Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sassy Sweets: Banana Cream Pie Parfait

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Change is always hard, isn't it?  I hope you'll tell me it is.  The last few weeks have done a number on my normally sunny disposition.  Moving in with my parents, working in a new city, at a new job, and leaving John has been difficult, to say the least.  In Boston I was inspired by the city, the North End and its people, and most especially, my life.  I loved the walk to work, even on those frozen bitter days, or in the rain and wind.  It was my life, I had carved it for myself, and it, in turn, gave me a wonderful sense of satisfaction, pride, and achievement.  One that influenced me, every day; one that still has a piece of my heart.

New York City is a hard adjustment; it is gray and drab.  The stores attempt to distract you from the grayness with blaring music, lights, and interesting window displays; don't stop though, you might get run over.  Everyone moves too quickly; lights change and thirty people jostle towards the other side of the street; cars honk, endlessly; people work long hours, and they don't have outside passions.  They don't understand the cooking obsession like I know you all do.  Even to get from the train to the street, I have to wait IN LINE to take an escalator or go up the stairs.  An actual line--we're not talking 2 or 3 people, we're talking 20. 

When I first got to Boston it had its own set of challenges; I needed to carve out my place and I was usually so exhausted from trying to "live" on my own and adjust to a full-time work schedule after college that most nights dinner consisted of Lean Cuisine or salads.  I always ate lunch out.  It took a few months until I really hit a stride.  Now, though, it is compounded because I miss John and I's weekend life together which has been disrupted, stunted.  The time we get together now seems woefully small. 

Last week it was John's birthday and like the selfless man that he is, he came to see me.  Another sign of his selflessness is that birthdate is also celebrated by billions around the world.  In fact, in the hullabaloo many forget John's birthday at all.  This year, he requested a birthday cake made from his favorite dessert.  It is rare for John to pick a dessert that no one else loves; he loves to share (the opposite of me).  How could I refuse?  He is the one that stoically reminded me, after I moved far away from HIM, to a new city, one I can't quite get my footing in yet, "if we can make it here, we can make it anywhere".  And I obliged.  And in making this for him, I realized something important about us.  It may be true that making it "here" is a pinnacle of success.  But as long as we are together, then I know we can make it anywhere. 

So, John got his Banana Cream Pie in single servings.  I got an extra day with the man I love, and as I looked ahead to 2012, I thought about our lives this year.  We had a lot of ups and downs, big and small changes.  Some caught on the blog, others not.  All of them have had their own set of challenges and we overcame them; the coming challenges might be harder, they might not.  But I will keep looking forward to the moments we have together, the ones that remind me how lucky I am to have found him at all.
Banana Cream Pie Parfait (adapted from here)
Serves:  6 parfaits (6 people)
2 cups graham crackers
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 bananas, sliced
Crush the graham crackers.  Mix together with 1/4 cup of sugar and melted butter until the crumbs are well-moistened and sugar is evenly dispersed.  Place onto a small cookie sheet, spreading out to resemble crust.  Cut into large pieces and evenly place half of the mixture into six parfait glasses.  Separate the egg yolks into a bowl and set aside.  In a medium saucepan, combine the rest of the sugar, corn starch and milk over medium heat.  Stir constantly.  When the mixture is thickened and bubbly, remove from heat.  Whisk the egg yolks; whisking constantly, slowly pour in the warm milk mixture.  After adding about half of the mixture, return it back into the saucepan.  Cook for two more minutes to fully thicken the pudding.  Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Place half of a banana (sliced), into the bottom of your parfait glasses.  Add some banana slices into the parfait glass.  Top with half of the pudding.  Add more pie crust, bananas, and then pudding. Refrigerate at least 6 hours, optimally overnight. Top with whipped cream and more bananas before serving.

Until the next time my oven is on...

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Welcome! I'm Dani (aka the Growing Foodie), just a girl balancing her career and passion for all things edible in NYC. I hope you'll join me in my adventures in life, through food. (Click for More)
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