Black Bottom Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Pie

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Miss Fats calling it: pie is a breakfast item.

She’s being completely serious.  No eye rolling or outrage.  Pie belongs in the early morning hours.  Fruit pie?  Custard pie?  Cream pie?  Aren’t these all qualifiers associated with breakfast, anyway?  Is a flakey crust and tender fruit filling all that different from your standard danish?  (Well yes.  Miss Fats upholds they are different objects.  However conceptually they are closer than one thinks with regard to food genre.)  But can’t we replace those boring fruit parfaits with a silky banana cream?

The reality is that sweet breakfast treats are almost always glorified dessert items, hiding beneath a whole wheat flour or bran addition.  (Or even just parading its sweet self for all to see.  Miss Fats is talking to you, french toast.)  Miss Fats doesn’t understand why the donut should sit comfortably in the breakfast genre, while pie remains in evening hours.  If anything the deep-fried dough item, perfectly crafted to send you to bed, should be flip-flopped with a bright and tangy slice of fruit pie in early hours.

Why should all the round sliced food objects be confined to the second half one’s day? (Pizza?  Also breakfast.)  Their perfect portability and triangular shape make for an ideal nutrient delivery system during the hours when your brain is still waking up and struggling to organize yourself in the morning rush.  Sure, it’s not the healthiest of breakfasts, but if you’re going to reach for a sweet morning treat, pie at least holds the promise of breakfast flavors.  Plus a pie is almost always waiting for you.  No need to mess with flour or a pesky waffle maker first thing in the morning: a big slice of pie is just sitting there on the counter, waiting to be consumed.  Throw a big dollop of greek yogurt on that apple pie and you’ve basically got a power breakfast.

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Look: Miss Fats realizes she probably hasn’t convinced you of breakfast pie yet.  But she’s sure this recipe makes a strong enough case for itself.  Black Bottom Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Pie combines the chewy oatiness of a granola with the flavors of banana bread.  Welcome to layers of flakey pie crust, silky chocolate, gooey banana custard and toasty oatmeal top; a veritable stratum of flavors and textures.  This pie manages to straddle the line between granola bar and pecan pie: teetering deliciously between breakfast and dessert.  Perhaps it’s actually meant to be consumed at the end of a late night around 3 am: right between the two.  Miss Fats can get on board with that.

This pie started as Four and Twenty Blackbird’s Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie.  Blackbird’s “poor-man’s pecan pie,” received rave reviews from a group of Miss Fats’ dear friends.  The crazy-simple recipe made for the perfect game night pie on a Sunday night: no fuss, just good clean fun.  However, always looking to innovate, Miss Fats’ friend I, suggested a banana cream hybrid.  They all agreed the pie had an air of breakfast and would happily begin any day with a big slice and cup of coffee.  But I was interested in producing the ultimate breakfast pie object.  The custard center seemed to be begging to mate with a banana cream friend, so I tasked Miss Fats with the challenge of melding the two.

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Through some simple substitutions and modifications, Miss Fats created a breakfast dessert monster.  She also simplified the whole thing by throwing all the ingredients into a blender and allowing the machine to do all the work for her.  Reducing the sugar and adding bananas makes for a pie that holds all the power of a pie, banana bread, and granola bars. Topped with chocolate. The custard center is the real revelation here.  Miss Fats upped the salt (as she does)  to highlight the creamy, caramel-y flavor fruit to produce a homey richness akin to a beautifully simple slice of moist banana bread.  Pie crust creates a tender base, followed by a bit of bitter chocolate (again, perfectly salted), then comes the smooth banana custard-y center, topped off with a chewy layer of toasted oats.   The ultimate geological formation: the perfect stratification of discrete breakfast treats that come together in pure mouth harmony.  Morning bliss.

Black Bottom Banana Oatmeal Pie:
adapted from Four and Twenty Blackbird’s Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie

1 9-inch single pie crust (Miss Fats prefers this one from Smitten Kitchen)
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
3 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream divided
2 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup
5 tbs melted butter
4 eggs
2 tbs cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Par bake the crust, rolling out the dough, lining a 9 inch pie pan and crimping the sides.  Puncture the bottom to allow air to escape and line the crust with a piece of parchment or foil. Weigh down the center with beans or fancy pie weights, if you have them.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove weights and foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the bottom of the crust looks dry.  Set aside to cool. (Can easily be done in advance.)

2. Toast the oats by spreading them evenly on a lined sheet pan and baking for 10-12 minutes.  Toss every few minutes.  Set aside to cool.  Reduce oven to 325 degrees.

3. Heat 1/4 cup of the heavy cream in the microwave for about 2 minutes or until scalded.  Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and throw in a big pinch of salt. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Whisk the chocolate and cream until smooth.  Pour into the bottom of the pie crust and spread evenly.  Allow to cool in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

4.  In a blender, throw in all the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.   Stir in the oats with a spoon.  Pour into the prepared pie crust.

5. Bake the pie for 1 hour, rotating once approximately 30 minutes into baking.  The pie is done when the edged have browned a bit and the center is set.  The center should be completely set but have a little give: imagine gently poking a fluffy cake.  Allow to cool fully: about 2-3 hours, or leave that guy sitting out over night to chow down on in the morning.

Miss Fats highly recommends consuming a big slice of this pie with a fresh cup of coffee.  She’s pretty sure a big dollop of full fat yogurt (or whipped cream.  She doesn’t judge early hour whipped cream consumption) would send this over the edge.  Waking up to a slice of this pie just might make you a morning person.  Watch out.

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