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Momofuku Milk Bar’s Banana Cream Pie

Two nights ago I sat awake in my chair and frowned with worry. Long has it been that I feared a complicated recipe but this banana cream pie recipe from Momofuku Milk Bar had me questioning my sanity. I read numerous blogs about this specific banana cream pie, created by Chef Christina Tosi. Before I go into the nuances about the pie itself, the process of making it, and how it all fared, let me share with you the bottom line:

This banana cream pie is a journey, but it is one worth taking. It takes about 4 hours to make but it will be the best banana cream pie you will ever have.

Now that we got that out of the way let’s get down and dirty… literally! I can promise you that by the time your pie is fully chilled and ready to eat your kitchen will be destroyed and you will have cocoa powder somewhere on your clothes. But never fear, because like I said… it is totally worth it. You will begin by making a brownie-like crust that bakes against the pie plate, and then is filled with the most luscious, fluffy banana-packed cream filling that is a perfect blend of bananas and cream. It is simply divine. Ready to learn how to make this pie? Okay, let’s go!

Ingredients: 

Chocolate Crumb: 

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 cup of sugar

2/3 cup of good-quality cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted

 

Chocolate Crust:

1 batch of the chocolate crumb recipes (above)

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, room temperature

 

Banana Cream Filling:

2 very ripe (black) bananas

1/3 cup of heavy cream

1/4 cup of whole milk (I used 2% and it was fine)

1/2 cup of caster sugar

2 tablespoons of cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon of salt

3 egg yolks

3 gelatin sheets (or 2 1/4 teaspoons of powdered gelatin)

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon yellow food coloring

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup icing sugar (also known as powdered sugar)

1 ripe (dark yellow) banana, sliced

 

Step-by-Step Picture Instructions: 

*For step by step instructions please see the recipe I followed, here.* 

1. Begin by making your brownie crumble. Combine the ingredients and place on a cookie sheet to cook. Bake in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.

Mix your chocolate crumble ingredients together.
Mix your chocolate crumble ingredients together.
After it is baked it will look like this.
After it is baked it will look like this.

2. Next begin to make the banana portion of the banana cream filling. Combine the 2 black bananas, heavy cream, and milk in a blender and whirl. add in the caster sugar, cornstarch, salt and egg yolks. Blend until smooth.

Blend the banana portion of the cream in a blender.
Blend the banana portion of the cream in a blender.

3. Pour into a medium sauce pan and whisk vigorously on medium-low heat until it bubbles and the starch is cooked through. This should be about 5 minutes.

Whisk in a pan until the cornstarch is cooked through. About 5 minutes.
Whisk in a pan until the cornstarch is cooked through. About 5 minutes.

** Clean out your blender and prepare it to use shortly. Also, take your gelatin (most likely powder) and put it into a small bowl with 1/4 cup of cold water. Allow it to soften for 5 minutes while you are whisking the banana pudding. ** 

4. Pour your banana cream filling back into your clean blender and add the gelatin and several drops of yellow food coloring. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a heatproof dish and place in the refrigerator to cool while you finish the crust and whipped cream.

Pour back into the blender with your gelatin and yellow food coloring.
Pour back into the blender with your gelatin and yellow food coloring.

5. Your brownie-like crumble should be done baking. Allow it to cool before you then carefully put it into a food processor along with the 2 tablespoons of room-temperature butter and pulse until it is ground down into a fine, sticky crumble. Take your pie plate and a pair of rubber gloves, and slowly begin to mold the crumble against the pie plate. You will notice that it feels and looks like thin play-dough. This is good. Evenly spread it around the plate and then place the pie plate to cool in the refrigerator.

Grind the chocolate brownie crumble in a food processor before molding to your pie plate.
Grind the chocolate brownie crumble in a food processor before molding to your pie plate.

6. Meanwhile, go back to your stand mixer. It is now time to make the whipped cream part of the banana cream filling. Add the 3/4 cup of heavy cream and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Whip together in a stand mixer until medium-stiff peaks form. Then turn down the mixer to low and slowly add in the chilled banana filling mixture. Mix together until evenly distributed.

Make the whipped cream portion of the banana filling.
Make the whipped cream portion of the banana filling.
Then add the chilled banana portion to the whipped cream and mix evenly.
Then add the chilled banana portion to the whipped cream and mix evenly.

 

7. Now it is time to assemble the pie!! Get your chilled pie shell and carefully fill the pie to halfway. Place pieces of the sliced, ripe banana on top of the banana cream. Then top the sliced bananas with the rest of the cream filling. Tada! You made the Momofuku Milk Bar’s Banana Cream Pie! Chill for at least 2 hours BEFORE eating!

