I gotta be honest: when it comes to banana desserts, I am pretty touchy.
Banana Pudding? Ew. Bananas Foster? Ummm, ok. Banana Candy? Gross. Banana Muffins? I’m game.
Mr. Allie recently put in a request for banana cream pie.
Gag. Too much. Too much thick, too much creamy, too much sweet. I have never really had a banana cream pie I could really get behind.
Until this one came into my life…
I think the whole key to this dessert is the coffee caramel. I’ve posted about caramel quite a few times on this site, (see also salted caramel candies, salted caramel sauce, and salted caramel mocha), so I trust that I’ve gotten the point across: I really like caramel.
What makes this caramel different from all the rest is the addition of coffee. Mmmmm, yeah… It’s seriously good.
You know how caramel kinda has that roasty, almost bitter note to it? And you know how coffee kinda has that roasty, almost bitter note to it?
Huh. How ’bout that…?
I just steeped the heavy cream with finely ground coffee, and strained out the grounds with cheesecloth and a fine mesh sieve, before adding it to the caramelized sugar.
I used a chocolate cookie crust (store-bought would save time, I just couldn’t find one at my grocery store), to further contrast with all the sweet, custardy filling.
Speaking of which, this pastry cream gets lightened up with the addition of whipped cream. I love how it makes that thick filling seem lighter-than-air.
So, just to recap, what we have here is:
1) Crunchy, deep, dark, chocolatey cookie crust
2) Sweet, custardy bananas
3) Roasty, toasty, coffee caramel, and
4) Fluffy, eggy lightly sweet pastry cream.
- For the Crust:
- 25 Famous Chocolate Wafer Cookies
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- For the Coffee Caramel:
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons finely ground coffee
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- For the Filling:
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ cups milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 egg yolks
- ¾ cups heavy cream
- 6 bananas, sliced
- Make the Crust: Crush the Famous Wafers to a fine powder, and stir in the melted butter. Press into the bottom of a pie dish and bake for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Make the Coffee Caramel: Place the heavy cream, butter, coffee grounds, vanilla, and salt in a small pot, and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and steep until cooled. Strain through a cheesecloth. In another pot, heat the sugar, corn syrup, and water over medium-high heat, until amber in color. Remove from heat and pour in the coffee/cream mixture. Set aside until cool.
- Make the Filling: Place the sugar, flour, and salt in a medium pot and gradually whisk in the milk and vanilla. Heat over a medium flame, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolks to gently warm them. Pour the yolks into the pot and return to the stove. Heat, stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick. Strain into a heat-safe bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and chill. Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold into the cooled pastry cream.
- Assemble the Pie: Layer the crust alternately with bananas, caramel, and pastry cream. Garnish with coffee caramel, whipped cream, chocolate vermicelli, and sliced bananas. Serve chilled.
I’m officially a convert.
PS- I got the idea to make coffee caramel here. When I saw this, I just knew right away: I had to take a crack at making my own version! However, if you are short on time, using this product could be a great shortcut! If you try it, let me know, ok?