Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Banana Cream Pie

What, you've never heard of a Russian Banana Cream Pie? Okay you caught me, this recipe is very much so not Russian, but rather is as American as they come. My Noah loves this dessert so I have made it a priority to learn how to not only make it, but perfect it. This past weekend, I think I achieved just that. 

This particular recipe made me very happy, as I put a little twist on it that Noah did not expect, but still very much enjoyed. It came out delicious and was fairly simple too!

Banana Cream Pie
My Recipe, for Noah

Graham Cracker Crust
10 or 11 whole graham crackers
1 tspn. sugar
4 tbspn. unsalted butter, melted

Chocolate Layer
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 oz bittersweet chocolate (I use Ghiardelli baking chocolate)

1 package instant vanilla pudding (and all ingredients it calls for to be made)

Whipped Topping
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbspn powdered sugar
3 medium bananas

Graham Cracker Crust
1.) Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2.) Using a food processor, create graham cracker crumbs. Combine the crumbs with the sugar in a bowl. Add the melted butter and mix until incorporated.
3.) Pour the mixture into a 9-inch tart pan and use something with a flat bottom to press the crust into the pan so that it forms an even layer.
4.) Bake it until lightly browned, 12-15 minutes; cool completely

Chocolate Layer
1.) Place the chocolate into a double broiler and melt it, add the heavy cream; mix until it is all incorporated. 
2.) Pour the chocolate in one even layer over the cooled pie crust; refrigerate

1.) Make your pudding and pour it over the chocolate pie crust
2.) Slice up the bananas and most of them in one even layer over the chocolate; reserve some to incorporate into the whipped cream topping

Whipped Cream Topping
1.) Using a hand-mixer, whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks. Add the powdered sugar and continue to mix until it is incorporated
2.) Fold in the remaining bananas into the whipped cream
3.) Spoon the pastry cream evenly onto the crust 
4.) Shave some chocolate over the top and add a few bananas as a decorative garnish
5.) Chill and serve within 24 hours


When I was little, I had a nanny that took care of me everyday. Her name is Bina and she became an honorary grandmother to me. Though I do not have many memories of her taking care of me when I was small, her presence in my life, and my family's life still remains. I know my parents are especially thankful for Bina, as she took care of me like I was one of her own grandchildren. Most family gatherings, Bina is there and is known for bringing with her her famous beze. Beze is a big, puffy, crispy, meringue that is the most fickle cookie one could possible make up. But somehow, Bina's beze always turned out perfectly. 

For Valentine's Day, I wanted to make a special treat that would be just the right amount of a small and sweet bite. I called up Bina and asked her for her recipe, and am honored to share it with you, with a few additions of my own! 

 If you want to decorate your beze like this, take some of the raspberry syrup and place little dots of it on the beze before you pop it in the oven. Take a tooth pick and drag the raspberry syrup dots from one to the other and these little hearts will take shape!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Chocolate Chip Popcorn Cookies

This past weekend, my niece and nephew came to visit for a slumber party! Abby, being quite the actress already at only nine years old knew that she wanted to star in one of my Youtube cooking videos. Requesting a simple but scrumptious chocolate chip cookie recipe, I got to work on figuring out the best one I could find. We stuck with a standard chocolate chip recipe but added walnuts and popped popcorn to the batter! The result was a combo of salty and sweet cookie bites that had a little bit of earthy flavor with the walnuts there to tone them down. We had a blast making this video below. Check it out and make this recipe yourself!

Chocolate Chip Popcorn Cookies (makes about 4 dozen)
My recipe

1 c. butter
1 c. white sugar
1 c. packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs, room temp
2 tspn. vanilla extract
3 c. AP Flour
1 tspn. baking soda
2 tspn. hot water
1/2 tspn. salt
1/2 c. salted popcorn broken into small pieces
2 c. chocolate chips
1 c. chopped, toasted walnuts

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.) Cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth
3.) Beat in eggs one at a time
4.) Stir in vanilla
5.) Dissolve baking soda in hot water, add to batter with salt
6.) Stir in the flour, chocolate chips, walnuts, and popcorn
7.) Drop w/a tablespoon onto ungreased baking pans
8.) Bake for 12 minutes, until edges are nicely browned