Assemble the pie and voila! you have your pie!! Chill for at least 2 hours before eating.
Assemble the pie and voila! you have your pie!! Chill for at least 2 hours before eating.

 

8. Enjoy!

Eat and enjoy!
Eat and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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Why I Chose to Get Rid of My TV

I sat in my room and looked at my blank flat screen TV. I admit that for many, many years I have enjoyed watching reality TV. As an adolescent I remember watching MTV (when MTV really had music on it) and gushed over Carson Daly. Then MTV started showing “The Real World” and “Road Rules” and I was hooked. While I have managed to stay away from cable for quite a long time, (seriously who still pays for that?) I have still succumbed to my favorite shows through internet streaming or pay-per-episode watching.

In the age of iPads, computers, and streaming to your television…. when is enough, enough? For a while now I have felt that there is an over-saturation of technology in today’s society. There comes a point when children know how to navigate the internet but find reading books boring. Or perhaps Apps and games look “cool” while classic toys look less interesting. Regardless, I said to myself, “Okay enough is enough, and the change must start with me”. So I unsubscribed from all of the movie sites. I cancelled my programs and stocked up on the books.

Turn-off-TV

 

I don’t know what the future holds as far as technology is concerned. Recently I read about a car by Mercedes that is set to debut in 2016 that can drive itself! The Jetsens weren’t very unrealistic were they? (Kuddos to you if you remember who The Jetsens were). I probably sound like a fuddy-duddy who is lamenting about an ever-changing world and not being able to keep up with it. I guess I just feel that, not all change in the world is good. Yes, TV can be beneficial and I can rattle off to you several television programs that are educational and are great for children. But I can also link to you statistics about how too much TV can relate to increased rates of obesity, smaller attention spans, etc. In the end, it is up to each family to decide what it right for their brood.

All I know is in my home, I choose for us to live organically. I want my child to have concrete experiences. Yes, understanding how to navigate a computer and typing is important as a life skill. But I do not want my child on social media. I do not want my child to get sucked into the world of texting, and I refuse to have her grow up with her eyes glued to a screen. Life is too beautiful and precious to lose moments wasted on digital… junk. So I put away the TV. And you know what? We are pretty darn happy. What do you think? Would you cut down (or even put away) the TV in your home?

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Tolerance Starts At Home

I live in an inter-cultural home. Both my husband and I are very proud of our diverse heritages. Coming from opposite sides of the globe we manage to share with each other the best parts of what make us unique individuals. Every now and then something will pop up that rattles one of us. In my case, it’s dropping by the house unexpectedly.

Growing up I watched my own parents be social butterflies. The neighborhood that I grew up in often felt more like a grove of families that were all inter-connected in each others lives. Think, “Desperate Housewives” minus all of the murder drama (lol). Everyone knew everyone and gossip flew along every curly-corded telephone. Being a child I didn’t have to deal with all of the adult B.S. Instead, I got to immerse myself in a world where I had plenty of friends, and there wasn’t a holiday that went by that wasn’t a party. It was pretty great.

Meanwhile across the globe my husband lived in an entirely different world. In the bustling city of Manila, Philippines he grew up in a world where everyone close to the family is a “tito” or “tita” (uncle/aunt). In a world where the streets are packed and safety is paramount, resilience is taught from an early age. However, like me he also had a barkada (a close circle of friends who you often hang out with daily). These people became like family to him.

love_being_filipino_american_by_ladyaxis-d494254

 

Back in America watching my parents host dinner parties and the like, it wasn’t uncommon for my parents to implement R.S.V.P.s on their invitation. I remember writing R.S.V.P. on my own birthday invitations when I was young. It was just the norm. When I wanted to go over to a friends house my parents always made me ask permission to the adult before inviting myself over. We set a date, made plans, and then attended. There was a protocol and it was always followed.

In the Philippines community is everything. Pamiliya (family) is a central part of life and they truly believe that “blood is thicker then water”. With older siblings, my husband always tagged around with his brothers and sister and learned a lot from watching them. His lolo and lola (Grandpa and Grandma) were an integral part of his young childhood and there was never a need to R.S.V.P…. you simply showed up and were always welcomed. Family is family.

