About the brittle:
Don't leave the brittle unattended! You must stir the brittle frequently; otherwise the peanuts will scorch and stick to the bottom of the pan.
Brittle can be made up to 2 weeks in advance and kept in an airtight container. Recipe is easily doubled. Increase time to 15 to 20 minutes.
For easy clean-up, bring water to boil in saucepan and allow brittle residue to dilute.
About the custard: This is a starch-bound custard. Normally, to avoid curdling, custards are heated gently until they thicken. In this recipe, the presence of cornstarch creates an exception to the rule: the custard must be brought to a boil, then boiled for an additional 2 minutes to properly thicken. Ignore this and you will have a weepy pie.
Pie is best served the day it is made.
- 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 11 pieces
- 1 cup dry-roasted peanuts
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 (12-ounce) box Nilla Wafer cookies, broken into pieces
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 3 cups milk
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 3 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 6 large bananas, ripe but firm
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Butter parchment with 1 tablespoon butter.
Stir peanuts, granulated sugar, and corn syrup in heavy-bottomed medium-sized saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and boil, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick and deep amber and temperature reads 295°F on candy thermometer, 8 to 12 minutes.
Remove from heat and immediately stir in baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread into even layer (roughly, a 12- by 8-inch rectangle) with wooden spoon.
Let brittle cool and harden on sheet, 30 to 45 minutes. When cool, using a meat mallet, break brittle into small pieces and reserve.
Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Melt 8 tablespoons butter. Pulse Nilla Wafer pieces in food processor until they become fine crumbs. Add 1/4 cup light brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt and pulse to combine. Add melted butter and pulse again to combine. Press onto bottom and up sides of springform pan, leaving about 1/2 inch from top of pan. Bake crust until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely.
Meanwhile, bring milk to boil in small saucepan or microwave. In large heavy-bottomed saucepan whisk remaining 1/2 cup light brown sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. While vigorously whisking, add 1/4 cup boiling milk, then, add remaining milk in a slow steady stream, all the while whisking. Bring mixture to boil over medium heat, whisking constantly; mixture will thicken to the consistency of pudding. Continue to boil for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter, bourbon, and vanilla extract. Transfer custard to large bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the custard’s surface and refrigerate until cold. Alternatively, place bowl in an ice bath and stir custard until completely cooled.
To assemble, slice bananas diagonally into thin slices (about 1/4 inch thick). Spread half of custard over bottom of prepared crust. Top custard with half of brittle pieces then layer with half of sliced bananas, arranging them in a circular pattern. With pastry brush, brush bananas with orange juice. Top bananas with remaining custard, then top custard with remaining bananas. Brush bananas with remaining orange juice, then sprinkle with remaining brittle. Refrigerate 30 to 60 minutes and serve.
Food processor, candy thermometer, 10-inch springform pan