Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Banana Cream Pie with Salty Bourbon Caramel for Pi Day

Whew, that's a mouth full!  Can you say that 5 times fast? 

Well, today is National Pi day, not to be confused with national pie day that takes place in December.  And, I actually remembered this year!  Every year I have the very best intentions to participate and I always forget.  Well, I forget until I open up my feed reader and see pies.  Pies, pies everywhere.  Everywhere I turn I see pies and I then realize that another Pi day has come and gone and I didn't particpate, again.  Well, this year is different, I actually remembered!  Honestly, I'm pretty sure the only reason I remembered was because after missing last year's I marked it on my calendar.  Yes, I'm serious.  I honestly marked it on my calendar.  I know, I have problems!   
If you're still unsure as to what I am talking about, let me clarify.  Today is March 14, 3/14, which is also known as national Pi Day.  I'm sure you remember learning hearing something about Pi in high school.  If those days are far behind you here is a little refresher.  Pi (TT) which is the Greek letter that stands for the relationship of a circle's diameter and circumference.  Pi, which starts with 3.14 (which bridges the connection to March 14) then continues infinitely without repeating.  Mathematicians everywhere celebrate this beloved day, as well as Albert Einstein's birthday.  And what better way to celebrate a special day and birthday than a slice (or whole) pie?  Want to read more about this special day? Here are a couple of links to feed your brain: holiday insights or Pi Day

Okay, enough of the history/math lesson, lets talk about this pie.  The delicious, decadent, sweet and salty pie.  This pie starts out with a crust that is far from traditional; a peanut butter shortbread crust with homemade peanut butter.  The crust alone is delicious and I could honestly enjoy it by itself.  In Spencer's words; it's a giant peanut butter cookie, and it is but it's so much better than any peanut butter cookie I've had.  Then a thin layer of rich, yet light vanilla pastry cream is spread over the crust.  That cream is then topped with a hefty layer of freshly sliced bananas.  The layering process continues with another layer of pastry cream, followed by more fresh bananas, then more pastry cream.  All of that is topped off with fresh whipped cream, chopped peanuts and if that isn't enough then a hefty drizzle of salty, boozy caramel tops the whole things.  If that doesn't sound like a slice (no pun intended...haha) of heave, I don't know what does.
I've never had banana cream pie before, and although this was a little more of a process than other recipes I found it was so worth it.  I definitely chose the perfect recipe to introduce this dessert to not only myself, but Spencer as well.  I have found a few other variations of this recipe that I'm dying to try, but I have no doubt this will be "the one" we go to time after time.  If you're looking for a sweet and salty pie, that is cool, light and full of flavor this is it.  I promise this will be a show stopping dessert that is perfect for any occasion.  
Banana Cream Pie with Salty Bourbon Caramel

Peanut shortbread crust:
1 1/4 Cups lightly salted, dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 Cup flour
1/4 Tsp baking soda
1/4 Cup packed, brown sugar
1/4 Cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Large egg yolk
1/4 Tsp vanilla extract

Vanilla pastry cream:
1 3/4 Cups milk (I used 2%)
1 Cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 Cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 Tsp Kosher salt
5 Large egg yolks
1/4 Cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 Tsp vanilla extract

Fresh whipped cream:
1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Salty bourbon caramel:
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp bourbon, divided
1/2 Tsp corn syrup
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 Tsp Kosher salt
3/4 Tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp water

Additional ingredients:
3-4 Ripe bananas


Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9 inch (deep dish) pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.

For the crust:
Place peanuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground.  Remove 1/8 cup of the peanuts and set aside.  Pulse the remaining peanuts until peanut butter forms; about 2 minutes.

Place the flour and baking soda in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.  Meanwhile, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter and peanut butter in a bowl of a mixer and beat on medium-high until combined (should resemble wet sand), about 2-3 minutes.  Add the egg yolk and vanilla and mix, scraping down the bowl occasionally, until well mixed, about 3 minutes.  Gradually add the dry ingredients and beat until incorporated, do not overmix.

Remove bowl from mixer and gather dough and place in the pie dish. Using hands, spread dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate.  Place in oven and bake for 15-17 minutes, until the middle is set and sides are golden brown.  Remove from oven and all to cool.

For the pastry cream:
Place milk and cream in a heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer, then remove from  heat.  Place the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and flour in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Add the egg yolks to the sugar mixture and whisk to combine.  While whisking continuously, slowly pour 1/2 cup of the milk mixture into the egg mixture to temper the eggs.  Slowly pour the egg mixture back into the milk mixture while whisking continuously and return mixture back to low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla and whisk vigorously for 1-2 minutes.  Transfer mixture to a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap.  Place in the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least 2 hours.

For the whipping cream:
Place the heavy cream and powdered sugar in a bowl and mix on high until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.

For the salty bourbon caramel:
Combine sugar, 1 tablespoon bourbon, corn syrup, and water in a medium saucepan and place over medium-low heat and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat and bring mixture to a boil without stirring.  Cook, occasionally swirling the pan and brushing down sides with a pastry brush that has been dipped in water to remove sugar crystals from the side of the pan.  Cook until the sugar mixture is a deep amber color, about 6-8 minutes.

Remove from heat and very carefully pour in the heavy cream, butter and salt and mix to combine.  (The mixture will bubble up violently, use caution) Let cool for 5 minutes then add remaining bourbon and vanilla.  Allow to cool slightly.  As the caramel cools it will thicken.  

To assemble:
Slice bananas into 1/4 inch slices, set aside.  Place 1/4 cup pastry cream in the pie shell and spread evenly.  Place half of the banana slices evenly over the pastry cream. Spread another 1 1/2 cups pastry cream over the banana slices, top with remaining banana slices and the remaining pastry cream.  Top the pastry cream with fresh whipped cream and garnish with peanuts.  Drizzle with salty bourbon caramel just before serving.  Serve with additional bourbon caramel, if desired.     

Recipe source: very slightly adapted Bon Appetit


ally_m146 said...

I'm drooling over that pie! Looks delicious:)

Alida said...

I absolutely adore banana cream pie, and love that you made this with a peanut crust. Sounds fabulous!

Lynsey said...

The peanut crust added so much flavor to this pie. I love peanut butter and bananas anyway, so this was a perfect combo for me.

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