Salted Caramel Banana Cream Pie is an easy graham cracker crust filled with salted caramel sauce, vanilla pastry cream, and fresh bananas. It’s topped with fresh whipped cream and salted caramel sauce for one delicious pie!
This banana cream pie is what happens when you have leftover salted caramel sauce in the fridge. I have a prrretty bad salted caramel habit (as you may know by now), and if there’s any hanging around, it dictates what’s going on for dessert. That’s actually not a bad thing. 🙂
So I love banana cream pie, and I make it as much as key lime. I guess you could call those my signature pies. They’re the most requested ones in my family, anyway, and that works for me. They’re unfussy because the crust is a super simple graham cracker crust. No rolling, just mixing the ingredients together in a bowl and pressing it into the pan. We can do that in our sleep.
The pastry cream is the only thing the takes a little effort, and it is only a little. You can whip it up in less than 20 minutes and get that delicious, creamy stuff chilling. I made countless batches of pastry cream in culinary school, and there are an endless number of possibilities for it.
Pies. Yes, we know that (see example above).
Cakes. Fill your layer cakes or cupcakes with it for the best filling ever.
French pastries. Pastry cream was made to fill eclairs, cream puffs, and napoleons, wasn’t it?
Or… just simply top with fruit and whipped cream and eat it with a spoon. 🙂
You may be wondering what the difference is between pastry cream and pudding, so here’s a little run-down:
- Pastry cream is an egg-based custard, which is also thickened with flour, cornstarch, or a combination of the two.
- Pudding is either served cold or hot, and doesn’t always contain eggs.
- Pastry cream also has a really fancy French name — creme patissiere — so go on and impress your friends with that one. 🙂
Pastry cream used to intimidate me a little because whenever you’re putting hot liquids and eggs together, there’s a possibility you could end up with scrambled eggs. I have nothing against scrambled eggs, but they’re not going in my pie! Just add a little of the hot milk to the egg mixture while whisking constantly until you’ve added about 1/3 of it, then you can dump the rest right in. Guaranteed…no scrambled eggs. 🙂
I like to have my ducks in a row when I make pastry cream, which makes things go really fast once I get going:
1. A medium bowl for the egg-flour-sugar mixture
2. A medium saucepan to heat the milk, then cook the pastry cream
3. A large bowl of ice and water with a bowl set inside that to help cool the pastry cream faster.
4. Place a fine mesh strainer right by the bowl of ice to strain any lumps out of the cream.
5. A piece of buttered wax paper to place on top of the strained pastry cream so that it doesn’t form a skin on it.
You can decide if you want to use store bought salted caramel sauce or make your own. If you do make your own, it’s best if it’s made ahead and chilled overnight, and heated just until pourable when you’re ready to use it. You can make the pastry cream in advance too, then just assemble the pie the day of and let it chill together for a minimum of 30 minutes to set.
The bananas stay fresh longer if they’re completely covered in pastry cream. I wanted mine visible for this particular pie, because hey — it looks more like a banana cream pie if the bananas are visible. Normally I won’t assemble my pie until a few hours in advance just to make sure it’s the freshest possible, but leftovers have never been shabby. Actually, the slice in this picture does happen to be a leftover slice. Not too shabby, eh?
If you’re a banana cream pie fanatic like me, I think you’ll love this little salted caramel rendition. It’s a very fun twist, and definitely perfect for using up that leftover caramel sauce. Because we wouldn’t want to get caught eating it right out of the container with a spoon, would we? Nope…I’ve never done that. 😉
And since the more salted caramel the better, you may want to have a look at these:
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 drops fresh lemon juice*
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
- ½ teaspoon fleur de sel or finishing salt (I used Maldon)
- 2 cups whole milk
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 4 tablespoons flour*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste*
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- 1¼ cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup salted caramel sauce, plus more for garnish
- 3 large bananas, ripe but firm, sliced into ¼" rounds
- Place the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar has melted, stirring just a bit to combine the ingredients. Once the sugar has melted, increase the heat to high and do not stir. The mixture will bubble rapidly, then the bubbles will become bigger and slower, and it will begin to color. The edges will normally color first, and you can swirl the pan ever so gently to distribute the color so the mixture doesn't burn. When the caramel is a golden amber color, remove it from heat. Slowly whisk in the cream a bit at a time, as the mixture will bubble over if you add too much, then whisk in the butter and finishing salt. If the caramel has hardened, place it back over medium low heat and whisk until it's smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Fill a large bowl with ice, and enough water to fill the bowl halfway. Place a medium bowl in it with a fine mesh strainer nearby along with a piece of buttered wax paper. Set aside.
- Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium low heat until just before it begins to boil.
- While the milk heats, place the sugar and egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk until well incorporated. Add the flour and and whisk vigorously until smooth. When the milk is hot enough, add ⅓ of it to the egg mixture in a slow steady stream while whisking constantly to temper the eggs. Once ⅓ has been added, add the rest while whisking constantly until combined.
- Place the mixture back in the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly to prevent lumps, until the mixture begins to boil. Continue to cook for another minute until very thick. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla bean paste and softened butter, then place in the strainer over the bowl set over the ice bath and strain to remove any lumps or bits of egg. Cover the pastry cream with the buttered wax paper to prevent a skin from forming and allow to cool at room temperature. Once cooled, place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a pie pan with butter or cooking spray and set aside. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, pinch of salt, and melted butter in a small bowl. Pour into the prepared pie pan, and press the crust in an even layer from the middle out to the corners and up the sides as evenly as possible. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool slightly on a wire rack.
- Place the cream, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium high speed until medium peaks form. Be careful not to over whip or the cream will turn to butter!
- Spread ¼ cup of salted caramel sauce over the bottom of the graham cracker crust, adding more if necessary to cover the bottom.
- Gently toss the bananas into the pastry cream until completely coated. Pour into the pie and spread evenly.
- Pipe the whipped cream on decoratively or simply spread it over the top. Garnish with salted caramel sauce and allow to chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes prior to serving. Enjoy!
The pastry cream is best when it's chilled for a few hours in the refrigerator, so it's a great make-ahead!
*The flour in the pastry cream can be substituted with cornstarch. Just bear in mind that the pastry cream will be a bit more gelatinous. You can also use half flour and half cornstarch for the best of both worlds.
*The vanilla bean paste may be substituted with 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract or the seeds of one vanilla bean.
Salted Caramel Sauce recipe adapted from Tante Marie Cooking School in San Francisco, CA. Banana Cream Pie recipe by Flavor the Moments.