Upside-down pie? Yes, pie. Not cake, but pie. It may look like a cake but that’s a crust that you see. Traditional sweet pastry crust with flour, butter, sugar and a little salt. No eggs. Paradise banana? Yes. Let me explain. This recipe has two stories and the Paradise banana part is only half of it.
We were at the SM Hypermarket at the Mall of Asia two weekends ago buying Sam’s milk, juice, cereals and cereal bars for the next five days. She stays in a dorm near the university and, for convenience, she keeps a supply of breakfast items. Speedy saw some strange looking very green bananas labeled Paradise Plant. We asked the attendants how the Paradise Plant bananas are prepared and we were told that they are good for making banana chips before they are ripe. Oh, like saba bananas, Speedy remarked. Better, they replied. Curious, we bought a bunch of four Paradise Plant bananas.
For the next several days, everyone was too busy and the Paradise Plant bananas were just lying on the fruit basket. The green skins turned yellow-green and, some ten days after we bought them, the skins had turned bright yellow. I had lost interest in them and, more than once, I wondered whether I should throw them out. The supermarket attendant did say they were best cooked as banana chips before they were ripe. What was I supposed to do with them after they had ripened?
Earlier this afternoon, hovering between sleep and wakefulness while suffering the extreme humidity, I chanced upon an episode of Surfing the Menu on the Travel & Living Channel. An old episode, actually, because Curtis Stone was still in it. And he made an apple pastry that woke me up. This upside-down pie is based on that apple pastry. Curtis Stone’s recipe used puff pastry; I used my recipe for sweet pie crust.
What is this upside-down Paradise banana pie like? It doesn’t taste like a pie despite the fact that the base is a pie crust. It’s something between a shortcake and a scone — soft and moist at the center but, underneath, it is wonderfully crisp. And the Plantation Plant bananas? Oh, they were gorgeous. I only used two pieces to make my pie so I have two more to make another.
- For the topping:
- 1/3 c. of butter
- 1/4 c. of white sugar
- 2 Plantation Plant bananas
- For the crust:
- 1 c. of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. of salt
- 4 tbsps. of white sugar
- 1/3 c. of cold butter
- about 1/4 c. of iced water
- In a saucepan, melt the butter. When melted, sprinkle the sugar and cook over medium heat until amber (light brown) in color. Do not cook for too long or the syrup will taste bitter. Pour the syrup into an eight-inch round baking pan. Never mind if you can see brown bits separating from the oil. None of that will matter.
- Peel and slice the bananas and arrange on the syrup-coated bottom of the baking pan.
- Make the crust.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar. Cut the butter into small pieces and work into the flour until the mixture is crumbly. Pour in the iced water, a tablespoonful at a time, while mixing until the mixture forms loose lumps.
- Pour the crust mixture into the baking pan and press with your hands to form and semi-compact crust. DO NOT press too hard or the syrup will seep through the dough.
- Bake the pie in a preheated 350oF oven for 30 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.
- As soon as the pie is out of the oven, place an inverted plate over it then invert the pie onto the plate.
- Serve warm with coffee or tea. Delicious.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8