My love of baking was undoubtedly a gift from my mother among very many others that have sustained me, not only throughout my lifetime, but also throughout my business career.
This Double Banana Caramel Cream Pie would have pleased her immensely. My mother was a fantastic cook and baker. To support us while my father returned to college for his second degree, we had 16 people for dinner at our house every night during the week and two teachers lived with us. Mother cooked all of those meals without help and on Sunday she pulled out all the stops for her family. She was an amazing woman!
My favorite desserts were anything with custard, pudding or pastry cream as a component. Mother was an interesting combination of scratch cooking (I ate croissants at every important occasion, including holidays, before anyone in the states ever heard of them) and little shortcuts she learned along the way. One of her shortcuts was combining Jello vanilla pudding mix which she made reducing the amount of milk slightly and combining it with whipped cream. This was one of my favorites. She would use it in cream puffs, banana cream pie and all manner of desserts calling for pastry cream. I loved every one of them.
This Double Banana Caramel Cream Pie is an expanded version of one of her specialties. It features a flaky pie crust, pastry cream lightened with whipped cream, a layer of caramel and two layers of bananas. While I chose to flavor my pastry cream with dark rum, this may be omitted if desired. For those of you who love the banana/chocolate combination you could substitute a chocolate ganache such as the one used in the L'Opera Petit Fours for the caramel making it a Double Banana Chocolate Cream Pie. Then again if you're craving a banana cream pie without the accouterments, then omit the caramel and there you have it - but twice as good.
The 9" Pyrex glass pie plate is my favorite and is the most inexpensive there is. I think I paid $2.79 for it at Walmart just a few months ago. I like it because I can see if the bottom is browning. If it isn't, I move it to the bottom rack of the oven to finish baking.
The beauty of this banana cream pie is that all the parts need to be made ahead and just assembled in the freshly baked and cooled pie crust. The pie crust can be made and frozen, but not baked. Bake just before using. The caramel and pastry cream, without the whipped cream added to it, can be made days ahead and held in the refrigerator.
The entire Double Banana Caramel Cream Pie need be assembled and refrigerated very early in the day it is to be served or the day before serving . Store any leftover pie in the refrigerator.
Caramel - using the ingredients listed below, click here for how to photo's. Be sure to watch the temperature closely as if it goes above 230°F, it will be too hard to cut and eat when cold.½ cup cold water
¾ cup sugar (150 grams or 5 ⅓ ounces)
1 tablespoon corn syrup
3 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter (52 grams or about 1 ¾ ounces)
½ cup 40% cream, hot
½ teaspoon vanilla
Place the water, sugar and the corn syrup in a 2-quart saucepan. Stir over heat until the sugar is dissolved completely. Bring to a boil; wash sides of pan down with a natural bristle pastry brush dipped in cold water, then boil without stirring until the mixture becomes a medium golden color. Off heat, immediately add the butter and stir until it is melted. Combine the cream and vanilla then stir in all at once. If some of the cream lumps up don’t worry. Return to medium high heat and bring to a boil. Boil to 230 degrees on a candy thermometer. Pour into a bowl. Do not stir at this point as it can become granular if you do. Allow it to come to room temperature. Refrigerate for longer storage.
Yield: ¾ cup
Pastry Cream - using the ingredients listed below, click here for how to photo's1 ½ teaspoons gelatin
1 tablespoon water
1 ½ cups milk
6 egg yolks
¾ sugar (150 grams or 5 ⅓ ounces)
⅓ cup flour (40 grams or about 1 ½ ounces)
3 tablespoons dark rum or water
Soften the gelatin in the water and set aside.
Heat the milk until hot but not boiling.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a non-reactive saucepan. Whisk in the flour. Add the milk slowly, whisking well and scraping corners of pan with a rubber spatula to make sure all of the egg yolk mixture is incorporated. Place over medium heat and, stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla. Tear the gelatin into small pieces and stir it into the pastry cream. There is no need to liquefy it, the heat of the mixture will do this for you. Pour into a storage container, cover the surface with plastic wrap, poke a few holes in it and refrigerate overnight to chill.
9" Fully Baked Pie Crust - click here for recipe and how to photos
¾ cup 40% or heavy cream
Completely baked 9" pie shell
3 Bananas ripe but firm and not brown inside
Whip the cream to medium stiff peaks.
Stir the pasty cream to loosen it. Fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream. Set aside.
Soften the caramel briefly in the microwave if chilled. Spread the caramel in the bottom of the shell. Slice the bananas about ¼ inch thick.
Press bananas into the caramel in a single layer.
Cover the bananas with half of the pastry cream, spreading it to the edge.Cover the pastry cream with the remaining bananas in a single layer.
