A good banana cream pie is the type of dessert that can make any meal feel like a special occasion, with a thick creamy center full of banana goodness, surrounded by a luxurious custard there’s a reason why banana cream pie has been considered a classic dessert for so long.
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Most people think of banana cream pies as a classic diner dessert, slowly spinning around in a chilled glass case. With its multiple layers and custard filling the idea of making a banana cream pie from scratch can make it feel like you’re unearthing a relic from another era. Something that can be intimidating for some home cooks who get turned off by how complicated the pie looks from the outside.
While it is true that making a truly great banana cream pie does take a little time and some skill, that’s ok, desserts this good should take a little work, otherwise, we might eat them every day, and what’s the fun in only making things a monkey could do in five minutes.
Why the Best Banana Cream Pies are Made from Scratch
The best banana cream pies have a velvety texture and are filled with the soft mellow flavor of bananas which is why this homemade banana cream pie recipe uses a little butter and an extra banana to take the custard up a notch. It also has a graham cracker crust that compliments that filling with a sweet crunch in every bite.
The easiest way to make a banana cream pie is to build it from the bottom up. If you start with the crust, followed by the custard, and save the whipped cream until it’s time to assemble the pie it’s easy to keep track of what needs to be done and there’s very little downtime.
The pie can be served immediately or kept in the fridge. Banana cream pie will keep in the fridge for several days.
If you’re interested in how cream pies come together read The Secret Behind Custards and Whipped Cream is the Secret to Making a Perfect Banana Cream Pie.
- 1-3/4 cups milk, prefer 1 percent
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
- 5 bananas, firm but ripe
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 graham cracker, loosely crushed
- 6 oz graham crackers, crushed or 10 sheets
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 6 tbsp butter, melted
Graham Cracker Pie Crust
- Using a food processor pulverize the graham crackers until they look like large grains of sand.
- In a medium bowl, mix the crushed graham crackers with the sugar and melted butter, stirring until everything is combined.
- Pour the mixture into the center of an ungreased pie pan and using a measuring cup or small glass with a flat bottom compact the mixture into the shape of the pan. It helps if you work from the center to the outside of the pan. Using your fingers to form the crust along the edges.
- Bake the crust in a 300ºF oven for 10 minutes. Let the crust cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack before using it for chilled desserts.
- To make the custard, heat the milk in a small saucepan until it is hot, but hasn’t come to a boil. While the milk is heating up, separate the eggs
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan whisk the yolks with the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
- Once the eggs have been mixed with everything start to add the milk. It’s important to add the milk slowly to temper the yolks. While whisking, drizzle in a 1/4 cup or so of the hot milk. Once the first bit of milk has been incorporated, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream while continuing to whisk.
- Once the milk has been added, put the pan over medium heat and continue to whisk while the mixture thickens, this usually takes 5 to 8 minutes. Continue whisking until it reaches a pudding like consistency. Remove it from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
- Let the mixture stand for five minutes. While it’s resting, cut the butter up into little bits. After the custard has taken its short nap, whisk in the butter until it is smooth. Cut up and mash or whisk one banana into the custard.
- To chill the mixture, you can either press a piece of plastic wrap against the top to create an airtight seal and stick it into the fridge for at least a half hour or set the pan in a larger bowl filled with ice and water for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally.
Topping and Assembly
- To assemble the pie, peel the bananas and cut them into 1/4 inch thick slices.
- Whisk the custard to loosen it before spreading a small amount over the pie crust. Place the banana slices on top of the crust. Spread the rest of the custard on top of the bananas.
- In a mixer, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla together until it has thick peaks. Spread over the custard.
- To finish sprinkle bits of crushed graham crackers across the top of the pie.