Going Bananas Over Baking

There are so many tasty pie recipes to make, it's easy to go "bananas" over baking. One of the all-time American favorites is made with the versatile banana.

Besides being the most popular tropical fruit to eat as a snack, bananas are a surprisingly versatile baking ingredient. For example, mashed bananas are a great fat substitute, lending flavor as well as bulk to a recipe.

Bananas are best for baking when brown spots have just appeared on the skins-they should be flecked with brown spots but not blackened. Flecked bananas have a sweeter taste than yellow-colored ones, but you can use either.

If you want to speed-ripen bananas, place them in the microwave. Pierce with a fork on the outside and microwave whole, in the peel, for a minute and a half.

Right before using in a recipe, mash them well with a fork so they retain texture and some chunks. Don't blend them smooth in a blender. This can cause your baked goods to become too dense and rubbery.

This recipe for Banana Cream Pie using Karo Syrup and Argo Corn Starch will remind you of the delicious pies you enjoyed for dessert growing up.

Karo, a natural sweetener, is pure corn syrup made with real vanilla to ensure the best quality. Argo Corn Starch thickens sauces and pie fillings with satiny smoothness and glossy appearance.

Banana Cream Pie

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 to 15 minutes

Chill Time: 2 hours

Makes 1 (9-inch) pie

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons Argo® Corn Starch

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

4 egg yolks

1/4 cup Karo® Light Corn Syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon butter OR margarine

1 to 2 medium bananas

1 prepared graham cracker pie crust OR baked pie crust (recipe follows)

Whipped cream, optional

Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt thoroughly in a heavy saucepan OR top of double boiler. Whisk milk, egg yolks and corn syrup together; add to sugar mixture and stir well to combine.

Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter.

Slice bananas into bottom of pie crust. Pour filling over top; let cool 10 minutes.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill several hours or overnight before serving. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

This fabulous Banana Cream Pie can be an easy no-bake recipe, but if you prefer making your pie crust from scratch, here is a recommended recipe for a homemade baked crust.

Homemade Deep-Dish

Pie Crust Recipe:

In food processor, pulse 11/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup cold butter and 1/4 cup vegetable shortening until in large crumbs. Add 4 to 5 tablespoons cold water; pulse until mixture starts to form a ball (do not overmix).

Shape dough into round disk; cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 10 minutes until easy to handle. Roll dough into 11-inch circle onto floured surface; fit dough into 91/2-inch deep-dish pie plate. Prick bottom and sides with tines of fork. Turn edge under and flute.

Bake at 400°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until crust is golden. Cool completely before filling.

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About The Author, Wendy Mitchell
For more recipes and baking tips, visit www.karosyrup.com and www.argostarch.com.Melt-in-your-mouth banana cream pie is a sweet treat that's easy to make. It's creamy, fluffy and delicious in a baked shell.