Recently I've been thinking about the versatility of pie and how pretty much any dessert may be simplified and reconstructed into a round, portable crust. This idea of taking classic restaurant desserts and re-creating them in pie form opens up whole new worlds for us as bakers.
For example, take this Bananas Foster pie, which is based on the classic plated dessert from New Orleans. When you order it at a restaurant, the brown sugar, butter, booze, and bananas are ignited tableside by your waiter, and then poured over ice cream for your enjoyment. Those first bites luxuriously, perfectly capture the spirit and spontaneity of New Orleans, but they pose a challenge outside the restaurant setting.
It's cumbersome to give Bananas Foster to deserving colleague, or to bring it as a contribution to a potluck. This pie is the answer to that logistical problem, and improves on the classic version by adding a crisp crust and a creamy, brown sugar and rum-spiked custard into the equation.
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Bananas Foster is just the beginning. What other desserts do you feel are pie-worthy?
About the author: Lauren Weisenthal has logged many hours working in restaurant kitchens and bakeries of Brooklyn and Manhattan. She is a graduate of the Artisan Bread Baking and Pastry Arts programs at the French Culinary Institute. You can follow her on Twitter at @evillagekitchen.