Sweet, flaky and buttery, these pudding pies are loaded with caramelized bananas, pecans and dates.
For the vanilla custard:
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lemon, zested
For the caramelized bananas:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup golden brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped sweetened dates
6 ripe bananas, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the phyllo:
1 box (2 packages) phyllo
1 cup clarified butter, melted and cooled (but still liquefied)
For the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
For the spiced sugar:
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
To make the custard: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and egg yolks. Set aside.
In a medium, stainless steel saucepan over medium heat, add the cream, milk and sugar. Cook (but do not boil) until small bubbles appear around the edge of the pot. Ladle some of the hot milk into the egg mixture and vigorously whisk to temper. Pour the tempered eggs into the pot with the milk and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Then whisk in the lemon zest. Remove from the heat to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap, allowing it to gently rest on top of the custard. Refrigerate until set, 4 hours.
To make the bananas: In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar. Add the pecans, dates, bananas, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Gently stir to coat the bananas and cook for 10 minutes until the bananas are caramelized but not mushy. (If your bananas start to become mushy then simply remove from the heat sooner.) Transfer the bananas to a large mixing bowl and set aside at room temperature to cool (do not refrigerate).
To make the whipped cream: Pour the whipping cream into a large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer fitted with beaters, whisk the cream to soft peaks. Add the powdered sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the pies: Place an oven rack in the center and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Fold the custard into the caramelized bananas.
Lay the phyllo sheets onto a baking sheet and cover with a damp towel to keep the sheets from drying out. Using a pastry brush, coat one sheet with melted butter. Place another sheet directly on top and butter it. Repeat 3 more times (for a total of 5 buttered sheets of phyllo dough). Spoon 1/3 cup of the banana pudding down the middle of the buttered phyllo stack. Fold the bottom half over the pudding. Cut 2 1/2 inches of phyllo off the top half and then roll the dough from left to right into a rosette. Stand the rosette upright and put into the mold of a popover pan (or large, deep muffin tin). Gently separate the top, exposed layers of the phyllo, as if opening the leaves of a rosebud. Continue 7 more times to make 8 pies.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, being careful not to burn the phyllo. Remove from the oven and let cool. Dust with spiced sugar and serve with whipped cream.