A few months ago I tried one of the best desserts I've ever had at Cassell's Hamburger's in Koreatown in LA. I couldn't stop thinking about their banana cream pie. It had the thickest graham cracker crust and a creamy layer of dulce de Leche that's been haunting my dream, so I finally attempted to recreate it at home. With 5 layers this pie is no joke, so I used a springform pan instead of a normal pie dish, but if you have a deep dish for pies that could awork. I used Dorie Greenspan's recipe for brown sugar pastry cream, using brown sugar instead of granulated adds another layer of depth and flavor to the pie. Also, I decided to make my own dulce de Leche which is pretty easy but time consuming, however buying a jar instead is just as good!
Dulce de Leche Recipe:
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
Remove the wrapper. In a large pot, completely submerge the can in water, covered by at least one inch. Bring the water to a simmer and refill continuously as it evaporates. Do not let the can be exposed as that can cause it to crack open. Continue simmering for 2-3 hours, depending on how dark and rich you want yours to be. Let the can cool completely before opening.
Graham Cracker Crust:
3 1/4 cups of crushed graham crackers
1 1/2-2 sticks butter, melted
5-6 T brown sugar
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter your springform or deep dish pie dish. In a large bowl, stir together the graham cracker with the melted butter, brown sugar, and salt. Grab a clump and squeeze, if it holds it shape like on the photo below, then it is ready. If not add 1 tablespoon more butter and mix until it does. Press evenly into the pan, coming up along the sides. Bake for 10-12 minutes until slightly browned then cool completely.
Brown Sugar Pastry Cream:
2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 T vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed, hard clumps picked out
1/3 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt
3 T unsalted butter
3 ripe bananas
In a medium pot, simmer the milk and vanilla. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, brown sugar and salt. When the milk is piping hot discard the vanilla beans if using and slowly pour in 1/3 of the milk into the owl with the yolk mixture, whisking as you do so it doesn't cook the eggs. Slowly whisk in the rest of the milk then pour everything back into the pot. Over low heat, stir until it thickens into a custard, about 10 minutes. This part is pretty laborious but don't stop stirring or else the eggs will cook at the bottom of the pan. I like to switch between a whisk and spatula as needed. Once you have a smooth, thick custard, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter until incorporated. Cover the custard with plastic wrap directly on its surface so a skim doesn't develop and cool completely.
1-2 cups of heavy whipping cream (depending on how much you like)
5-8 T powdered sugar, according to taste
Whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar together until stiff peaks are formed. Prepare right when you are ready to assemble the pie.
Assembly (video below):
Cut the 3 ripe bananas into 1/4 inch slices and layer over the graham cracker crust. Pipe or spoon the dulce de Leche over, followed by the pastry cream and then topped with whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve, will last up to 3 days.