A traditional biscuit/butter base can be used, but I often find these bases temperamental so prefer an easy sweet shortcrust pastry, specifically as I almost always have frozen ready-rolled pastry in the freezer. If you don’t have the pastry to hand, short crust is one of the easiest pastries to make. A tip I learned was to replace any water in home-made shortcrust pastry with the equivalent amount of egg as water turns to steam in the oven which evaporates and causes the pastry to shrink more than normal.
You often see pictures of this pie (or “tart” as it isn’t enclosed in pastry) with the caramel, bananas and cream beautifully layered, but my mum mixes the chopped banana in with the caramel, taking care not to mash it up too much. I prefer this way as the banana balances the richness of the caramel beautifully. It’s all covered with cream anyway, but it’s up to you.
1 quantity sweet short crust pastry
185g can caramel
1 Tbs hot water
1 tsp gelatine powder
250ml fresh cream
chocolate for decorating
- Preheat oven to 180ºC. Roll out pastry to about 4mm thick – too thin and it will be very fragile, too thick and it may not cook evenly.
- Carefully press the pastry into the pie dish, taking care not to stretch it or leave dents where the pastry will be uneven. Remove any air pockets. Either leave the pastry hanging over the sides of the dish to be cut down after cooking, or roll a rolling pin across the top to neatly sever the edges. (Note: I used mini flan tins with removable bases – easy peasy!)
- Cover the base with plastic wrap or baking paper (I prefer the paper) and fill with ceramic baking beans. If you don’t have these, use dry uncooked rice, beans or lentils, taking care to cover right up to the edges. This weighs the pastry down so it doesn’t bulge during cooking.
- Bake for 10 mins, then remove the paper/plastic and baking beans and return the pie crust to the oven for a further 5 mins or until just cooked – you don’t want it to brown too much. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Whisk the caramel until smooth. Slice the bananas and add to the caramel. Dissolve the gelatine in the water and pour into the caramel/banana mixture. Combine well and pour into the cooled pastry case and refrigerate to set. If layering the banana on top of the caramel, only slice and add them when you’re almost ready to serve the pie as no-one wants to see brown soggy banana slices!
- When ready to serve, whip the cream and lather it on top. Now you could leave it there, but I prefer to sprinkle grated chocolate (preferably peppermint crisp if you can get your hands on it, or something similar as the peppermint works wonderfully well with the caramel).