Put the flour, shortening, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle at lowest speed just until the mixture holds together, approximately 30 seconds. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can put the ingredients in a bowl and blend with a hand mixer fitted with the blending attachments.) Add 6 tablespoons of the water, and paddle until absorbed, approximately 30 seconds.
Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes .
Lightly flour a work surface, and roll out the dough in a circle, about 14 inches in diameter and about 1/4-inch thick. Roll it up onto the rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch pie pan, unspooling it over the top. Tap the pan gently on the counter and the dough will fall into place. Put your hands at the 2 o'clock and 10 o'clock positions on the side of the pan, and rotate the pan from just under the lip to cause the excess dough to fall away. (If molded to an aluminum pie pan, the dough can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 2 months. Let thaw to room temperature before filling and baking.)
How to "Blind Bake": If you need to bake the crust with no filling, fill the pie with dry beans or rice, or set another pie pan in the well, invert, and bake on the center rack of an oven preheated to 350?F until the crust is firm and golden, approximately 25 minutes .
Have all of your ingredients measured and ready. In a deep saucepan (3 qt), bring the milk and vanilla to a simmer, turn off heat. Whisk the sugar into the eggs. Stream the cake flour into the eggs while whisking well to incorporate. Ladle approx.
cup of hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking continuously to combine well. Repeat with another ladle of hot milk.
Pour/scrape all of the egg mixture back into the saucepan of milk and return to med-low heat, whisking continuously, making to sure reach the bottom and bottom sides of the pan. Mixture will thicken within a minute, continue to whisk another 30 seconds. Whisk in the butter, lower heat and whisk until quite thick, another minute or two. Remove from heat. Chill custard well in fridge before use.
Italian Whipped Cream:
Put the cream and sugar in a bowl and whip with on high speed with a hand mixer fitted with the blending attachments. Do not over mix or you’ll end up with butter.
The cream can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Whip by hand to refresh before using.
Assembling the Pie:
Put the custard in a mixing bowl, whick to smoothen, and use a rubber spatula to fold in half the whipped cream, making a French cream.
Peel 2 of the bananas and slice them crosswise over the French cream, so the slices fall into the cream.
Transfer the banana cream to the shell, using a rubber spatula to scrape as much cream out of the bowl as possible and then to level it off in the pie. (I mounded to accommodate all of the filling.)
Transfer the remaining whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with the #7 star tip and pipe blobs of cream all over the pie. Peel the remaining banana and slice it crosswise on an angle into 8 pieces. Put the pieces in a bowl, drizzle the lemon juice over them, and gently toss to coat them with lemon juice and prevent them from oxidizing. Arrange the banana slices at even intervals around the perimeter of the pie.
If using the strawberry, position it in the center of the pie.
How to Hide Oxidized Bananas: The lemon juice in this recipe will keep the bananas from oxidizing, but for good measure (and more flavor), consider topping the pie with chocolate cake crumb processed chocolate cookies, or by grating a few ounces of semisweet chocolate over it. You can also pour warm Ganache over each banana.