How to contact the mailbox
If you have recipes in reply to Mailbox reader requests, or questions or comments, write to: Mailbox, c/o Taste, The Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852. You also can email firstname.lastname@example.org or fax (916) 321-1109. Please include your full name, your city and phone number.
Frank Fat’s banana cream pie
Prep time: 45 minutes Cook time: 14 minutes Serves 6 to 8
Candy Hearn of Rancho Murieta was looking for the recipe for the legendary banana cream pie served at Frank Fat’s and California Fat’s restaurants.
This recipe comes from “The Lina Fat Cookbook” (The Crossing Press, 1992).
Note: The prep time does not include the 1-hour chill time for the dough, the 30-minute freeze time for the crust or the 2-hour chill time for the pie before serving. The cook time for the crust and custard overlap.
Rich pie pastry for a single-crust 10-inch pie:
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons firm cold butter
4 tablespoons firm cold margarine
3 tablespoons ice water
3 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1½ tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3½ cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Crust: Place flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process 2 seconds. Cut butter and margarine into ½-inch chunks and distribute over the flour. Process until fat particles look like small peas, 6 to 8 seconds. With motor running, add ice water through the feed tube. Process just until dough forms a ball.
Shape dough into a 4-inch round; dust with flour. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly-floured board, roll out chilled dough until it is 1/8-inch thick and 2 inches larger in diameter than a 10-inch pie pan. Fit pastry into pan; make a high fluted edge. Prick bottom of pastry in several places with a fork. Place pastry-lined pan in freezer for 30 minutes. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Place on a rack and let cool completely before filling.
Custard: In a medium bowl beat eggs lightly with an electric mixer. Add sugar, cornstarch, butter and the 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat until well-mixed.
In a heavy 3-quart pan, heat milk just to scalding. Pour half of the hot milk into the egg mixture, stirring to blend well. Return egg-milk mixture to remaining milk in pan. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until custard has thickened enough to lightly coat a metal spoon. Remove from heat and let custard cool to room temperature.
Peel bananas and cut into ¼-inch slices, dropping the slices into an even layer over the bottom of the pastry shell. Pour custard over the bananas. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Just before serving, whip cream, sugar and the ¼ teaspoon vanilla until stiff. Spread in an even layer over pie.
Note: If you are using a shallow pie plate, you may have custard and bananas left over. These can be layered in dessert cups and refrigerated.