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I Can’t Believe It’s Banana Cream Pie

TIMES FOOD STYLIST; <i> Deane is co-author of "Simply Healthful Cakes" (Chapters Publishing: 1993; $9.95)</i>

Banana cream pie is an all-time American classic. Our low-fat version has only three grams of fat per serving. Rather than the traditional rich pastry crust, it is made with a low-fat vanilla wafer crumb crust that has no butter, After combining the crumbs and sugar, gently press the mixture into a nine-inch pie plate and bake. Let the crust cool completely before filling.

The banana custard is made with nonfat milk and egg substitute, to keep the custard filling nonfat. It is topped with an airy meringue that has no fat but exudes the feeling of abundance and decadence.

BANANA CREAM PIE

1 1/2 cups vanilla wafers, finely crushed, about 36 wafers

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Sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

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3 cups nonfat milk

1/3 cup nonfat egg substitute

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 bananas

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4 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Pat vanilla wafer crumbs firmly and evenly into bottom and sides of deep 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees 10 to 15 minutes, or until crumbs are lightly browned. Let crust cool to room temperature before filling.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt in large saucepan. Stir in milk until blended. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil until thickened and clear, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk some hot sauce into nonfat egg substitute in small bowl. Return all to saucepan, stirring just until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Slice bananas into bottom of pie plate to cover evenly. Pour over vanilla custard.

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In bowl beat egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar. Continue to beat to soft peaks. Gradually beat in 6 tablespoons sugar. Continue beating until stiff and glossy.

Spoon meringue atop hot vanilla pudding and spread to edges of crust to seal in filling. Bake at 400 degrees 5 to 7 minutes, just until meringue is browned. Let pie cool to room temperature. Chill. Makes 8 servings.

Each serving contains about:

260 calories; 219 mg sodium; 9 mg cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 51 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 0.17 gram fiber.

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