January 4, 2009

Pies With That- Caramel Chocolate Banana Cream Pie

Happy new year everyone! I'm always shocked at how long it takes me to write the date properly after the year changes. I'm betting it will be at least March or April now, since I don't have to write the date on important documents all day long at home with my toddler. Besides, with a pie like this, there are more important things on my mind! This month's Pies with That theme, from Nic and Carrie, is "Resolution Breakers"- pies to make you forget about the scale (which too many of us did all December long!)

For my resolution breaking pie, I started with a no-fail pie crust, poured in a layer of caramel, added bananas, pastry cream, more bananas, more pastry cream, chopped milk chocolate, a drizzle of caramel, some whipped cream, and some more caramel and chocolate. Whew! With all those layers, I'm feeling guilty already. At least the bananas are healthy! And fortunately, this pie was shared with a crowd. It's all gone now and it's back to the treadmill. My husband and I have been talking about our goals for the year and I told him I was thinking about going vegetarian for a while. I think he'd die so we'll see. So speaking of your resolutions, what are yours? Less pie I'm guessing! Either way, I hope it's a safe and happy new year.

Banana Cream Pie
from Baking by Dorie Greenspan

Too turn this pie into a caramelly, decadent treat, make caramel using a can of sweetened consensed milk (I just opened mine and cooked it over a double boiler on low for a few hours, or try boiling the can at your own risk!), chop up a few ounces of chocolate, and top with sweetened whipped cream. Chocolate syrup would be the perfect addition, too!

For the Custard:
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cups (packed) light brown sugar, pressed through a sieve
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (a little more)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (a little less)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits

3 ripe but firm bananas

1 9-inch single crust made with Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough, fully baked and cooled (or my no fail pie crust)

Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.

Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk-- this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are full incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. You can either press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold or, if you want to cool it quickly--as I always do--put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water, and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes. (If it's more convenient, you can refrigerate the custard, tightly covered, for up to 3 days).

When you are ready to assemble the pie, peel the bananas and cut them on a shallow diagonal into 1/4 inch slices.

Whisk the cold custard vigorously to loosen it, and spread about one quarter of it over the bottom of the pie crust- it will be a thin layer. Top with half of the banana slices. Repeat, adding a thin layer of pastry cream and the remaining bananas, then smooth the rest of the pastry cream over the last layer of bananas.

To make the topping:
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream until it just starts to thicken. Beat in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until the cream holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently fold in the sour cream.

To finish:
Spoon the whipped cream over the filling and spread it evenly to the edges of the custard. Serve, or refrigerate until needed.


  1. I'd break my resolution for that! Except it has bananas in it, so it must be good for me right?

  2. Oh my...That looks scrumptious! I wonder how it would taste if I used Dulce de Leche for the Caramel.

  3. I am a sucker for banana cream pie anyways but add the caramel and chocolate...wow! I bet this tastes heavenly!

  4. Anne, that looks absolutely wonderful!
    I really, really want to try some. :)
    Sorry I missed the deadline this month, I will play along with you next month!

  5. This looks so delicious! I think I would eat the whole thing right now if it was in front of me! Great job!

  6. Now that is a dangerous pie! All those layers of goodness can tempt me anytime.

  7. Sooo yummy! What resolution?! I want a slice of that!

  8. I love your "resolution breaking" comment. Your pie looks amazing as always.