Deep-dish Banana-Coconut Cream Pie
Mounded high in a sugar crust, resting on a thick layer of chocolate and nougat, caramel mousse and coconut cream support arches of chocolate-glazed bananas that are hidden by whipped cream until the pie is cut. Plan ahead: the dough for the crust must be made the day before, and the nougat can be made several days ahead. You can save time by using ready-made peanut brittle.
- Sugar Crust Dough
- Unsalted Butter - 1 cup (2 sticks)
- Confectioner’s Sugar - 1/2 cup
- All-Purpose Flour - 2-1/4 cups, unbleached
- Egg White - 1
- Chocolate Glaze
- Bittersweet Chocolate - 7-1/4 ounces, chopped
- Coating chocolate - 18 ounces
- Peanut Oil - 5 tablespoons
- Peanut Nougat - (recipe follows), or 1 pound peanut brittle
- Bananas - 6, finger-sized, peeled
- Caramel Cream
- Unflavored gelatin - 4 teaspoons
- Cold Water - 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons
- Sugar - 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons
- Egg Whites - 3
- Egg Yolks - 5
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1-3/4 cup, whipped to stiff peaks
- Coconut Mousse
- Unflavored gelatin - 2 teaspoons
- Cold Water - 1/4 cup
- Coco Lopez or other coconut syrup - 2 tablespoons
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 cup
- Flaked fresh coconut - 1/4 cup
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2 cups
- Sugar - 1 tablespoon
- Peanut Nougat (Makes 1 pound)
- Granulated Sugar - 2 cups
- Fresh lemon juice - 1/4 teaspoon
- Raw Peanuts - 2-1/2 cups (1 pound) (shelled)
To make the dough: In a medium bowl, mix the butter and the sugar together. With a pastry blender or your fingers, work the flour into the butter mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in the egg white and stir until it forms a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, bake the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper or butter the pan. Roll the dough out 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured board. Using the bottom of the springform pan as a template, cut a circle out of the dough and place it in the bottom of the pan. Cut a strip of dough 3 inches wide and long enough to circle the inside of the pan, and roll it up into a spiral. Place it on end in the pan and unroll it around the inside edge of the pan. Press the ends and bottom seam together to seal. Bake until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.
To make the glaze: In a double boiler over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate and stir in the coating chocolate. Cook until the chocolate melts and reaches 100 F on a candy thermometer. Stir in the oil and blend thoroughly.
Remove the crust from the pan, place it on a serving plate, and brush the inside with the chocolate glaze. Crumble the peanut nougat (peanut brittle) with a small mallet or other heavy object. Reserve 1/4 cup and sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup in a thin layer over the bottom of the crust. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or waxed paper. With a small fork, dip the bananas in the chocolate glaze and place on the prepared pan to set.
To make the caramel cream: In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup of the cold water to dissolve. In a heavy medium saucepan, cook 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the sugar over medium heat to a pale amber color, 320 F on a candy thermometer. Slowly pour in 1/4 cup of the remaining water, stirring, and continue cooking until the mixture returns to 250 F, or until a small amount dropped into a glass of cold water forms a soft pliable ball. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the egg whites with 2 tablespoons of the sugar on high speed until they form stiff peaks. When the caramelized sugar is at the proper temperature, slowly add it to the whites, beating the whites continually as you pour. Add the gelatin mixture and beat until the mixture cools to room temperature.
In a deep bowl, beat the egg yolks until pale in color. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and the remaining 3 tablespoons water. Cook over medium heat to 250 F, or until the mixture is thick and bubbling but has not browned. Gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks, continuing to beat until the mixture cools. Fold the yolk and egg white mixtures together, then gently fold into the whipped cream. Pile into the crust.
To make the coconut mousse: In a small pan, sprinkle the gelatin over the coconut syrup and let sit for 3 minutes. Place over low heat and stir until the gelatin is dissolved. In a deep bowl, beat the cream until soft peaks form. Slowly add the coconut milk and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Stir in the gelatin mixture and blend, then fold in the flaked coconut. Put on top of the caramel cream in the crust.
To make the topping: In a deep bowl, beat the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.
To assemble: Stand the glazed bananas, curved side facing the center, on top of the pie in the cream, making a circle with the tips touching in the center. Pile the topping onto the pie, mounding it into a pyramid covering the bananas. With a long thin spatula, press grooves into the cream all around the pie from the top center down to the outside rim. Sprinkle with the reserved chopped nougat or brittle. Chill 3 to 4 hours before serving.
Lightly oil a piece of marble or a baking sheet. In a medium bowl, toss the sugar with the lemon juice. In a heavy saucepan, cook 1 cup of the sugar over medium heat, stirring, until it turns pale amber. Add 1/2 cup of the remaining sugar and cook until it dissolves and turns pale amber. Repeat with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. When the last sugar turns pale amber, add the peanuts and stir until they are lightly toasted. Spread the mixture out onto the prepared surface and let cool. Break into large pieces with your hands or a small mallet and store in an airtight jar until ready to use.