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banana banana!

Recipe: bourbon caramel chocolate banana cream pie

Well wow. We have had so much snow lately that I started getting picky about the powder reports. “Oh, just 7 inches of fresh powder this morning?” Crested Butte has received 7 FEET of snow in the past two weeks. Needless to say, we’ve been skiing powder and more powder.

evening ski touring before dinner

ski touring among giant trees (the little green dot at the bottom is jeremy)

ski touring beautiful terrain

quad burns and tele turns on the mountain

This being Colorado, we also have our share of sunshine. After a morning of getting pounded with 2 inch/hour snowfall (and epic skiing – face shots!), the sun came out to play. There is a good bit of snow piled up outside our place. Jeremy has had to dig out a little area for Kaweah to go potty in the yard. It now has walls of snow 3-8 feet high, which is kinda nice because it means she doesn’t wander off.

kaweah for scale in the driveway

jeremy has to chuck the snow quite high

Despite the cold weather, Kaweah enjoys a daily scoop of her banana pupsicle. It’s just frozen bananas. I make a habit of collecting ripe or overripe bananas at the grocery store and blitzing the frozen chopped up bananas for her every few weeks. But right before we came out to Crested Butte, I decided to commandeer a few of those bananas for the two-legged critters in the house. I wanted to make banana cream pie.

pie crust: butter, flour, salt, confectioner’s sugar, cream, cider vinegar, chocolate

pulse the butter into the dry ingredients

add the cream and vinegar mixture

pulse together until just moistened

wrap and chill

It wasn’t just any old banana cream pie. I liked the idea of drizzling salted bourbon caramel over the whole thing. And because I was wary of pastry cream turning pie crust into mush, I decided to line the pie crust with a layer of dark chocolate – to keep the crust crisp!

roll the dough out

line the pie plate, chill, then prick the bottom with a fork

line with foil, fill with pie weights (or dried beans) and blind bake

brush melted chocolate on the baked crust

I used a pie crust from a different recipe and it was fine. While I wasn’t unhappy with this one, I wasn’t overly impressed either. If you happen to have a favorite tried and true pie crust recipe, consider using that. And you can make your pie crust a day or two ahead of time (which I did) because there are several components to this pie.

pastry cream: egg yolks, butter, vanilla, corn starch, salt, sugar, cream, milk (not pictured: flour)

heat the cream and milk in a medium saucepan

whisk the sugar, cornstarch, flour, and salt together

whisk the egg yolks into the dry mixture

The pastry cream is another make-ahead part of the recipe that can be stored in the refrigerator for up to several days. I made mine a day ahead, giving it enough time in the refrigerator to chill all the way through. Just take care that you don’t make a runny pastry cream. Make sure it thickens on the stove (it only takes a few minutes) or else you’ll end up with banana cream soup in a pie crust. When you cover the pastry cream, let the plastic come into contact with the entire surface to avoid developing a skin in the refrigerator.

temper the egg mixture with hot cream and milk

return it to the saucepan

when the pastry cream has thickened, whisk in the butter

and the vanilla

cover and refrigerate

Come to think of it, the salted bourbon caramel sauce can also be made ahead. I used mine fresh, but the leftover sauce reheated easily enough (5 or 10 seconds in the microwave) and it was still delicious. I find bourbon and caramel to be a lovely pair and it makes banana cream pie into something a little more adult, a little more exciting. This recipe makes a small amount of caramel and I had difficulty getting my sugar to dissolve (which means it will brick before it caramelizes), so I added a little more water to help it dissolve. It’s totally fine to do this, you just spend a little extra time boiling the excess water off.

butter, vanilla, salt, sugar, corn syrup, water, cream, bourbon

combine the water, sugar, corn syrup, and a tablespoon of bourbon

in another saucepan, heat the cream, butter, and salt

when the sugar caramelizes, whisk in the hot cream and butter mixture (it will bubble up!)

stir in the bourbon and vanilla

Okay! Let’s say you’ve got those three components ready either ahead of time or the day of: chocolate-lined pie crust, vanilla pastry cream, and the salted bourbon caramel. All that is left are the bananas and the whipped cream. These two things should be prepared right before assembly.

