If you love bananas, you will love this mile high authentic banana cream pie. This recipe is light, sweet, and creamy. It is the perfect dessert for an Easter brunch or any springtime celebration.
Sunday was a beautiful sunny day and it made me want to make something that reminds me of spring. So, I made a banana cream pie. I know my good friend, Debbie, is crazy for banana cream pie. So I knew that she would happily eat some. So after I finished making it, I kept one slice for me and took the rest over to her house. She loved it! The next day, as proof that it was a hit, she sent me a picture of the pie plate with one lonely piece left in it! Apparently, banana cream pie is the breakfast of champions!
This dessert is made completely from scratch and it is by far my favorite banana cream pie recipe. The crust is flaky. The filling is luscious and creamy with a layer of fresh bananas. And, it is topped with a mountain of fresh whipped cream. What I love about this pie is that it delivers a lovely banana flavor in the filling, along with sliced bananas in every bite.
Did you know that the first version of banana cream pie goes back to the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. The earliest banana pie recipe called for filling a baked pie crust with sliced bananas, placing it in the oven for a few minutes until the fruit softened and then topping it with whipped cream. No custard in the pie at all. I am glad the recipe evolved, but talk about simple!
Pointers for making a delicious banana cream pie
This pie calls for a blind baked pie shell. In case you don’t know that term, it simply means that you will bake the pie shell without a filling. You can also purchase a frozen pie crust if that makes it easier. Personally I don’t mind making a homemade crust. I am getting better at crimping the edges, so I feel a sense of accomplishment when my crust comes out pretty! But at the end of the day, it is all about the taste not the crimping. This recipe is tasty, flaky and it holds up well with any filling. So crimp or don’t, it really doesn’t matter, it will be delicious either way.
There are a couple of things that I have found are critical to making a good crust. First make sure that you use cold butter and ice-cold water. Second, put the crust in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before you bake it. Putting the cold dough in the oven means that the butter is going to melt into the dough and create the flaky crust that you are looking for.
The filling is a custard, which is a cooked pudding made with eggs. This recipe uses corn starch as a thickening agent and when combined with eggs, milk, and heavy cream it creates a creamy custard.
Start by beating the egg yolks and heavy cream together and set it aside. Combine the dry ingredients in a saucepan and add the milk. Whisk over medium heat until the liquid is hot, and the sugar is completely dissolved. Now you need to add the egg mixture to the hot milk mixture. Tempering the eggs before adding them to the hot milk will prevent the eggs from scrambling. To do this, add a few spoonful of hot milk to the eggs and whisk briskly. Now you can pour the eggs into the milk in a slow stream while continuing to whisk the mixture. Many recipes require you to strain the custard through a fine sieve, but I have not found the need to do that. Just make sure that you stream the egg in slowly and you should get a nice smooth custard that does not have any lumps.
It is important to make sure that you are scraping the bottom of the pan as you whisk the mixture so that the custard does not stick. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens and large air bubbles boil up from the bottom of the pan. This is when the custard is ready to be removed from the heat. The custard should be thick but creamy.
Once you remove it from the heat, whisk in the banana extract and butter. Pour the custard into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap so that the plastic is pressed against the entire surface of the custard. This will keep a “skin” from forming on top. Place it in the refrigerator or about an hour. This will help it to set.
Assembling the pie
When you are ready to assemble your pie, you can either start with a layer of bananas on the bottom of the crust or half of the custard. I like to start with the custard. The arrange a layer of sliced bananas, followed by the remaining custard. Finally top the whole thing with mounds of whipped cream. If you have any banana slices left over feel free to decorate the top of the pie with them.
Banana Cream Pie
- 8 or 9 inch pie plate, pie weights or something that can b used to weigh the center of the crust down (beans, rice, or sugar can be used).
- 2½ cups Flour
- 1 cup Butter cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Sugar
- ½ cup Water ice cold
- ½ cup Sugar
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- 4 tbsp. Corn starch
- 1½ cups Milk
- ½ cup Heavy cream
- 3 Egg yolks large
- 2 tbsp. Butter unsalted
- 1 tsp. Banana extract
- 4 Bananas sliced
Whipped Cream Topping
- 2 cups Heavy cream
- 5 tbsp. sugar
- ½ tsp. Cream of Tartar
- 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
- Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Add the butter to the flour and mix with a spoon to coat all of the butter. Then using a pastry cutter or two forks ,cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal with pea sized pieces of butter.
- Add water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix with a spatula or a wooden spoon. The dough should start to come together.
- Pour the dough on to a work surface and press the dough together with your hands crating a ball. Divide the dough in half and flatten into discs. Wrap each disc tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for two days. When you are ready to use the dough, allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling it out.
- Lightly flour your work surface and the top of the pie crust disc. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough and turn a quarter of turn, continuing this process until the dough is between ¼-⅛" thick.
- Transfer the dough to a pie plate. Trim the dough by cutting it slightly larger then the edge of pie rim. If you would like, crimp the edges of the pie using our fingers or use a fork to press the edges down along the rim to create a decorative edge.
- Peirce all across the center and along the sides of the pie shell. Refrigerate the crust for at least 30 minutes.
- When you are ready to bake the crust, cover it with aluminum foil and fill the center with pie, weights, beans, rice or sugar. You can use anything that has some weight and will keep the bottom of the crust from bubbling up.
- Place the pie crust in a 350° oven and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool completely before filling it.
- In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites and heavy cream together and set aside.
- Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium sized pan. Add the milk and stir. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture starts to boil. This should take about 2 minutes.
- Add one ladle of the hot liquid to the egg mixture and whisk well. Then lower the temperature of the cornstarch mixture to medium low and pour the tempered egg mixture into the pan in a slow stream while whisking constantly. Continue to whisk the mixture until it begins to thicken and large bubbles boil up from the bottom of the pan. about another 2 minutes. The mixture should be thick but creamy.
- Remove it from the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter and banana extract.
- Pour the filling into a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Press the plastic wrap down on to the surface of the filling so that cream is completely sealed. This will keep a "skin" from form on the surface. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- When you are ready to assemble the pie, peel and slice the banana into ½" thick slices.
- When the filling is cooled, pour half of the filling into the pie shell. Arrange the sliced bananas on top of the filling and then pour the remainder of the filling over the bananas.
- Top with the Whipped cream.
- In a cold bowl, combine the heavy cream, sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the heave cream on medium high speed until the cream has thickened and stiff peaks form. About 3-4 minutes.