Banana Split Sundae Pie
Serves 8 to 10.
Note: Boasting a salty pretzel crust and three ice cream flavors, this no-bake dessert is a throwback to the beloved classic banana split, but refashioned into a pie finished off with a flourish of whipped cream, caramel, nuts, chocolate shavings and bananas, of course. If you prefer, buy the caramel sauce instead of making it. For best results, use good-quality ingredients. The pie needs to be made 1 day ahead to set, and can be stored, wrapped and frozen, for up to 4 days. From Daniela Galarza.
For the caramel
• 1/3 c. sugar
• 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
• 1/2 c. heavy cream or half-and-half
For the crust
• 4 c. dried mini pretzels
• 1/4 c. sugar
• 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
For assembling the pie
• 1 1/2 c. chocolate ice cream
• 2 large ripe but firm bananas
• 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, divided
• 1 1/2 c. strawberry ice cream
• 1 1/2 c. vanilla ice cream
• 1 c. heavy cream
• 1/2 c. strawberry jam
• 1 bar of dark chocolate, preferably 70%
• 1/3 c. shelled toasted walnuts or salted peanuts, roughly chopped, optional
• 5 to 8 maraschino cherries
• 5 to 8 fresh cherries, pitted, optional
To make the caramel sauce: Heat a small stainless-steel skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Sprinkle in some of the 1/3 cup sugar and watch for it to melt, then sprinkle in more. When all of the sugar is added, decrease the heat to medium, add the salt and stir until the caramel turns the color of a penny. This could happen in less than 1 minute, or it could take a few minutes. Turn off the heat. If any sugar clumps together, break it up with a spoon.
Carefully whisk in the cream; the mixture will sizzle and spatter; take care not to let it splatter onto your skin. If the sugar seizes, turn the heat to low and cook, whisking, until the sugar melts again and the caramel is smooth, 5 to 8 minutes.
Pour the caramel into a heat-safe container, cover and set aside until ready to serve.
To make the crust: Butter a 9-inch regular or deep-dish pie plate.
In a food processor, grind the pretzels until almost fine, leaving a few small bits for texture. (Alternatively, place the pretzels in a zip-top plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin.) Stir in 1/4 cup sugar, then the butter, and combine thoroughly. The mixture should look like wet sand.
Transfer the crust mixture into the pie plate and, using your fingers, press it into the bottom and up the sides of the plate. Transfer the plate to the freezer and let chill while you prepare the pie, for at least 10 minutes or, covered, for as long as 1 week.
To assemble the pie: Let the chocolate ice cream soften on the counter for about 10 minutes.
Remove the crust from the freezer. Peel 1 banana and slice it into 1/3-inch rounds. Lay the banana slices evenly over the crust and sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice.
Working quickly, use a spoon and/or a small spatula to spread the chocolate ice cream evenly over the crust, smoothing it out as you go. Return the pie to the freezer for about 10 minutes, or until the chocolate layer is almost solid. Remove the strawberry ice cream from the freezer and let it soften on the counter while the pie chills.
Remove the pie from the freezer and, working quickly, scoop the strawberry ice cream over the chocolate layer, smoothing it out as you go. Return the pie to the freezer for about 10 minutes, or until the strawberry layer is almost solid. Remove the vanilla ice cream from the freezer and let it soften on the counter while the pie chills.
Remove the pie from the freezer and, working quickly, scoop the vanilla ice cream over the strawberry layer, smoothing it out as you go. Return the pie to the freezer for about 10 minutes, or until the vanilla layer is almost solid; if making in advance, tightly cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight until ready to serve.
To serve: Use a well-chilled medium bowl and whisk, or a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, to whip the cream just until fluffy and stiff peaks hold. (Whipping by hand will take longer than with a mixer.) If making the whipped cream in advance, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (you may need to re-whip).
In a small bowl, stir the strawberry jam with 1 tablespoon warm water until thin enough to drizzle; strain. If making in advance, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Peel the remaining banana and slice it as the first. Pull the pie out of the freezer and top with the banana slices. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice. Top with the whipped cream and drizzle the strawberry and caramel sauces over.
Using a vegetable peeler, shave curls of dark chocolate on top and sprinkle with the nuts, if using, and maraschino cherries and fresh cherries, if using.
Dip the pie plate into a shallow pool of warm water to help loosen the crust. Slice and serve right away, with extra sauce on the side. (To get cleaner slices, dip the knife in hot or warm water and wipe dry with a towel between slices.)