigerator night before making crust dough.

In a mixing bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut in cold lard until fine and mealy, I use a pastry blender. Add ice cold water, stir with fork until large clumps. With hands, push dough into a ball, do not overwork the dough. Put dough into a zip lock bag and squish into a disc shape. Refrigerate until ready to use, at least 30 minutes. When ready, preheat oven to 415°. Roll out dough and put in pie plate, trim and turn under crust edge, crimp as desired. Prick bottom and sides before baking. * I use parchment paper with dried beans as weights to hold crust in place. Bake 14 to 15 minutes before removing parchment and beans. Continue to bake for 8 to 9 minutes more or until desired browning. I shield the crust edge as needed with foil or crust shield so doesn't get too browned.

Filling: Southern Style Pudding

2 large eggs

1/4 cup sugar

3 Tbsp flour

1/4 tsp salt (I use Himalayan)

2 cups 2% milk

1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatine

1/3 cup cold water

1 tsp vanilla

5 oz sweetened condensed milk (I make homemade, recipe at the end, but canned will work)

1 cup heavy whipping cream

4 Tbsp powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp banana extract

In a small bowl, whisk eggs well, set aside. In a small microwavable bowl, sprinkle the Knox unflavored gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water, give it a good stir so all gelatine is moistened. Set aside to bloom.

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in milk; I whisk in about a 1/2 cup of the milk until it's smooth, then add the remaining 1- 1/2 cups. Cook and stir constantly over medium heat until it begins to thicken and just begins to bubble. * You'll notice the milk mixture begin to thicken as you're whisking, don't turn up the heat to cook it faster, you want it to come to temp slowly and not to overcook. *

Once it begins to thicken, stop whisking for a few seconds to see if it's bubbling yet. As soon as it begins to bubble, reduce heat to low. Cook and stir for 2 more minutes, then remove from heat. Heat gelatin water in microwave for 10 seconds, stir, then heat again for another 10 seconds, and stir it into the hot milk mixture. Slowly pour a small amount of the milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly to that the eggs don't scramble.

After you have added enough milk mixture to temper the eggs, whisking constantly, pour entire egg mixture back into the saucepan of milk mixture, continue to whisk as you bring pudding mixture back to a gentle boil over medium heat. Again, you'll notice the mixture begin to thicken as you're whisking, don't turn up the heat to cook it faster; you want it to come to temp slowly and not to overcook.

Once it begins to thicken, stop whisking for a few seconds to see if it is bubbling yet. As soon as it begins to bubble, reduce heat to low. Cook and stir for 2 more minutes, then remove from heat. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp banana extract.

Allow pudding to cool for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the sweetened condensed milk to the pudding and allow it to continue to cool (the pudding will naturally thin out a little after you add the condensed milk, that's ok).

When the pudding cools to about room temperature, make the whipped cream. Add heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and remaining teaspoon of vanilla to a large mixing bowl and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding that has been cooled to room temperature.

Set aside while you make the Bananas Foster Sauce.

Bananas Foster Sauce

4 Tbsp butter

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

8 medium bananas, nicely yellow and firm, ripe but not too ripe (I like to use organic)

1 oz rum

1/4 cup rum

1/4 cup banana liqueur

Fruit Fresh

Peel and slice bananas. In a small bowl, mix sugars and cinnamon, side aside.

Melt butter in a heavy, larger skillet over medium heat. Add cinnamon sugar mix to the melted butter. Cook and stir until sugar is moistened. Add 1 oz of rum and cook sauce for about 3 minutes over medium heat until sugars are dissolved. Remove from heat and have a heavy lid ready in case it's needed to put out the flames.

Add rum and banana liqueur to the skillet, flambé the liquor with a long lighter or match. * Use the heavy lid to put the flames out if they don't go out on their own after about 30 seconds.*

When the flame is out, return skillet to medium heat and add the sliced bananas to the sauce. Cook bananas for only a minute or two, then remove the bananas from the sauce (I put them on a dinner plate) and set them aside to cool. Continue to cook the sauce for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat to let the sauce cool.

Make the vanilla bean topping while bananas are cooling.

Stabilized Vanilla Bean Topping

1- 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin (Knox)

2 Tbsp cold water

1- 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream + 2 Tbsp, to temper the gelatin

1/2 cup powdered sugar, rounded/heaped, to your sweetness desire

1 tsp vanilla

Seed from 1/2 of a large vanilla bean

1 Tbsp rum

Whisk the gelatin and the cold water in a small microwavable bowl set aside to bloom.

In a large chilled mixing bowl, beat heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla, vanilla bean seeds and rum until sugar is dissolved. Taste for sweetness and adjust sugar amount to your desired sweetness. Continue to beat until slightly thickened, almost soft peaks.

Microwave the gelatin and water that has bloomed for 5 to 10 seconds or until it returns to liquid form and no granules of gelatin are visible. Stir the 2 Tbsp of heavy cream into the dissolved gelatine to temper.

Slowly drizzle the gelatin mixture into the whipping cream while beating on low/medium speed. Increase speed to medium high until stiff peaks form. Cover bowl with cling wrap or press and seal and refrigerate until about an hour before serving.

Assemble the pie

Lightly sprinkle caramelized bananas with Fruit Fresh and stir carefully so you don't mash up bananas. Put about half of the pudding mixture in the bottom of the baked and cooled pie crust. Arrange a layer of caramelized bananas on top of the bottom layer of pudding. Cover bananas with the remaining pudding mix. Refrigerate pie for at least 2 to 3 hours. Place remaining caramelized bananas and sauce in fridge until about an hour before service.

Candied Pecans

1 lb pecan halves

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup sugar

1 egg white

1 Tbsp water

Preheat over to 210°. Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff peaks. Fold in salt, sugar and cinnamon. Add pecans. Stir to completely coat. Spread mixture onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven when dry and crisp. Cool completely. Store in airtight container.

About an hour before serving

Arrange the remaining bananas on the top of the chilled and set pie. Using an ice cream scoop (the kind that you squeeze and it has a little blade that helps release the scoop), scoop out the whipped, chilled stabilized vanilla bean topping like scoops of ice cream and arrange them around the inside of the crust on top of the bananas. Drizzle remaining sauce over pie, trying to stay inside the crust. Sprinkle with coarsely chopped candied pecans (I just cut pecans in half).


Recipe for Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

(I double the recipe to get 14 oz)

This is so much better than store bought canned, worth the hour it takes to make it.

2 cups whole milk

1/3 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

Add milk, cream and sugar to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Whisk to combine and dissolve sugar. Bring to a mild boil. Turn down heat slightly so that the mixture is at a gentle boil/strong simmer. Cook to reduce, checking on it and whisking it often. If it starts to boil over, give it a whisk, but don't turn down the heat too much. Keep the heat at medium/medium low, but closer to medium. You need the heat to reduce the milk.

Once the mixture is thick and creamy, add vanilla and whisk to combine.

Pour into a bowl and let cool before using. Measure out what you need and store the rest in a small mason jar or airtight container. Refrigerate for up to a week or freeze up to 3 months.

** I double the batch and I use a large skillet so it doesn't take quite an hour for a double batch.