Who wants regular old banana cream pie when you can have banana split cream pie?
Let’s delve into the layers so I can further convince you that you need this pie in your life:
A buttery, chocolate-pecan crust…
…topped with banana slices…
…smothered with a made-from-scratch (oh yes! you can do it!) creamy vanilla-rum custard…
…layered with another round of banana slices…
…dolloped finally with the most refreshingly delicious berry whipped cream I’ve ever laid my lips on.
Although the steps look long and difficult, I assure you that despite the number of dishes used in the making of this dessert (I’ll wish a dish-washing-fairy your way!), it is not hard to make or assemble. And the combination of the chocolate, pecans, bananas, vanilla custard, and berry cream is really, truly out of this world.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, making sure an oven rack is in the center of the oven. Lightly grease a 10-inch round springform pan with at least 2-inch sides with nonstick cooking spray.
In a blender or food processor, combine the cookies, sugar and pecans and process until the crumbs are fine. Pour in the melted butter and process until the mixture is evenly coated with butter. Press the cookie mixture into the prepared pan evenly over the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. It will firm up as it cools. Transfer it to a wire rack and let it cool completely.
For the filling, pour the water into a small dish and sprinkle the gelatin over the water, letting it sit for 5 minutes to soften. Rest a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until blended. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually pour in the milk while while whisking constantly. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring slowly and often with a silicone spatula or whisk until the mixture just begins to bubble and thicken, about 6 to 8 minutes. Continue to cook, slowly stirring, for about 1 minute longer. Remove the pan from the heat.
Pour about 1/3 of the hot mixture into the egg yolks, stirring vigorously to combine. Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan, whisking quickly, and return it to medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and somewhat bubbly, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and immediately pour the custard through the fine mesh strainer. Stir in the butter, softened gelatin, vanilla and rum extract into the strained custard and stir until thoroughly blended and butter is melted. Immediately cover the custard with plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Poke a few vent holes in the plastic wrap with a sharp knife and set aside at room temperature until it cools to lukewarm about 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel three of the bananas and slice them into about 1/4-inch slices, layering the slices in the bottom of the crumb crust. Cover the bottom of the crust completely. Pour the warm custard over the banana slices, spreading to cover them evenly. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling and refrigerate the pie for 2-3 hours before serving.
Up to an hour before serving, combine the strawberries, raspberries and the sugar in a medium bowl and mash the mixture lightly with a fork. Pour 1/2 cup of the cream on top. Whip the ingredients with a hand mixer (or using an electric stand mixer) until the berries are partially crushed and mixed into the cream, about 1 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup cream and continue to whip on medium speed until soft peaks form.
Peel the remaining banana and cut it into very thin slices, scattering the slices over the chilled pie filling. Spread the berry whipped cream over the sliced bananas. Refrigerate until ready to serve. The pie presents best the same day it is made so the bananas aren’t overly browned, although the leftovers we had tasted great and looked pretty good the next day, so you could probably make it the day before with good results – spreading the berry whipped cream an hour before serving.
To serve, gently remove the sides of the springform pan, cut the pie into wedges and transfer to dessert plates.
Cookie Base: I like to use chocolate Teddy Grahams for the cookie base. They are cheaper and easier to find then the oft-cited Famous Nabisco Wafers.
Baking Dish: also, since I know someone might wonder, you could probably get away with using a pie dish instead of a springform pan but it would need to be a large 10-inch pie dish with fairly deep sides or you’ll run the risk of not having enough room for the layers.
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