Banana-Salted Caramel Pie

by Anh-Minh on October 31, 2014

bananasIf miniature chocolate bars aren’t your thing—okay, even if they are your thing—we’ve got a sweet treat that’s perfect for this Halloween weekend. Today, Melina Hammer is sharing a recipe that is sure to make your mouth water.

Banana-Salted Caramel Pie

When I first made this pie, I thought it would be quite tasty. I never dreamed I’d be willing to fight my husband off for the last slice. This pie is that good. Everyone with whom I share it utters layers of profundities as the flavor and texture hit them.

Best thing? Huge payoff without that much effort. You’ll get a good arm workout in crushing those pretzels and biscuits for the crust, but that makes the indulgence of pie even sweeter.

And about that crust … It’s a delightful sweet-salty combo incorporating hard pretzels and after dinner cookie-biscuits. Choose good quality ingredients and the pie will shine even more: I swear by Martin’s Pretzels, a Pennsylvania dutch-style, which I scored at the NYC Greenmarket. Since having relocated to the south I was concerned I would have to find an alternative, but thanks to the internet, they ship right to your door!

This pressed crust is similar to the one I made for the muscadine marbled cheesecake story last year. The more finely you grind the two, the more readily it will hold together. In this version, I prefer the toothiness of smaller and larger bits together and don’t mind if it falls apart a little. It makes for a beautiful mess! If you choose this route, remember you can always use a spoon to serve it, so the messiness becomes part of the design, rather than a flaw. :)

Lastly, the addition of crème fraîche into the whipping cream helps cuts the sweetness of the caramel and banana slices, in a pretty amazing way. It also helps the cream hold those stiff peaks, which is a nice bonus.

See if you don’t go crazy for this pie too. I dare you to find out.

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CRUST

  • 2 cups cookie biscuits, coarsely broken
  • 1 3/4 cup salted pretzels, coarsely broken (I used chunky, handmade pretzels from Martin’s—crisp, airy, salty, simple)
  • 1/2 cup pastured butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

SALTED CARAMEL

  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 6 tbsp butter, cubed
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes

TOPPING

  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4-5 ripe bananas, sliced on a bias**
  • shaved dark chocolate for topping
**Do this at the very end so that the bananas do not brown

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1. Place biscuits and pretzels in a sealable plastic bag and rock a rolling pin back and forth and side-to-side, turning them into crumbs. Empty crumbs into a large bowl, add grated nutmeg and melted butter, and mix until combined.

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2. Transfer mixture into a 9 1/2-inch pie pan and press into the base and up the sides, spreading and compacting the crust evenly. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

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3. To make the caramel, stir sugar and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, cooking the sugar until it turns caramel in color, about 10 minutes. Add butter, cream, and the sea salt and be careful, as the hot caramel may spit. Stir until well incorporated. Pour into the chilled pie crust. Refrigerate again.

4. Halve vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape seeds into a bowl, adding in the cream and crème fraîche. With an electric mixer, whip creams and vanilla seeds until sturdy peaks form. Chill in refrigerator while slicing bananas. Arrange sliced bananas in a pattern which pleases you, covering the caramel surface completely, and set aside.

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5. Spoon cream onto bananas, swirl topping to cover, and sprinkle with shaved chocolate. Keeps for one week refrigerated in a sealed container. If it lasts that long …

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{ Text, Recipes & Photographs by Melina Hammer for Anthology Magazine }

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David Baerwalde

by Anh-Minh on October 30, 2014

davidbaerwalde1Yesterday, while browsing at one of my favorite local shops, Hudson Grace, I came across the work of David Baerwalde—the Atlanta artist behind these wonderful wooden cakes. (I’m kicking myself for not taking a photo at Hudson Grace, where his pieces were beautifully displayed on domed cake stands.)

According to Hudson Grace proprietor Monelle Totah, Baerwalde creates the slices with a wood form that he embellishes with wood shavings and such to mimic the look and texture of a layer cake. In this YouTube clip, you can see part of his process (and learn more about the artist). But if you’re in the Bay Area, be sure to pop into Hudson Grace’s San Francisco or Larkspur locations to check out Baerwalde’s cakes—available in “chocolate” and “vanilla”—in person.

P.S. Tomorrow, we’ll be posting a recipe for a real sweet treat that you won’t want to miss!

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{ Images via David Baerwalde }

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Meanwhile Curiosities by Epiforma

by Joanna on October 29, 2014

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Epiforma is a recently established Portuguese design studio that aims to tell visual stories across a range of disciplines. It’s not hard to grasp why I’m a big fan of the Meanwhile Curiosities collection. Labeled as “a conceptual representation of time,” the shapes and materials—ranging from metal (steel and aluminum) to solid wood (ash and oak) to stone (granite and marble)—are all about playful exploration. While these functional objects and furniture are engaging, I also love the colors and the styling of the photography.

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{ Images via Epiforma. Photography by Luís Espinheira }

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Recreation Center Ceramics

by Joanna on October 28, 2014

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Talk about a pattern party! Meet Recreation Center. Started by Josephine Heilpern after she graduated from New York’s Cooper Union, Recreation Center is all about functional and fun ceramics. The forms themselves are simple, while the patterns and finishes are totally unique. Heilpern’s background is rich in print and sculpture, and her aesthetic is inspired in part by the Memphis design movement. These pieces are sure to perk up any dining table.

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{ Found via Oh Joy }

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Wallpapers from Black Crow Studio

by Joanna on October 27, 2014

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Wow, just … Wow. These wallpapers and murals by Black Crow Studios make quite the statement, don’t you think? Available as-is or totally customized, these designs are the perfect way to make a statement in your home. I find myself especially drawn to the bold watercolor series and the gemstone series and wish I could wallpaper my bathroom with them. If you’re a renter like me, Black Crow Studios also offers the ability to print their motifs on canvas or fine-art paper for framing, thus minimizing the commitment. Believe me, my interior design wheels are turning.

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{ Images via Black Crow Studios }

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