I may not be a Southerner, but I am a pie lover—especially cream pies. I also haven’t met a banana cream pie I don’t like. My take on this classic involves a healthy dollop of dulce de leche—caramelized milk—which takes this cream pie to a whole other level of indulgence. I love making my own dulce de leche so I can decide just how sweet I want it to be.
First, I start by making my recipe for Dairy-Free Condensed Milk (in my Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen). Then, I transfer the condensed milk into tight-seal lidded glass jars and place them in a slow cooker to caramelize. Eight hours later, the intensely creamy dulce de leche is ready.
And the pie crust? First, I pulse cookies into crumbs using the food processor, then I combine the cookie crumbs with butter or shortening, salt and egg white, and bake in the oven just long enough to get the crust nice and crispy.
In the meantime, I make the custard and whipped cream, then comes the assembly—crust, dulce de leche, bananas, vanilla custard, whipped cream and a sprinkle of cookie crumbs. You can spread the whipped cream or get a lil fancy by piping it on the pie in a circular pattern using a wide round tip.
To prevent the banana slice on top of the pie from browning, just squeeze over some lemon juice on both sides before placing on the pie.
For the crust:
8ouncessnickerdoodle cookies, plus more, crumbled, for sprinkling,such as Udi’s
2tablespoonsunsalted butter or organic non-hydrogenated shortening, melted
1large egg white, beaten
For the vanilla custard:
2cupswhole milk or dairy-free milk,such as Malk Organics
2teaspoonspure vanilla extract
4large egg yolks
1tablespoonunsalted butter or organic non-hydrogenated shortening
For the whipped cream topping:
1pintcold heavy whipping cream or dairy-free creamer
½cupsour cream or dairy-free sour cream(recipe in Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen Cookbook)
1tablespoonpure vanilla extract
½cupdulce de leche or dairy-free dulce de leche(recipe in Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen Cookbook)
2medium bananas, sliced on the diagonal about ¼-inch thick, plus 1 slice for topping
Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350°. In a food processor, process the cookies until fine crumbs form.
In a small bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs, pinch of salt and butter until combined. Press the mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan; freeze until set, about 20 minutes. Lightly brush the beaten egg white on the pie shell and bake for 15 minutes; let cool completely.
Make the vanilla custard: Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the milk and vanilla to a simmer. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt until thick and smooth. Whisking constantly, add about ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture to temper the eggs. Gradually whisk in the remaining milk until combined; return to the saucepan and cook, whisking constantly, over low heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until smooth. Let cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Using a sieve, strain the cream, if necessary, into a medium bowl and cover the surface directly with plastic wrap; refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours.
Make the whipped cream topping: Beat the cold whipping cream with the confectioners’ sugar, sour cream and vanilla until soft peaks form.
To assemble the pie, spread the dulce de leche evenly over the cooled pie shell. Top with 2 layers of bananas. Beat the cold custard with a whisk until smooth; spread evenly over the bananas. Refrigerate overnight, covered, or to serve, top decoratively with the whipped cream topping, sprinkle with cookie crumbs and top with the banana slice.