Caramel Banana Cream Pie

Caramel Banana Cream Pie

A cream pie is usually a pie with a custard or pudding base that is topped off with a lot of whipped cream. In the case of banana cream pie, the standard recipe has vanilla pudding covering a layer of fresh banana slices – and whipped cream on top, of course. The standard is a classic because it has a good combination of flavors, it’s simple and it’s tasty. It’s also a little bit boring when it comes right down to it. This version of banana cream pie adds in another flavor to give the dessert a little more depth: caramel.

I made a caramel pudding to top off these bananas, and added a drizzle of caramel sauce to the whipped cream before serving to further boost the caramel flavor. The caramel pudding has a nice, subtle buttery flavor to it, but still keeps the nice vanilla notes that you’ll find in plain pudding. It’s easy to make from scratch and there is no need to use a candy thermometer to keep track of the temperature of the caramel. All you have to do is watch the color of the sugar as it cooks, looking for it to turn a golden color all over before adding in the butter.

If you make pudding from scratch a lot, you’ll notice that I use quite a bit of cornstarch to thicken this caramel pudding. I wouldn’t normally use this much, but it’s important that a cream pie be easy to slice and hold its shape well when sliced (otherwise you might as well just leave out the crust eat the pudding with whipped cream), and this cream pie holds up extremely well when sliced. The pudding stays soft and tender, even if you store the pie for a day or two before finishing it, so don’t worry that the extra cornstarch will make it unpleasantly stiff.

I added whipped cream to each slice as it was served, since I was not serving the whole pie at once. For the best presentation, make a batch of whipped cream and spread it over the pie before serving.

Caramel Banana Cream Pie
1 9-inch pie crust, prebaked
3 bananas
2/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp butter
2 cups milk
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract

Slice bananas into approx 1/4-inch thick slices and pile them into an even layer in the pie crust (a regular pie crust or a graham crust is fine).
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar and water and cook until sugar is bubbling and has taken on a golden amber color, about 10 minutes (depending on the temperature of your stovetop). Add in butter. Sugar will sizzle, then butter will melt right in.
Working carefully, pour in 1 1/2 cups of the milk to the hot sugar mixture. The caramel will seize up, but will remelt fairly quickly. Stir occasionally to help caramel melt.
Meanwhile, whisk together remaining 1/2 cup milk, cornstarch and egg in a medium bowl. When the caramel has melted into the milk in the sauce pan, very gradually stream it into the cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture through a strainer and transfer the milk mixture back into the saucepan.
Continue to cook pudding over medium heat until it just comes to a boil. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. The pudding will thicken substantially. Whisk in vanilla extract.
Pour immediately over the sliced bananas in the pie crust. Chill in refrigerator until pudding is chilled and set, at least 2 hours.
Top with a layer of whipped cream (recipe below) before serving.

Serves 8-10

Sweetened Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, whip heavy cream until it reaches soft peaks. Sift in confectioners sugar and beat to incorporate. Whisk in vanilla extract, then spread over the banana cream pie.

15 comments

  1. Looks wonderful! One question… Why do you stream the hot sugar/butter/milk into the cornstarch mixture, and the pour it back into the pot? Would it work to stream the cornstarch mix into the pot to minimize transfers?

  2. Laura – You really need to do it this way to temper the egg properly, warming up the mixture that the egg is in a little at a time. Otherwise you risk ending up with a scrambled egg in the pudding!

  3. Caramel! With a creme pie? I’m in love. This is being bookmarked.

  4. Hey, I like the twist on an old recipe! Great!

  5. Beautiful pie. Bananas and carmel are such a great combination. I can’t wait to try this for my banana eaters.
    Mimi

  6. What a delicious looking pie!

  7. I never used to like bananas but lately I am craving them! This pie sounds right up my alley! Perfect for a weeknight dessert!

  8. Nicole-
    Thanks for replying! Makes sense to me. When I’ve made pastry creams and puddings (I’ve never done an actual cream pie), I’ve done it both ways. Since I tend to develop my own recipes, I ususally settle on the less complicated technique, but was curious what the rationale was.

  9. Ooo what an excellent modification of banana cream pie!

  10. I bet the caramel just shoots this one to the moon! I love caramel and all the goodness that it adds to desserts.
    ~ingrid

  11. Possibly the best recipe I’ve found on this site so far.

  12. Hi. The preface to this recipe says you “added a drizzle of caramel sauce to the whipped cream before serving to further boost the caramel flavor.” I’m curious about this drizzle, since I can’t find any mention of it in the actual recipe. Sure looks beautiful in the photo. How do I do it?

  13. I’m making this today!! Looks awesome!!!

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