Banana Cream Pie Cupcakes
Nilla Wafer Crust
4 cups Nilla Wafers, crushed finely
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted
Roasted Banana Cake (adapted from Martha Stewart):
3 ripe bananas
2 cups cake flour (not self rising), sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup sour cream
Vanilla Bean Banana Pastry Cream (adapted from Jacques Pepin):
2 cups whole milk
6 egg yolks
2/3 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons banana extract
2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup raw sugar (Turbinado)
1/2 cup coconut shavings, toasted
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 3 whole peeled bananas on a baking sheet and roast 15 minutes. Remove bananas from oven and let cool, reduce oven temperature to 350F.
Mix nilla crumbs with melted butter and blend together thoroughly, either using a food processor or your hands. The mixture should stick when you pinch the crumbs but still stay light a fluffy when broken apart. Place one tablespoon of cookie crumbs in each cupcake liner and press down, forming a compact crust. Bake for 4-6 minutes until the crust turns a slight golden brown.
Meanwhile, sift together cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add roasted bananas and beat to combine. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of sour cream, and beating until just combined after each. Beat in vanilla.
In another mixing bowl, with electric mixer on medium speed, whisk egg whites to soft peaks; fold one-third whites into batter to lighten. Gently fold in remaining whites in two batches.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean (I use a toothpick)_, about 17 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely. Cupcake can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
Bring the ilk to a boil. Set aside. Place the yolks, sugar and scrape seeds from the vanilla bean (save the pod and set aside) in a bowl and work with a wire whisk until it forms a “ribbon”. This should take 3 to 4 minutes. Using a sifter, add the flour and mix well. Add half of the hot milk to the yolk mixture and mix well, throw the vanilla pod in the mixture. Pour the yolk mixture into the remaining milk, mixing as you go along. Bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring constantly with the whisk. The sauce will thicken as soon as it reaches the boiling point. Reduce heat and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid scorching. Remove from heat add pour through a strainer into a large bowl. Add banana extract and allow to cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl place 2 cups of heavy cream and using a whisk or hand blender, whip until it forms soft peaks. Add the sugar gradually as the cream begins to stiffen. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until ready to use.
To finish, using a small spoon or 1″ circle cooking cutter, core out the centers of the cupcakes for the custard filling and set the tops aside. Fill each cupcake to the top with custard and place the tops back on. The top will be a little higher than the rest of the cupcake but that will help hold the height when you add the whipped cream.
Place chantilly cream into a pastry bag fitted with a medium French-star tip. Generously pipe whipped cream on top of cupcakes, making sure you cover the tops completely.
Peel banana and slice into 1 inch rounds. Coat with raw sugar and using a hand-held torcher, lightly burn the sugar on each side. Garnish with bruleed bananas and toasted coconut shavings, finishing it off with a nilla wafer.
This can be enjoyed either at room temperature or frozen as an ice cream cake!