Gesine Bullock-Prado, author of "Pie It Forward," whips up this delicious dessert fit for a king!
Velvet Elvis Pie
Makes 1 9-inch pie
For the crust
Quick Puff Pastry 1/2 batch
Puff pastry is called puff because it puffs! It's true. The procedure of folding the butter in "turns," a process known as lamination, creates alternating layers of butter encased in flour. When touched by the heat of your oven, these become puffed layers of infinite flakiness. The resulting pastry is glorious and unruly-and perfect with custards, which, at their heart, are astoundingly rich and sweet. The Quick Puff crust, with its insane buttery crispness, puts what could otherwise be over-the-top sugary creaminess in its place.
This version is called "quick" (or "blitz") because you cut the butter into the dough instead of going through a proper lamination, as you do with traditional puff pastry. You also make all the folds and turns at once instead of resting in between, as in the traditional method.
Makes approximately 4 pounds 11 ounces of dough
2 pounds (71⁄2 cups) all-purpose flour, cold
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 pounds unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
11⁄4 cups cold water
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and butter.
2. Massage the butter into the flour with the tips of your fingers until the butter pieces are a bit smaller, about the size of a dime. Add the water and smoosh everything around with a wooden spoon or with your hands, coating the mixture with water (this gets terribly messy and sticky). Gently knead until the whole mess looks like it's just barely holding together. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a loose square.
3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes on the counter, where the flour will continue to absorb moisture from the water and the butter. Then roll it out gently, sprinkling flour on your work surface and your rolling pin to keep everything from sticking.
4. Roll the dough into a rough 12-by-20-inch rectangle. Make a single fold by bringing one short edge of the dough to the midline of the rectangle, then fold the other side over on top of the first fold -- just like folding a letter (that's why this process is also called a letter fold)!
Turn the dough 90 degrees, roll the dough out again to the same size rectangle, and make another letter fold. Do this twice more, to make 4 folds and turns in total. This is a holy mess until you get to the last turn. Bits are going to plop off willy-nilly. Don't worry. Just be patient. Shove the errant dough chunks back into the whole and persevere.
5. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before using.
NOTE FROM THE SWEETIE PIE
Delicate crusts like quick puff often slough down around the edges during blind baking. Here's a trick to prevent this from happening: Lay a sheet of parchment on top of your chilled dough in the pie plate; then, instead of weighing down with pie weights, stack another like-size pie plate on top. Flip the two sandwiched pie plates over onto a sheet pan and bake the crust, upside down, for 20 minutes.
For the filling
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
4 ripe (but not overly ripe) bananas
For the assembly
1 cup heavy cream
1 (7 ounce) bar high-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, at room temperature, for making chocolate curls
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough, dock it, and freeze for 20 minutes.
2. Line the crust with parchment, fill it with pie weights or dried beans, and bake it for 20 minutes. Remove the parchment and pie weights and bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes more, or until the bottom is golden brown and baked through. Set it aside to cool completely.
Method for the filling
1. Remove the label from the can of condensed milk. Poke 2 vent holes in the top of the can with a can opener and place it in a deep saucepan. Fill the saucepan with water until it reaches three-quarters of the way up the side of the can. Place the saucepan over medium heat, bring the water to a simmer, and let it cook for 2 hours, keeping an eye on the water level in the saucepan. Never let the water fall to less than halfway down the can. (We're technically making dulce de leche, if you must know.)