bananas, confectioner’s sugar, cream

slice the bananas

layer some pastry cream on the crust

alternate pastry cream with banana slices

When the banana and pastry cream are in place, whip the heavy cream. Medium-stiff peaks is a good consistency because it piles nicely without collapsing under its own weight and it holds a nice shape without being too stiff and breaking. I usually let my stand mixer whip the cream to medium peaks and then holding the balloon whisk attachment in my hand, hand-whisk the cream to the consistency I want.

whipped to medium-stiff peaks

pile the whipped cream in the center and drizzle the caramel over the top

It would have been nice to show you a slice of the pie, except it was a big gooey blob at the time. It did benefit from several hours in the refrigerator and firmed up a bit, but I sent the pie (minus a slice or two) to my neighbors. Their daughter had her wisdom teeth removed and could only eat soft things. She needed the calories (lord knows, I didn’t need them!) and this was a nice change from blender food for her. But how was it? It was AWESOME. My neighbors enjoyed it, I loved it. Jeremy, who doesn’t have a good relationship with bananas, loved it. That caramel sauce really makes it and the hint of dark chocolate was a nice touch too.

indulgence with some fruit for good measure

Bourbon Caramel Chocolate Banana Cream Pie
[print recipe]
from Bon Appétit and crust from Food and Wine

pie crust lined with chocolate
vanilla pastry cream
3-4 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsps confectioner’s sugar
salted bourbon caramel

pie crust lined with chocolate
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsps confectioner’s sugar
1/8 tsp salt
4 oz. unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp cider vinegar
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

vanilla pastry cream
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsps cornstarch
2 tbsps all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
5 egg yolks
2 oz. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tsp vanilla extract

salted bourbon caramel
3 tbsps unsalted butter
1/4 cup cream
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsps bourbon, divided
1/2 tsp corn syrup
1 tbsp water
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Make the crust: Pulse the flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt together in a food processor until blended. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture resembles small peas. Stir the heavy cream and cider vinegar together in a small bowl or vessel (it will thicken) and pour over the crumbs in the food processor. Pulse until moistened. Pour the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 2-3 times until it just comes together. Shape the disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll the dough out on a floured surface until it is 1/8-inch thick and 12 inches in diameter. Fit it to your pie plate and crimp the edges. Refrigerate the pie plate with the pastry for 15 minutes or until chilled.

Preheat the oven to 400°F and prick the pie dough all over the bottom with a fork. Line the pastry with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 25 minutes or until set. Remove the pie weights and foil. Bake another 8 minutes until golden (press down any air bubbles). Melt the chocolate on half power in the microwave or over a double boiler. Take the pie crust out of the oven and brush the chocolate over the bottom and sides of the pie crust to form a thin, but solid layer. Let cool.

Make the pastry cream: Heat the milk and cream in a medium saucepan until the liquid begins to simmer. Turn off the heat. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, flour and kosher salt together. Whisk the egg yolks in until smooth (it’s quite thick). Whisk a little of the hot milk-cream into the egg yolks mixture, adding a little more at a time until half of the hot liquid has been added to the egg yolks. Pour the mixture back into the pan with the rest of the hot milk-cream and whisk constantly over medium-low heat. It should thicken in a few minutes. When the pastry cream is thick, remove from heat and whisk the butter and vanilla extract in until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is in contact with the surface of the pastry cream (to avoid developing a skin) and chill.

Make the salted bourbon caramel: In a small saucepan heat the butter, cream, and salt together over medium heat until it begins to boil. Cover and turn off the heat. Stir the sugar, 1 tbsp of bourbon, corn syrup, and water together in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves (it must dissolve or you will brick the whole thing). If the sugar doesn’t seem to dissolve, add a little more water and stir/heat it until it dissolves (which is what I did – it’s fine, the excess water will boil off). Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil without stirring or disrupting the sugar. If crystals form on the edge of the pan, use a wet pastry brush to brush down the sides. Let it boil until the sugar turns deep amber (about 6-8 minutes). Whisk the heated butter-cream mixture into the hot sugar. It should bubble up to 2 or 3 times the volume, but keep whisking until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining tablespoon of bourbon and the vanilla extract. Let cool.

