How to make it

  • 1. For the crust: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. In food processor, pulse animal crackers, coconut, and sugar to fine crumbs, eighteen to twenty 1-second pulses; then process until powdery, about 5 seconds. Transfer crumbs to medium bowl and add butter; stir to combine until crumbs are evenly moistened. Empty crumbs into 9-inch glass pie plate; using bottom of ramekin or 1/2 cup dry measuring cup, press crumbs evenly into bottom and up sides of pie plate. Bake until fragrant and medium brown, about 15 minutes, rotating pie shell halfway through baking time. Set on wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  • 2. While crust cools, bring sugar and water to boil over high heat in small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook until dark amber, 5 to 8 minutes, occasionally swirling pan once sugar begins to color. Off heat, add heavy cream (caramel will bubble vigorously) and pinch salt; whisk to combine. Whisk in unsalted butter. Pour caramel into pie shell, tilting pie plate to coat evenly; set aside to cool.
  • 3. When caramel is cool, peel bananas; slice each crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick rounds. Arrange slices in single layer on top of caramel; set aside.
  • 4. For the filling: Bring coconut milk, whole milk, shredded coconut, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to ensure that sugar dissolves. Following illustrations 1 through 6, whisk yolks, cornstarch, and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisking constantly, gradually ladle about 1 cup hot milk mixture over yolk mixture; whisk well to combine. Whisking constantly, gradually add remaining milk mixture to yolk mixture in 3 or 4 additions; whisk well to combine. Return mixture to saucepan and cook until thickened and mixture reaches boil, whisking constantly, about 1 minute; filling must boil in order to fully thicken. (To determine whether filling has reached boil, stop whisking; large bubbles should quickly burst on surface.) Off heat, whisk in butter, vanilla, and rum until butter is fully incorporated. Pour hot filling into cooled pie shell and smooth surface with rubber spatula; press plastic wrap directly against surface of filling and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 12 hours.
  • 5. For the whipped cream: Just before serving, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla with electric mixer until soft peaks form, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Top pie with whipped cream and then sprinkle with coconut. Cut pie into wedges and serve.
  • NOTE: This variation is a test kitchen favorite. You may be left with 1/3 cup or so of filling that will not fit into the crust because of the caramel and banana. Light coconut milk lacks rich coconut flavor, so skip it in favor of regular coconut milk.

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