Mayonnaise Fancies

The Classic "Mayonnaise Fancy"

Growing up in the 1960’s, processed food was not avoided, but encouraged, and we took advantage of its deliciousness at every chance.  In my home, a favorite sandwich ruled, one which involved only three ingredients – the Mayonnaise Fancy. While the ingredients were few, they were three very special ingredients. The assembly of the sandwich was not to be taken casually, and the accompanying beverages were key to the success of the “Fancy”.  And, of course, presentation played a major part in the simplistic perfection of this delicacy.

The “Mayonnaise Fancy” was as basic as it gets – cheap white bread, mayonnaise, and butter. That’s it. Bread, mayo, butter. The bread had to be fresher than fresh. Preferably the store “house” brand and almost gummy in texture. First the bread was cut into a desired shape with a cookie cutter (we liked stars and hearts… sometimes horses) to “seal” the edges and add style, or fanciness. No trace of crust allowed! The cut-outs were generously buttered before being spread with a thick layer of mayonnaise. Only one brand was ever used – Hellmann’s (Best Foods on the West coast) – ample amounts required. When all was finally brought  together into a sandwich – Voila! – magic on a plate.

The Mayo Fancy was generally served with ice-cold whole milk. However at holiday time, when cut into tiny shapes, with itty-bitty cookie cutters, it was magically transformed from just a sandwich,  into an elegant hors d’oeuvre – and tasted all the  better accompanied with Brut Champagne!  But then, what doesn’t?

                                                      “Viva la Fancy!”

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Banana Cream Pie w/Coconut

Banana Cream Pie w/Coconut (Woman's Day) 1965

This is an old-fashioned,  creamy and delicious recipe that requires a little work, but is well worth the effort. The first rendition was published in Woman’s Day “Encyclopedia of Cookery,” Volume 1, circa 1965.  Their version was “richened-up” a little by my grandmom. Grandmoms always seem to have a way of making good things even better! 🙂
Use either a classic short pie crust, or graham cracker,  if you prefer. Both are guaranteed delicious! (I haven’t allowed my brain to think of a chocolate crust…yet.)

Banana Cream Pie w/Coconut

1/2 cup sugar                                               6 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt                                       1  3/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup half & half                                          1 extra-large egg or 2 yolks
1 tablespoon butter                                   1/2 + teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 – 4 ripe bananas                                       1 baked 9-inch pie shell
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream             1/2 cup shredded coconut,
Confectioner’s sugar                                    sweetened and toasted

                                      

Mix sugar, flour and salt in top part of double boiler. Gradually stir in milk and half & half and cook over boiling water until thickened. Stir continually. (A whisk makes it easier.)

Cover and allow to cook for 10 min. Stir occasionally.

In separate bowl, beat egg and slowly add a small amount of heated milk mixture to temper egg and avoid separation;  then gradually whisk egg – milk mix into double boiler and cook for 3 – 4  minutes over hot, not boiling, water, stirring constantly. This should render a thick, smooth pudding.
 
Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla; allow to cool slightly –  to about room temperature.

Slice 2 – 3 bananas evenly into baked shell. Make sure your bananas are perfectly ripe, yet firm. Pour cooked pudding mixture over bananas, all  at once. Chill for 1+ hours – until completely firm.
 
Spread coconut on baking sheet and toast in 350 degree oven for approx. 10 minutes or until lightly browned. (Be sure  to check frequently!) Stir from time to time. Remove when golden brown.

Just before serving, whip whipping cream. Add confectioner’s sugar and vanilla to taste.  Spread a thick a layer of freshly whipped cream over chilled pie – covering pudding to the edges, evenly. Peel remaining banana and slice into rounds. Arrange slices attractively all around the edge/crust. Sprinkle toasted coconut generously in center of pie, and lightly on plates before presentation. I like placing a few pieces of banana on the plate as well. The more the merrier!  Makes 6-8 servings…sometimes.

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