Assemble the pie: Whip the heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar together until medium-stiff peaks form. Try not to overwhip the cream. Spread 1/4 cup of the pastry cream on the bottom of the pie crust. Arrange a single layer of banana slices over the pastry cream. Pour half of the remaining pastry cream over the banana slices. Spread evenly. Arrange another single layer of banana slices over the pastry cream. Spread the rest of the pastry cream over the banana slices. If you have some banana slices left, make a small circle of slices in the center of the pastry cream. Pile the whipped cream in the center of the pie. Drizzle with salted bourbon caramel and reserve the rest of the caramel on the side. Serves 6-8.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

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23 nibbles at “banana banana!”

  1. juneberry says:

    This looks like a challenging (for me – I prefer to expend energy in savory meals, and do quick things or nothing for dessert) that I might just try for Valentine’s. I’m not big on celebrating it, but a “hey – look at this intricate thing I made for you!” would be nice. Or perhaps modifying it to be a coconut cream, my favorite!

  2. Kristin says:

    Oh that looks delicious! I love the idea of the chocolate on the crust (we do that now on our fudge bottom pie, under the fudge layer) and bourbon caramel??? Yum! My friends probably think we’re lushes because of the huge bottle of bourbon in the cupboard, but it’s almost all used for desserts and the occasional hot toddy when we have sore throats.

  3. Stephen Andrew says:

    Oh my god. This looks magnificent.

  4. Kao S. says:

    Have you tried the Cook’s Illustrated vodka pie crust? Very forgiving and easy to work with. You should look it up and give it a try!

  5. Rosa says:

    Terrific! I’m bookmarking that recipe.



  6. Jean says:

    Looks delicious. What a good neighbor you are.

  7. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    This pie? I just found my happy place.

  8. Abbe@This is How I Cook says:

    Yes. Most definitely, yes!

  9. Jeanne Kane says:

    All that work, oh my. I’ll never do it. But, as for pie crust, I add a tsp of baking powder and it makes a big diffrence. They always turn out. I tried the vodka recipe recently and I’m not sure it made any difference. xoxo Jeanne

  10. Broken Nose Vanilla says:

    What a name for a pie! and my, what a pie! Great idea – we live where 90% of Australia’s bananas are produced so always looking for a tasty new recipe. Thanks, Jen, for another inspiration. Fiona

  11. Nan says:

    All I can say is YUM! Bananas, carmel, custard. YUM. Could do without the chocolate liner, by necessity — not by choice I assure you. BCP is my absolute favorite desert, bar none. Yup… YUM!!

  12. Dina says:

    it looks amazing!

  13. Abbie @ Needs Salt says:

    Everything about this pie is just gorgeous! I love it. Pinning!

  14. angelitakarmalita says:

    I want to put salted bourbon caramel on everything….. oh my.

    We got a couple of feet out here in NOVA, funny, when I spoke to my mom this morning, she and her neighbors had to make a path and “clearing” for her little puppy too! it’d be easy to lose a little maltese in all of this snow! thank goodness for her bright pink sweater….

  15. Alanna says:

    Oh my goodness yes! This pie is my dream come true – thank you for sharing the recipe. I want to make it right away! Beautiful photos, as always.

  16. farmerpam says:

    omg, omg! What ass reduction plan, I want a piece of that pie, now. And the snow! Us east coast butterlings are finally getting dumped on. Hoping for a paltry 12 inches, maybe, maybe, 18 to 24. Bring it, I say! Loving, loving those snow pictures, please keep them coming.

  17. Becky says:

    Wow!!! I am craving a piece of this pie!!! Happy Valentine’s Day, Jen!

  18. Tracy | Pale Yellow says:

    Bourbon and caramel are a delightful addition to a classic banana cream pie! This looks amazing!

  19. jenyu says:

    Kristin – I too love bourbon in desserts!

    Kao – I haven’t, but maybe I will the next time I attempt a pie :)

    Jeanne – thanks for the tip!

    angelitakarmalita – I think half the reason snow is so fun is watching how pups react to it.

  20. shafeeza says:

    what can i put to subtitude bourbon in this recipe?

  21. jenyu says:

    shafeeza – you can omit it or sub in vanilla extract instead.

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