Emeril’s Orlando and Tchoup Chop revs up for Universal’s Mardi Gras

As if these restaurants were not amazing guest already, both restaurants are running Mardi Gras cocktail specials now through Universal’s Mardi Gras celebration, May 31. Recipes and photos of the cocktails (and other Mardi Gras-inspired cocktails from Emeril) are available online here:http://www.emerils.com/recipes/mardi-gras-cocktails.

On a recent visit to Emeril’s Tchoup Chop one of my sinful indulgences was the Banana Cream Pie. It just so happens that this Sunday (March 2) is National Banana Cream Pie Day!

Did you know that Emeril’s famous Banana Cream Pie has been on the menu—and a guest favorite—since day one at Emeril’s original restaurant in New Orleans, opened in 1990.

9 – average number of bananas used in each pie

9-10 ounces – average weight of one slice

6 – layers of pastry cream and fresh banana pieces in each slice

47,760 – slices of banana cream pie sold in 2013 at Emeril’s restaurants nationwide.

The folks at Emeril’s were kind enough to share the Banana Cream Pie recipe with me. Since this recipe is featured in From Emeril’s Kitchen Cook Book, I’ll share with you also.

You just got really lucky.

banana-cream4

Banana Cream Pie with Caramel Drizzles and Chocolate Sauce

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, from From Emeril’s Kitchens, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2003, copyright MSLO, Inc., all rights reserved.

4 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 1/2 cups plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and seeds scraped

3 large egg yolks

2 large eggs

1/2 cup cornstarch

Graham Cracker Crust, recipe follows

3 pounds (about 9) firm but ripe bananas, peeled and cut crosswise into 9 firm but ripe bananas (about 3 pounds), peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Caramel Sauce, recipe follows

Chocolate Sauce, recipe follows

Shaved chocolate, for garnish

Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

Fresh mint, for garnish

There are a few secrets necessary to make this pie successfully. First, the bananas, while ripe, need to be firm so that they hold their shape when pushed into place. Second, the pastry cream needs to be very stiff so that when sliced, the pie will not crumble or slide. It’s also important to cover the bananas completely with the last layer of pastry cream to prevent them from discoloring.

At Emeril’s, we pipe the whipped cream over each individual slice before serving, but feel free to spread your whipped cream over the whole pie (which, incidentally, has been on the menu at Emeril’s since day one, and continues to be one of our most requested desserts).

Combine 2 cups cream, the milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla bean and seeds in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil, whisking to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat.
Combine egg yolks, eggs, cornstarch, and 1 cup sugar in a medium bowl; whisk until pale yellow in color. Set aside.

Whisk 1 cup hot cream mixture into egg yolk mixture. Gradually add egg mixture to hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly with a large wooden spoon to cook out cornstarch and thicken mixture, about 5 minutes. (The mixture may separate slightly; if so, remove from heat and beat with an electric mixer until thick and smooth.) Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in refrigerator for about 4 hours.

To assemble, spread 1/2 cup custard over the bottom of the prepared crust, smoothing with the back of a large spoon or rubber spatula. Arrange enough banana slices (not quite one-third) in a tight, tiled pattern over custard, pressing down with your hands to pack them firmly. Repeat to build a second layer, using 3/4 cup custard and enough bananas to cover, smoothing down the layer evenly. For the third layer, spread 3/4 cup of custard over bananas and top with remaining bananas, starting 1 inch from outer edge and working toward center. Spread 1 cup custard evenly over bananas to prevent discoloration. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

In a medium bowl, whip remaining 2 cups heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add remaining 2 teaspoons sugar and vanilla extract and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

Remove pie from refrigerator. With a sharp knife dipped in hot water, cut pie into 10 equal slices. Transfer slices to dessert plates. Fill a pastry bag with whipped cream and pipe onto each slice. (Alternately, spread the whipped cream evenly over the pie before cutting.)

Drizzle each slice with caramel and chocolate sauces, sprinkle with chocolate shavings and confectioners’ sugar, garnish with fresh mint, and serve.

Makes one 9-inch pie; serves 10

Graham Cracker Crust

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl and mix well. Add butter and mix well. Press mixture into a 9-inch pie pan. Top with aluminum pie tin and with a circular motion, press crust tightly into pan. Bake until browned, about 25 minutes. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

Makes one 9-inch crust

Caramel Sauce

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup whole milk

Combine sugar, water, and lemon juice in a medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Let boil without stirring until mixture becomes a deep amber color, 2 to 3 minutes, watching closely so it doesn’t burn. Add cream, whisk to combine, and remove from heat. Add milk, 2 tablespoons at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before serving with pie. (The sauce will thicken as it cools.)

Makes a generous 3/4 cup

Chocolate Sauce

1/2 cup half-and-half

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 pound semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Scald half-and-half and butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat.
Place chocolate and vanilla in a medium heat-proof bowl. Add hot half-and-half and let sit for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Serve slightly warm. (The sauce can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for several days, but it must be returned to room temperature before serving.)

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Are you hungry yet? I am! Watch out I am coming live from one of Emeril’s Orlando restaurants really soon.

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2 responses to “Emeril’s Orlando and Tchoup Chop revs up for Universal’s Mardi Gras

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