Kids in the Kitchen- Banana Caramel Cream Dessert

If you've been a regular reader of TLB, you know how much I strive to encourage my kids love of cooking. I wasn't given the chance to experiment in the kitchen as a kid so I've wanted to make sure my kids had the chance to become independent & confident in the kitchen from an early age. Hey, it ensures before too long I'll have my own built in chefs!! ha

My girls love to read my cooking magazines or search the internet for new recipe ideas. I bet a day doesn't go by that they aren't pesting to make something or other. Thankfully they are old enough that all I do is glance over their recipe to make sure we have the ingredients and that it isn't something that they'll blow up my kitchen with. From there I tell them to go for it. You won't find me even near the kitchen let alone hovering over them telling them what to do, they are their own unless they have a question which they won't hesitate to come and ask me.

The only rules I have for allowing them to cook is that they have to clean up after themselves and do ALL the dishes they made (we wash by hand, *gasp* I know, we are behind times in not using a dishwasher)

With that said, their latest creation was a banana caramel cream dessert. We didn't have the caramel sauce that it called for so they improvised and sprinkled on some butterscotch chips we had. Courtesy of my girls, the recipe is below, enjoy!

banana caramel cream dessert, dessert, recipe, banana

Vanilla Pastry Cream (recipe below)
Bananas (I used two bananas for 6 small dessert servings)
Good quality caramel sauce, or dulce de leche.
Fresh whipped cream (I used 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream and 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar)
Graham Cracker crumble (recipe below)
Vanilla Pastry Cream
2/3 cup sugar (can be reduced to 1/2 cup if you prefer desserts less sweet)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)
In a medium bowl,  beat eggs with a fork to combine.  Set aside.
Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan.  Gradually pour in milk, while whisking, to make a smooth mixture.  Cook over medium heat, stirring almost constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils.  Continue to cook and stir one minute.
Pour several tablespoons of the hot mixture into the bowl with the eggs and immediately stir well.  Pour warmed egg mixture into the pan with the rest of the hot milk mixture.  Return to a slow boil, and cook one minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.  Set aside to cool.  When the pan has cooled, place in the refrigerator to fully cool.  Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the top surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming.
Graham Cracker Crumble
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 full sized crackers)
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 Tablespoon sugar
Crush crackers in a large ziplock type bag.  Pour crumbs, sugar and melted butter into a bowl and , stir until fully combined.  Pour into a 9″x13″ casserole dish and press into a even layer.  Bake at 350*F for 10-12 minutes, until light brown.  Allow to cool.
Dessert assembly~
1.  Spoon about 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumble into individual serving dishes.  Press crumbs down.
2.  Add a layer of pastry cream into each dish.  For easy assembly, fill a large ziplock type bag with the pastry cream, snip off the end and fill the dishes from this bag.
3.  Add a few slices of banana.
4.  Top bananas with a layer of whipped cream.
5.  Add some graham cracker crumble and a drizzle of caramel (scoop caramel or dulce de leche into a small ziplock bag and snip off the end for easy application).
Repeat layers 2-5
Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 3 hours.  Top with a slice of fresh banana just before serving.
Note:  I used 6 small dessert dishes.   If you make 6 desserts, you will have pastry cream and graham cracker crumble left over.  If you want to make more desserts, or one large trifle dish, you will have enough pastry cream and graham cracker crumble for 10-12 individual desserts.  For a large trifle, or more than 6 individual desserts I would double the amount of whipped cream listed above.
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