Prep time: 1 hour
Total time: 2 hours 30 minutes
for the caramel:
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/8 cup light corn syrup
5 tablespoons rum
5 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 vanilla bean, scraped
4-5 bananas, peeled and sliced
make the cookie crust:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
4 ½ ounces unsalted butter, melted
for the pastry cream:
1 1/8 cup whole milk
5 large egg yolks
2 ounces unsalted butter, softened, cut into small dice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
for the dulce de leche diplomat filling:
1 1/4 cup pastry cream
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 ounces gelatin sheets
1 1/8 cup dulce de leche
1. Make the caramel: In a medium pot over high heat, stir together sugar, corn syrup, and 7/8 cup|215 ml water. Continue cooking on high and allow it to boil, undisturbed, until the mixture becomes a golden caramel color, about 10-15 minutes.
2. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in 3 tablespoons of the rum and butter until combined (tip: be careful, caramel will start bubbling quickly). Stir in salt and vanilla last.
3. Immediately pour the caramel onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow to cool, dry and set, about 30 minutes. It should harden slightly and resemble shiny glass. Once it's hardened, break it into very small bits using a rolling pin or your hand (alternatively, put pieces into a Ziploc bag and crush).
4. In a 9-inch paella pan, sprinkle enough of the caramel pieces to cover the bottom. Over medium-high heat, allow the caramel to melt. Remove from the heat and arrange the sliced bananas in a circular pattern. Return to the heat and when the caramel starts bubbling, deglaze with the remaining rum and continue cooking until the alcohol has evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat and chill in the fridge.
5. Make the cookie crust: Heat the oven to 350°F.
6. In a bowl, combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon|3 grams salt, and baking soda.
7. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar together on medium-low speed.
8. While mixing continuously, add the egg and incorporate, then add the dry ingredients in 2 additions and mix until a homogenous dough is formed.
9. Transfer the dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about ¼-inch thick. Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool.
10. In a food processor, pulse until cookie crumbs are powdery. Add remaining 1 teaspoon|5 grams salt and the melted butter and stir until combined. Set aside.
11. Make the pastry cream: In a large pot, bring the milk and half of the sugar to a boil, stirring.
12. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar with the cornstarch and egg yolks. Slowly whisk in ½ cup of the warm milk and sugar mixture and whisk until evenly combined.
13. Pour the mixture back into the pot of milk. On low to medium heat and while stirring constantly, bring the mixture almost to a simmer, taking care not to boil. Continue stirring for 1-2 minutes until thick.
14. Remove from the heat and add in the cubed butter. Stir until evenly combined. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool in the fridge.
15. Make the diplomat filing: In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cream until medium-stiff peaks form.
16. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the chilled pastry cream and dulce de leche until smooth.
17. In a small bowl, combine the water and gelatin. Microwave until gelatin is dissolved. Whisk a bit of the pastry cream mixture into the gelatin until combined. Then return it back to large bowl and whisk until smooth.
18. Gently fold in whipped cream using a rubber spatula until combined.
19. To finish: Remove chilled paella pan from fridge. Spread enough dulce de leche diplomat over the caramel and bananas to fill the pan just below the top. Sprinkle cookie crumb crust generously on top and gently press evenly with a flat-bottomed cup or glass. Let set in the fridge at least an hour before serving.
20. To serve: cut a slice and invert onto a plate, so the caramelized bananas are on top. Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.