Sunday, December 5, 2010

Salty Caramel Banana Pie

If you’re a fan of bananas (and even if you’re not!), you seriously need to try Ann Thornon’s Banana Pudding Pie.  It takes a bit of up front work, but the homemade elements are to die for.  Definitely worth the work.  I’d suggest making the night before you plan to serve so you have time for the rest of your dinner prep the day of.

Reminders: start w/ good ingredients (ripe bananas, good quality vanilla bean, real extracts, etc…)

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Take you’re time.  The pudding and caramel take lots of patience.  Remember – it will be worth it!!

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Give it love and make it look pretty… then dig in and ENJOY  Smile

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Ingredients

  • 1 box vanilla wafers (65 cookies)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 1 cup salted caramel, plus more for garnish (1 cup caramel, plus 1 teaspoon fleur de sel) – recipe follows
  • Vanilla Pudding - recipe follows
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Put 45 vanilla wafers in a food processor and pulse until the cookies are finely crushed. Reserve 1/2 cup to top the pie. Stir together crushed vanilla wafers and butter in a small bowl until blended. Firmly press it into the bottom, up the sides, and onto the lip of a greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove to a wire rack, and let cool until completely cool, about 30 minutes.

Coat the banana slices with salted caramel. Arrange some banana slices evenly over the bottom of the crust. Spread half of the hot, prepared Vanilla Pudding over the bananas, top with vanilla wafers, and more caramel-coated bananas. Spread the remaining filling over the vanilla wafers, and caramel-coated bananas.

In a large bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Add the almond extract, and sugar and beat until peaks form. Make sure not to overbeat, or the cream will become lumpy, and butter-like. Spread the cream over the pies. At service, garnish with a caramel swirl, and the reserved vanilla wafer crumbs.

Vanilla Pudding:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean

In a bowl whisk together the sugar and flour until all of the lumps are gone. Once it is a fine powder, whisk in the eggs, and egg yolks, and continue whisking until a smooth paste is formed. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of milk, and once this is incorporated add the remaining cup of milk. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan, and cook over medium heat whisking constantly, until it reaches the thickness of chilled pudding, about 10 to 15 minutes. (Mixture will just begin to bubble and will be thick enough to hold soft peaks when the whisk is lifted.) Remove from the heat, and stir in vanilla.

Salty Caramel:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Directions

Over low heat, mix the water, and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 to 10 minutes. Do not stir. Increase the heat to medium and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a warm chestnut brown (about 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer), about 5 to 7 minutes, gently swirling the pan to stir the mixture. Be careful - the mixture is extremely hot!

Watch the mixture very carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly. Turn off the heat, and stand back to avoid splattering. Slowly add the cream. Don't panic - the cream will bubble violently, and the caramel will solidify.

Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. It will thicken as it sits.

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