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[what’s more southern than] caramel banana pudding pie ?

My IRL friends know a lot about me: 

I don’t like the color purple

I live for football season

that I would eat carrot sticks and celery stalks for the rest of my life so long as I got dessert

In fact, I’ve been known to make an ice cream request days in advance and often plan my weekend menu around a new dessert I’m dying to try. Why do you think I run? It’s hard to keep a skinny girl figure when all you want to do is gorge on red velvet cake!

Here is last weekend’s star player: a salted caramel banana pudding pie [say that three times fast!] so divine it would be criminal not to share it with y’all. 

What’s More Southern than Caramel Banana Pudding Pie

The Players:

  •  1 box vanilla wafers 
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 4 large ripe bananas
  • 1 generous teaspoon Mediterranean sea salt
  • 1 cup homemade caramel (recipe below)
  • 1 package sugar-free Jell-O vanilla Pudding (the large one)
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • a dash of almond extract

The Play-by-Play:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the vanilla wafers in a large freezer bag (or food processor) and crush. Reserve 1/3 cup to layer in and to top the pie.  Pour the melted butter over the top and, using a spoon or your hands, combine the ingredients. Press the mixture in the bottom and up the sides and onto the lip of the pie plate. Bake until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

While the pie crust is baking, start your Caramel Sauce: 

 

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Combine the sugar and 1/3 cup water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. This is the only time you can stir the sugar. If you stir it while it’s cooking, it turns to rock candy. Place the saucepan over medium to low heat until the sugars start to dissolve, about 5 minutes. Then turn the heat up to medium-high and cook until the sugar starts to caramelize, 5 to 7 minutes. Do not stir while this is happening. Make sure you’re keeping a close eye on this- it can go from perfect to over cooked in a matter of seconds!

Remove from heat and slowly add the cream. Let cream sit for a few seconds before returning to low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth (about 2 minutes). 

Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature (or place in the fridge for faster cooling- I did). It will thicken upon standing. 

Follow directions on pudding box to make the vanilla pudding. Once the caramel sauce has cooled, peel and slice the bananas. Stir the salt into the caramel sauce and then add the banana slices to the salted caramel. Arrange some banana slices evenly over the bottom of the crust and top with a spoonful of caramel. Spread half of the instant pudding over the banana/ caramel layer, top with a handful of crushed wafers. Repeat- remaining bananas, spoonful of caramel sauce, remaining pudding and remaining crushed cookies. Cover with saran wrap and stick the pie in the fridge to allow the pudding to set (about 10 minutes). 

In an electric mixer with the whipping attachment, whip the cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Add the almond extract until peaks form. Be careful not to overbeat or you will end up with cracked cream topping. Spread the whipped cream over the pie just before serving and drizzle remaining carmel overtop of pie. 

Chef’s Note: Please pardon the half eaten pie and fork in the dessert. I… errr… was doing a taste test. Sorry I’m not sorry. This treat was too damn good to wait for the cafe photographer [aka me] to snap an “after” picture. Dear self- you must work on your patience. 

Bon appetit fellow foodies!

[recipe adapted from an Anne Thornton original found here]