Place the remaining pastry cream into a pastry bag fitted with a #8 or #9 open star and pipe the pastry cream on top of the bananas. Alternately spread it on top to finish the pie.If making ahead of time, cover loosely with film and refrigerate. Room temperature for about 1 hour if made ahead of time.
Store in the refrigerator.
Alanna Kellogg says
Aha -- one of my own readers suggested using vanilla pudding mix to stabilize whipped cream, I found the box in the pantry the other day and wondered, What in heck is this here for? Thanks for the reminder! :-)
Also - I heard on the America’s Test Kitchen podcast the other day that you can avoid soggy crusts (as I recall, they were specific about fruit pies) by preheating a baking sheet first for some while (30 minutes?) and then putting the pie plate on it. I admit that I’ve tossed all my Pyrex: too many stories of it exploding and sending shards all over, especially new Pyrex.
As usual, I must be woefully behind. Have not heard any stories about the pyrex pie pans. In fact America's Test Kitchen recommends them. They did an equipment segment on pie plates recently and voted the same one I use as best. I was really surprised. Who knows - I love the internet but there is so much stuff on it. Just bought new ones and they seem fine. I have used them for years even putting them into the oven from the refrigerator - which I might stop doing in lieu of what you said.
Alanna Kellogg says
Hmmmm ... in light of fairness, this is the current “state of info” re exploding Pyrex http://www.snopes.com/food/warnings/pyrex.asp but I’ve come across enough anecdotal evidence from bloggers I trust that I did indeed clear out all the Pyrex in my kitchen. But I don’t want to be a fear monger-er so will try to correct my statement!
PS I didn’t say -- gorgeous pie, my dad would be in heaven right now.
Thanks for sending the link. Having read the article all the way through, there are reports of problems but no conclusive proof that the one glass is substantially better than the other. I would like to see stats stating how many were sold in the last 10 years and how many problems have been reported. I have used them for 45 to 50 years now and haven't had a problem. I will say, sudden changes of temperature can affect a lot of glass so I am sure I will stop that.
Oh my! My dad will love this. I must find an excuse to make this pie. Thanks Hele for what I am certain is a delicious pie.
If he loves bananas, he sure to love you for making this for him. Enjoy!
Kimberly Richards says
Hummm, I just happen to have some pastry cream in the frig, I was going to make some eclairs but this just really tickled my fancy....Thank-you Helen!
Aren't you the lucky one Kim - half way there already!
I'm really confused by the Pastry Cream portion of this recipe. I'm unsure, but your directions, if you're referring to powered gelatin, such as Knox brand, or if you're referring to Gelatin Sheets. Your ingredient list reads "1 1/2 teaspoons gelatin" which I assume is powdered. Your directions, how ever specify something different:
"Tear the gelatin into small pieces and stir it into the pastry cream. There is no need to liquefy it, the heat of the mixture will do this for you."
Are your directions referring to sheets???
Hi Hannah: Sorry for you confusion. It is definitely powdered gelatin. The first line of the pastry cream article reads, "Soften the gelatin in the water and set aside." If you have used powdered gelatin you know it has to be softened in water. When it is completely softened, it forms a rubbery mass. Further down in the recipe it states, "Tear the gelatin into small pieces and stir it into the pastry cream. It is that rubbery mass you tear into pieces and add directly to the hot liquid. The next sentence tells you, "There is no need to liquefy it, the heat of the mixture will do this for you." You never heat gelatin sheets but, unless the liquid is hot, you have to liquify powdered gelatin before adding it to a recipe.
Gelatin sheets are generally specified in recipes. I assume, especially in the states and in consumer, not professional recipes such as these, powdered gelatin is used. With four strengths of gelatin sheets, and a much different way of preparing them to add to something, they are generally used in professional pastry kitchens.
If you follow the link given at the beginning of the pastry cream recipe it will lead you to http://europeantarts.com/2012/08/05/pastry-cream/. There you will find a picture tutorial of the pastry cream and you can see the gelatin softening as well as it being added to the pastry cream.
I hope this helps and clears up any confusion.
ellen graves says
Oh, this just sounds so delicious! I've kept baking to a minimum recently but this really tempts me...The pastry cream sounds a bit like 'crème chibouste' except I think that is beaten egg white, not whipped cream. Anyway, can't wait to try it.
Hi Ellen: You are correct - pastry cream lightened with meringue is a ‘crème chibouste’. Another version of a building block of pastry.
I love this recipe Helen!!! Rum and pastry cream is to die for. I have tried similar recipe of yours in the past and it was a winner. If I am not mistaken, I think, it was with praline pecans. Many thanx for sharing.
Hi Manisha: Yes, I know the recipe you are referring to. I taught this one in a class and it is a quicker version of the individual tarts utilizing a different crust.