Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pie in the Sky

Sometimes I get carried away. I'll be the first to admit that this pie is pretty much over the top. But in honor of National Pie Day (January 23rd!), I mean, why not go all out? Like five layers of flaky pie crust, sweet banana, dulce de leche, mile-high meringue madness. I've been wanting to make dulce de leche for awhile now, especially since I discovered that it can also be made in the oven rather than the typically prescribed method of boiling unopened cans of condensed milk in a pot of water for 3 hours. Because it can explode. I'm serious.

But, in just one hour, you can have your very own delicious vat of creamy, caramely goodness without the risk to your health or kitchen. It's great to have a jar of this stuff on hand for other uses like ice cream topping, fruit dip, eating by the spoonful out of the jar, you know, whatever.
Next time I make this pie I might try it with a graham cracker crust and possibly whipped cream instead of meringue. If you do go with the meringue, only whip it to you desired thickness. I like my meringue thick and, like, borderline marshmallow consistency so, if you don't prefer to feel like you're biting into a sponge, only beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Also feel free to use more banana and slice into coins rather than lengthwise if you prefer a bigger banana flavor. Ahem.

Dulce de Leche Banana Meringue Pie
1 recipe of your favorite pie crust or one refrigerated crust
2 14-oz cans sweetened condensed milk
3-5 ripe bananas
3 egg whites
3 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pour condensed milk into a glass pie plate or baking dish (stir in a little fleur de sel if you have it) cover tightly with foil and place into a larger baking pan. Fill with warm water half way up the pie plate and bake 1 hour or until browned (will resemble a dark butterscotch color).

2. Cool to room temperature. In the meantime prepare and bake desired pie crust.

3. Once dulce de leche has cooled, whisk or stir until smooth. Slice bananas as desired, using some to line the bottom of the pie crust. Pour dulce de leche over the bananas and top with remaining bananas.

4. For the meringue, whip egg whites until very foamy. Gradually beat in sugar. Add salt and vanilla and whip to desired thickness. Top pie with meringue and, if desired, toast with a kitchen torch or under your oven's broiler.

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