“This pie has been on the menu since the day Emeril’s opened and is our signature dessert. At the restaurant, we pipe the whipped cream onto each individual slice just before serving, but feel free to spread the whipped cream over the top of the whole pie.”
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, from Essential Emeril: Favorite Recipes and Hard-Won Wisdom from My Life in the Kitchen.
- 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
- 2 to 4 tablespoons whole milk
- 1⁄2 cup half-and-half
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1⁄4 cups graham cracker crumbs (9 to 10 crackers)
- 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
- 1⁄4 cup (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 1 1⁄2 cups whole milk
- 1 1⁄2 cups plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- 1⁄2 cup cornstarch
- 3 pounds (about 9) firm but ripe bananas, peeled and cut crosswise into 1⁄2-inch-thick slices
- 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Caramel Sauce, warm
- Shaved bittersweet chocolate, for garnish
- Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish
- Fresh mint sprigs or leaves, for garnish (optional)
For the Caramel Sauce, combine the sugar, water and lemon juice in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, whisking until the sugar dissolves. Once it has dissolved, stop whisking and let the mixture come to a boil. Let it continue to cook, without stirring, until it turns a deep amber color, 2-3 minutes; stirring the syrup at this point can make the sugar crystallize. Watch closely to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Very carefully add the cream (the hot sugar mixture will sputter when the cream hits it), whisk to combine, and remove the pan from the heat. Add the milk, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the sauce is smooth, velvety and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Let cool to room temperature before serving with the pie. (The sauce will thicken as it cools.) It will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Let it come to room temperature or warm it briefly in the microwave before using.
For the Chocolate Sauce, heat the half-and-half and butter together in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan; do not let it come to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat.
Place the chocolate and vanilla extract in a medium heatproof bowl. Add the hot half-and-half mixture and let sit for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Serve slightly warm, or keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days. Let come to room temperature or warm it briefly in the microwave before using.
For the Graham Cracker Crust, preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar, and mix well. Add the melted butter and mix well. Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan. Top with a 9-inch aluminum pie pan and, with a circular motion, press the crust tightly into the pan, so it comes fully up the side of the pan. Remove the aluminum pie pan.
Bake the crust until browned, about 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before filling.
Prepare the Pie: Combine 2 cups of the cream, the milk, and 1⁄2 cup of the granulated sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. With the point of a paring knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan then add the bean. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat. Remove the vanilla bean.
In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks, whole eggs, cornstarch and 1 cup of the granulated sugar; whisk until pale yellow in color. Whisk 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture until fully combined. Gradually add the egg mixture to the hot cream mixture in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Place the pan back over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to cook the cornstarch and thicken the mixture, about 5 minutes. (The mixture may separate slightly; if so, remove from the heat and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until thick and smooth.) Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
To assemble the pie, spread 1⁄2 cup of the custard over the bottom of the prepared crust, smoothing it with the back of a large spoon or rubber spatula. Arrange enough banana slices (not quite one-third) in a tight, tiled pattern over the custard, pressing down with your hands to pack them firmly. Repeat the process to build a second layer, using 3⁄4 cup custard and enough bananas to cover. For the third layer, spread 3⁄4 cup custard over the bananas and top with the remaining bananas, starting 1 inch from the outer edge and working toward the center. Spread the remaining custard evenly over the bananas to prevent discoloration. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.
In a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed, whip the remaining 2 cups cream until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons granulated sugar and the vanilla extract and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
With a sharp knife dipped in hot water, cut the pie into 10 equal slices. Transfer to dessert plates. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the whipped cream and pipe onto each slice.
Right before serving, drizzle each slice decoratively with the warm caramel and chocolate sauces, sprinkle with chocolate shavings, dust with a little confectioners’ sugar, garnish with fresh mint, if desired, and serve.