This came about simply because I wanted to try out a Nilla Wafer crust and also had a couple of bananas to spare that weren’t overripe. You want to use bananas that are just ripe, the kind you would normally eat as is, and not the kind of overripe bananas you would use for banana bread.
You can probably use a traditional pie pan for this, although I wouldn’t use a deep dish one or one that is a diameter beyond 9 inches. You can also substitute any dulce de leche or even other caramel sauces if you’d like. I like this version of dulce de leche because it’s fairly easy to make in the oven, and seems safer than boiling an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk on a stove top!
banana cream pie
3/4 cups fine vanilla wafer crumbs, about 18 cookies
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2.5 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon gelatin
1 and 1/2 cups milk
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large bananas, sliced
1 cup (8 ounce) heavy whipping cream, divided use
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, divided use
If baking the sweetened condensed milk yourself to make dulce de leche:
Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Open one 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk and scrap it into a pie pan. Wrap the pie pan in an extremely large piece of aluminum foil that goes up the sides and meets at the top. It doesn’t have to be completely sealed, but just pinched together at the top to make sure that no water gets into the condensed milk.
Place this pie pan wrapped in foil into a larger pan and make a hot water bath by filling with hot water until it goes up halfway on the sides of the pie pan in the larger pan.
Place this in the center rack of the oven and bake for about 1.5 hours, adding more hot water as needed at halftime.
When desired brownness of the condensed milk has been reached, remove from the oven and water bath and let cool before using.
To make the crust:
Line a 6” springform pan with parchment paper at the bottom.
Into a food processor, add about 22 individual Nilla wafer cookies with softened butter and sugar and pulse on high several times until cookies are all small crumbs and start to clump up with the butter. Transfer to the pan and press down to bottom, allowing it to go up the sides about an inch.
Bake the crust in the center of the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool before filling.
To make the custard filling:
In a medium bowl add the cornstarch and the gelatin and whisk to combine. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan add the milk, egg yolks, maple syrup and salt, and whisk together, then sprinkle the cornstarch and gelatin mixture over the surface and whisk it again to make sure there are no clumps.
Heat over medium heat, stirring continuously for about 10 minutes. Once it starts to thicken and bubble, continue to stir and cook on the heat for another minute to ensure that the cornstarch is cooked. Remove from heat and place a plastic wrap over the top to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside to cool somewhat before using.
Spread about half of the cooled dulce de leche evenly over the bottom of the cooled crust. Reheat the dulce de leche if it has cooled too much to make it easier to spread using a microwave in short increments. Reserve the remaining dulce de leche for topping later.
Add a single layer of sliced bananas over the dulce de leche using about 1 large banana sliced a little thinner than ½ inch.
Transfer all of the custard filling over the banana layer and level and place in a refrigerator for at least 2 hours until the filling has cooled and solidified.
To complete, whip up about 3/4 cup of the whipping cream with about 1 Tablespoon of confectioners sugar using a whisk or handheld electric beaters until stiff peaks form. Reserve about 2 or 3 Tablespoons of the remaining cream for the dulce de leche sauce when serving.
Use a piping bag with a star tip if desired to pipe whipped cream rosettes over the pie.
Slice another large banana and use as topping, arranged over the piped whipped cream.
Add a few of the remaining Tablespoons of whipping cream to the remaining reserved dulce de leche, stirring with a whisk and heating briefly in the microwave if needed to get it more pourable and spreadable before using as a topping for when serving individual slices of pie.
By the way, I’ve recently started painting again! I’ve had a couple of starts in stops in my adult life, but for some reason, I seem to be more obsessed with it this time. (We’ll see how long this “phase” lasts!) I’ve been using acrylic paint but instead of buying canvass or paper, I just decided to start painting a few of the wood panels that I bought over the years that I use for faux tabletops for flat lays or as backgrounds. I really like the sturdiness of the wood, but I’m still trying to figure out how best to store or hang them.
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