ORLANDO, Fla. — While summer might be on the way out in other parts of the country, it's still in full swing here in Central Florida.
And what is more summery than deep dish banana creme pie?
Chef Jordi Panisello loves sweetness and summertime. So although he may be from Spain, he feels right at home in the Sunshine State.
“It is great to live here. I think we have a little bit of everything,” he said.
He has been the executive pastry chef at Hilton Orlando for the last two years, making incredible deserts like banana cream pie. It starts with a graham cracker crust that is held together by butter and sugar.
“The shell itself is a little bit large as you see, but because the pie itself is deep dish we have to make sure that is going to hold the whole pie itself. The impressive part of this pie is the size of it,” said the chef, shaping the crust with a glass.
Once that is ready to bake and cool, it's time to move on to creating the custard cream by combining eggs, sugar and cornstarch — to which you will slowly add boiling milk little by little.
“Sometimes it can burn if you don't go around with a spatula," Panisello said. "That is a little trick, if you keep with a whisk you might burn it so we want to go back and make sure that we get the bottom.”
The chef said that his grandma introduced him to the kitchen and that is where he’s been experimenting for the last 44 years.
“I love to cook. That is one thing I enjoy the most. The sweets, that is kind of my weakness,” he said.
And sweet is exactly what this is. Once the mix is cooked, he is ready to reach for the gelatin.
“We bloom the gelatin first in cold water and ice and then we take the water out. At this point we put it into the hot because you need the gelatin to dissolve," he said.
Then he adds that to the custard with some pureed bananas and creme de banana before folding in whip cream.
“That is just to give it a little bit more flavor,” Panisello said.
While that cools off, he makes a quick syrup with banana liquor for the vanilla wafers. He says this prevents any dry texture in the pie.
"They get all of that banana flavor inside as well,” Panisello said.
Then it's time to start building on that graham cracker crust, starting with the custard cream.
“And here we put the wafers and we line the wafers all the way around," the chef said.
Then, you guessed it, more bananas. Followed by banana cream and a simple chantilly cream on top.
“I personally love it myself, I love banana and I love the combination of banana with the custard,” he said.
The finishing touch is some chocolate shavings.
“What do they say? I prefer to fall n chocolate than fall in love, right?” Panisello said.
Then it is ready for him to take into the newly renovated FastBreak sports bar, where it is the jewel of their punchy American menu.
“I mean you can look at your favorite sports, from any seat in the restaurant you can get a beautiful view,” said the chef, checking out the wall to wall TVs
Want to make this yourself? Here is the full recipe.