Yield: 12 small dessert cups
2 cups (475ml) milk (anything but skim)
1 cup (235ml) heavy cream
¾ cup (156g) granulated sugar, divided
1 pinch salt
¼ cup (33g) cornstarch
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups (156g) finely crushed graham cracker crumbs (10 full sheets)
2 Tbsp (25g) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (76g) unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup homemade or store-bought salted caramel sauce
1 ¾ cups heavy cream
3 ½ Tbsp (44g) granulated sugar
4 — 5 bananas, sliced*
Grated bittersweet chocolate (optional)
For the pastry cream:
In a medium saucepan combine milk, cream, ¼ cup sugar and salt. Bring mixture to a light boil over medium heat, while whisking to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and let rest several minutes. Meanwhile in a medium mixing bowl whisk together ½ cup sugar with cornstarch then add in egg and egg yolks. Using an electric hand mixer set on low speed whip mixture until pale and fluffy, 1 minute. While whisking egg mixture add 2/3 cup of the hot milk mixture to egg mixture. Then while whisking milk mixture in saucepan pour egg mixture into saucepan. Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until it has thickened well, about 4 — 8 minutes (whisk vigorously near end to prevent lumps. Mixture should become like a thick pudding, if it starts to separate you can remove from heat and beat with electric mixer to smooth). Remove mixture from heat, stir in vanilla and immediately force through a fine mesh strainer into a medium mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, while pressing plastic directly on surface of pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in refrigerator until chilled through, about 4 hours (meanwhile prepare and cool salted caramel sauce if making homemade — which is what I used here).
For the crust:
In a mixing bowl whisk together graham cracker crumbs and granulated sugar. Pour in melted butter and stir until evenly moistened.
For the whipped cream topping:
In a large mixing bowl whip heavy cream until soft peaks form, add 3 ½ Tbsp sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Chill until ready to assemble then transfer to a large pastry bag fitted with a star pastry tip.
Divide graham cracker mixture among 12 small dessert cups, adding about 2 Tbsp to each and gently press into an even layer. Add 3 banana slices over graham cracker layer in each. Transfer chilled pastry cream to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (if it’s super thick you can fold it a few times before adding to pastry bag) and pipe over banana layer. Add 3 more banana slices on top of each. Spoon a scant 1 Tbsp of caramel sauce over second banana layer (work to evenly drizzle it, if caramel sauce is thick you may need to warm it in the microwave a little — just don’t let it get warm). Pipe whipped cream over caramel layer then sprinkle with chocolate shavings if desired. Store in refrigerator up to 2 hours before serving and garnish with a banana slice just before serving.
*I wanted to keep my bananas from browning (this is optional) so I added 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice and 1 cup of cold water to a bowl then I sliced the bananas and added them to the lemon water mixture and let them rest 10 seconds, then transferred to paper towels and dried. This does give them a very light lemon flavor so it is optional if you are worried about the appearance.