Fast forward to yesterday. As I was in full Spring Cleaning mode my husbands cell phone buzzed. My in-laws were on the way with plenty of delicious, Filipino food and they were coming to say hello. My first instinct was, “What?! But I’m still in my pajamas! And my house is all out of place from cleaning! Yikes!!”. My husband sensed my anxiety and rubbed my shoulders, “Don’t worry…” he said gently, “Family is family. They don’t care about such trivial things”. Nonetheless, I raced into the shower and hurried to straighten up before they arrived. Just then the phone rang– it was my dad. I quickly explained my need to hurry and tidy up my house. I complained about the lack of time given before they arrived and my urgency to get everything together. “Have more tolerance” my dad said softly, “Perhaps it is a cultural difference. Did you ever think of that?”. I stood in my living room and really paused. Maybe I was worrying about absolutely nothing. Maybe the difference of R.S.V.P.-ing and simply dropping by was a cultural difference and I needed to have more understanding. I thanked my dad and hung up the phone.

As they all marched through the door, each holding a pan of amazing food, I melted at the compassion and warmth they brought into our home. Over the course of the evening, laughter filled every corner, two languages became music in the air, and everyone had an amazing time. Two cultures from opposite sides of the globe met under one roof and there was a single world that united us all: love. Family really is family. And I feel absolutely blessed.

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St. Patty’s Day Milkshakes!

When I was a little girl, I distinctly remember St. Patrick’s Day being loads of fun. My dad would take me to the local parade where I would be clad in green from head to toe and perched on top of my head was a “Erin go Bragh” ( Long Live Ireland) knit cap. Dinner that evening was corned beef and cabbage and there was always a huge loaf of Irish Soda Bread to soak up the juices of the beef stock. Yes, it’s true. I am a convert to Judaism. The blood in my veins doesn’t come from the far Eastern parts of Russia nor the most Western Sephardic areas either. I am proudly Irish and Italian.

My great grandmother immigrated to the United States from Ireland and her fiery red hair and quick, temper was passed down through the generations. Fair skinned with natural red highlights, I now live to pass on these stories to my own child. So today is St. Patrick’s Day and that meant, Jewish or not, it was a day to celebrate!

But beyond a great pint of Guinness and some bangers and mash, how should a family celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? In our house we played a “hunting for gold coins” game and then we made…. Shamrock Shakes! Ever popular this time of year at the local McDonalds, there is no need to spend money and waste calories when you can make this tasty dessert in a pinch with your children. The recipe is as follows:

“Homemade Shamrock Milkshakes”

– Mint Chocolate chip Ice Cream

– Regular Milk

– Ice Cream

– Ice cubes

– Whipped Cream

– Green Sprinkles

Steps: 

1. Grab your blender and spoon 2-3 large tablespoons of ice cream into the blender.

2. Pour 1 cup of milk on top and stir slightly to mix through.

3. Place 5-6 Ice cubes on top. Cover and begin to blend through. You probably will need to pause and mix the shake several times until it is fully processed.

4. Pour into a tall glass. Top with whipped cream and green sprinkles and enjoy!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Long live Ireland!!

IMG_0943

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Knowing When to Slow Down

A close friend of mine recently told me, “When I’m in the shower I often put my cell phone into a plastic, Zip Lock bag. That way, I can text AND shower at the same time!”. I looked at him for a moment and stared blankly. Several things crossed my mind:

lifeproof

1. How does one scrub your hair and text message at the same time? Sure, it might be relaxing to stand in a spray of warm, water while texting LOL to your friend but is it really that necessary?

2. What if you are in an intense conversation and you are mid-scrub and you gasp and soap or shampoo gets in your eye? G-d knows sometimes I get shampoo in my eyes if I am rushing in the morning let alone if I am multi-tasking in the shower!

3. How do you physically hold onto your phone when your hands are soapy? I am picturing him standing there grasping onto the bag before it goes shooting through his fingers and flying onto the shower floor. Am I right? Doesn’t that sound a bit dangerous for the phone? What if the bag leaks?! Eep! That would be a fun story to explain to the Apple employee…. lol.

I guess what I’m trying to say is there is a time and a place for everything. Take a breath and slow down. Know when it is time to disconnect and when it is time to chat. Let yourself have a few precious minutes to scrub, lather, and regroup for the day. While it may be fun to R.O.F.L. and L.O.L. at the latest meme or Facebook post, your body will thank you for taking time to slow down. 

Have a peaceful Monday everyone!

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Who Is The King of Instagram?

There’s a king of Instagram? You bet there is! And he is Jewish too! Josh Ostrovsky a.k.a. TheFatJewish has 3.3 million followers and a handful of interns working under him to create some of Instagrams most hilarious pictures that turn into viral memes. Katie Couric recently sat down with Josh and interviewed him to find out how he got his start into the social media scene. You can view that interview here.

Perhaps you are like me and you live with someone who is on Reddit all the time. If so, you have probably seen some of Josh’s most famous pictures around the internet. Take a look at his Instagram site and enjoy the crazy, epic-ally hilarious pictures from TheFatJew:

FatJewOne