It’s still chilly and gloomy in Texas. The forecast keeps promising sun, and it just doesn’t happen. Being from the Midwest, I’m accustomed to having plenty of gloomy winter days, but I definitely prefer the sunshine. In addition to the gloom, I also have a headache and can’t seem to get warm. It’s one of those days that you just know that your immune system is about to be taken out. BUT…there’s pie. I’m about to wrap myself in a second blanket and have a slice of this Caramel Banana Cream Pie.
This pie was dreamed up after seeing some bananas on the counter that I was fairly certain no one was going to eat. I recently made (The Best Ever) Banana Bread with some brown bananas. This time I was going to be proactive about making them into something fabulous before they got brown. I also had a jar half-full (I’m such an optimist!) of homemade salted caramel sauce in the refrigerator. A recipe began to take shape in my brain…
This pie is a flaky pastry crust filled with homemade salted caramel sauce, caramel pastry cream, and bananas. Then I topped her off with fresh whipped cream and a drizzle of salted caramel sauce. The caramel components of the pie elevate this beauty from your average banana cream pie to something truly special.
Just as I’m sure is true for all of you, many of the things that I make come about because there is some ingredient that I need/want to use up. I’ve taken to calling this phenomenon”pantry roulette.”
The word “roulette” implies that you don’t really know what’s coming. While that might not be the case with your pantry, it certainly is with mine. I will *not* be sharing a pic of my pantry, but trust me on this: you never know what you’ll come across when you really start looking. More often than not, “pantry roulette” pushes me outside my comfort zone in the spirit of using the ingredients I have on-hand. I’m rarely disappointed with the outcome, and I’m pleased as punch about this pie.
I do mention a few ‘specialty’ tools in the recipe, but neither of them are a necessity. A pastry blender isn’t necessary to cut in the shortening, but it does make the job faster and easier. If you’re looking to buy one for yourself, you can find one [here]. You need to blind-bake the crust for the pie, and pie weights help to keep the dough from rising too much as it bakes. You can buy actual pie weights if you’d like (like these [here]), but I just use black beans. They’re cheap and you can use them over and over again.
You can always use store-bought salted caramel sauce, but I like this recipe. If you have leftovers, they’re great in Salted Caramel and Chocolate Meringues! Or, just eat it with a spoon. That’s totally acceptable. 😀
While the pastry cream uses salted caramel sauce in the recipe, the end result isn’t at all salty, since I omit any additional salt in the recipe. Add salt if you want another salty component in the pie, but I was satisfied with the salted caramel beneath the pastry cream. 🙂
I used vanilla bean paste in both the pastry cream and the whipped cream. You can substitute with a vanilla bean or with vanilla extract if you like. If you’re looking to purchase vanilla bean paste and can’t find it in your local grocery store (I never can), you can find it online [here].
I’m going to go curl up on the couch with a slice of this pie. I don’t actually think that it will help my white blood cells do their thing to stop me from getting sick, but it certainly won’t hurt. (I mean, bananas are fruit, after all.) 😉
Other posts you may like:
Salted caramel sauce adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod (link here). Caramel pastry cream recipe adapted from Food Network (link here).
Caramel Banana Cream Pie
Salted Caramel Sauce (see note):
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
- 3/4 tsp fleur de sel (or sea salt)
Caramel Pastry Cream:
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/3 cup salted caramel sauce (see notes)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (see note)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced and softened
Single Pie Crust:
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 10 Tbsp vegetable shortening, cold and diced (1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- 3 Tbsp water, cold
- 2 cups heavy (whipping) cream, cold
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (see note)
- caramel pastry cream
- 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (see note)
- 2-3 bananas, sliced
- salted caramel sauce, for drizzling (if desired)
For Caramel Sauce:
- Pour sugar into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk, and keep whisking, as sugar melts. It will clump and you'll think you're doing it all wrong. You're not. 🙂
- Once sugar is melted, stop whisking and let sugar cook until it is deep amber in color. *Carefully* add butter (mixture will bubble!) and whisk to incorporate.
- Remove mixture from the heat. Add cream (carefully!) and whisk until smooth. Add salt and stir to incorporate.
For Pastry Cream:
- In a medium heatproof bowl, combine cornstarch, sugar, and egg yolks. Whisk to combine (mixture will the thick).
- In a medium saucepan, heat milk and salted caramel sauce over medium heat until caramel melts and milk begins to boil.
- Slowly pour about one cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. This will temper the eggs.
- Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan and, stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until thickened.
- Once the mixture is thick, add the vanilla bean paste (see note) and butter and stir to incorporate.
- Scrape pastry cream into a bowl and cover with plastic, pressing the plastic to the surface of the cream so it doesn't form a skin. Chill completely before using.
- Preheat oven to 375F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and vegetable shortening. Using a pastry blender (see note) or fork, cut shortening in until no large pieces remain.
- In a small bowl, combine egg, vinegar, and cold water. Whisk to combine.
- Make wells in the flour mixture, and pour the egg mixture into the wells. Stir until a soft dough is formed. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly into a ball.
- Roll dough to fit your pie plate, ensuring that you don't stretch the dough (as this may cause it to shrink when baked).
- Line the pie crust will foil and fill with pie weights (see note). Bake 20 minutes. Remove the foil and pie weights and bake an additional 5-8 minutes, or until the crust looks dry and is barely golden. Allow crust to cool completely on a wire rack.
For Whipped Cream:
- Place cold heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla bean paste (see note) in the bowl of a stand mixer. Start the mixer on low speed, and gradually increase the speed to high. Whip until the cream thickens and forms peaks.
- Spread 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce in the bottom of the baked pie crust. Top with sliced bananas, then the pastry cream. Top the pastry cream with another layer of sliced bananas.
- Spread or pipe whipped cream on top, then drizzle with additional salted caramel sauce, if desired.Enjoy!