In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, mix together the sugar, salt, cornstarch, and flour. Over medium-low heat, slowly whisk in the milk.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks. Once the pastry cream starts to boil, transfer 1/2 cup of the pastry cream to the egg yolks and whisk to temper. Return the mixture to the saucepan. Continue whisking until the mixture coats the back of a spoon and is smooth and thick. Strain.
Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, and vanilla. Stir in 1 cup sliced bananas. Allow the mixture to cool.
Stir the custard to loosen, if necessary. Cover the bottom of the prepared crust with more sliced bananas and drizzle with 1/4 cup Salted Caramel Sauce. Top with half of the sliced bananas, then 1 cup custard, covering the bananas completely. Repeat layering with the remaining bananas and the remaining custard. Chill the banana cream pie until the filling is set, about 2 hours.
For the topping: In a medium bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, and vanilla and whip until stiff peaks form.
Top the chilled pie with the fresh whipped cream. Drizzle with additional caramel sauce, just before serving.
For the Perfect Pie Dough:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt and vanilla; cut or work the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers or a cold pastry cutter until you have large pea sized chunks scattered throughout. Alternatively, pulse the dough in a food processor, or mix in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on low speed.
Add the ice water slowly while stirring with a fork, or in the food processor or mixer, until just combined. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, flatten and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
Roll out one chilled pie dough to fit a 9-inch pie plate. Reserve the second pie dough disc for another use. Transfer dough to pie plate, pressing the dough lightly into the plate; trim the edges. Dock the dough with the prongs of a fork evenly over the bottom of the pie plate. Line the docked dough with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
Bake the pie crust until the edges are brown and golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the weights. Return crust to the oven to finish baking for another 5 minutes.
Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie crust
To make the salted caramel sauce:
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt, to taste. Transfer the caramel to a dish and cool.
Cook's Note: This recipe will last in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Reheat before serving.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups sauce
Recipe courtesy of Kelsey Nixon
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