Banana Cream Pie

Before waxing poetic about the deliciousness of this pie, I’m going to give you a few “outs” in case you are looking at this recipe saying “there’s no way I would make a pie crust from scratch” or “this is way too complicated and I’d rather stick with boxed banana pudding in a crust” or “the frilly piped whipped cream on top is unnecessary and fills me with loathing.”

Here are your outs:
1) While this graham cracker coated pie crust is one of the most delectable I’ve tasted, I also quite enjoy cream pies (like this one) in every day graham cracker crusts so if the thought of pie crust from scratch terrifies you, simplify your life and stick with a graham cracker crust (or follow this little tutorial on pie dough). I won’t judge you since I often do the same thing.

2) The homemade custard is integral to the classic, old-fashioned taste of this banana cream pie and although it may seem intimidating to make the pudding from scratch, let me assure you that if you can a) use a whisk and b) use a whisk quickly, you can conquer this. It’s really that easy and doesn’t take a whole lot of extra time.

3) For all you haters, no need to pipe the whipped cream on top. Just slather it on with a spatula and call it good. It will still taste fan-diddly-tastic.

That’s all the caveats for now. But rest assured that this is not a complicated process. However, the end result of homemade banana cream pie is swoon-worthy.

My Aunt Marilyn and I have a long-standing joke/laugh wondering what it is with men and banana cream pie. Has anyone else noticed this? It’s like Man’s Favorite Pie. I swear. I wonder if there have ever been any scientific studies about male feelings regarding banana cream pie. I want in on the research. And just so I don’t sound biased and gender prejudiced, women love this pie, too. And kids. And puppies, for all I know. But men, especially.

I tend to change loyalties to pie crust with the wind. I’m not a pie making expert by any means and so sometimes making pie crust terrifies me and fills me with angst but I’ve realized the only way I’ll conquer this fear is to keep making pies. Generally I eschew the use of vegetable shortening in just about everything (and usually use this all-butter pie dough) but I followed Cook’s Illustrated recommendation this time and made their favorite pie crust for cream pies, which uses butter and shortening and then rolls the pie crust in graham cracker crumbs (brilliant!) to give a wonderful hint of crunchy sweetness to the crust. Since the shortening didn’t cause us to all immediately grow an extra nose  and the crust tasted phenomenal, I hereby declare loyalty to this method for all cream pies in the future. Unless I get lazy and just want a straight-up graham cracker crust. But until then…I’m loyal, baby. The crust would have been my favorite part except that I began really tasting the luxurious vanilla custard smothering the tender slices of banana and was lost forever.

This is a good pie, my friends.

Banana Cream Pie

One Year Ago: Classic Chicken Noodle Soup
Two Years Ago: Tomato Bisque Soup
Three Years Ago: White Velvet Sugar Cookies

Old-Fashioned Banana Cream Pie

Yield: Serves 8

Old-Fashioned Banana Cream Pie

Ingredients

    Graham Cracker Coated Pie Crust:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 5 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and well-chilled
  • 4-6 tablespoons ice water
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 3-4 whole graham crackers)
  • Banana Cream Filling:
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups milk, anywhere from 1% to whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium bananas
  • Whipped Cream Topping:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. For the crust, mix the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor fitted with the steel blade or a medium bowl if doing this step by hand. Scatter chilled vegetable shortening over the flour mixture and process (or cut in by hand with a pastry blender or two knives) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Scatter the chilled butter pieces over the flour mixture and pulse again (or cut in by hand) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. If using a food processor, dump the mixture into a medium bowl.
  2. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. Stir and press the dough together, using a stiff rubber spatula, until the dough sticks together. If the dough does not come together, stir in remaining ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does. Spread a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and gently press the dough into a 4-inch flattened disk on top of the plastic wrap (the dough might still be a little shaggy, which is ok - it doesn't need to be as smooth as, say, sugar cookie dough, it just needs to be able to stay mostly together in a lump). Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Let it sit on the counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes before rolling.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Generously sprinkle your counter top or other work area with some of the graham cracker crumbs. Place the chilled disk of dough in the center of the crumbs. Scatter a few more crumbs over the top of the dough. Using firm, quick strokes with the rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12 or 13-inch circle, taking care to continue sprinkling additional crumbs (feel free to be heavy-handed with the sprinkling since it is better than having the crust stick and tear) underneath and on top, as necessary, to heavily coat the dough.
  4. Loosely roll the dough around the rolling pin and gently unroll it onto a 9-inch pie plate. Instead of pulling and stretching the dough to fit, gently lift the edges with one hand while easing the dough into the bottom of the plate with the other. Trim the crust to about 1/2-inch beyond the edge of the pie plate. Fold the excess overhang under itself so the folded edge is flush with the edge of the plate. Crimp the crust with your fingers to create a scalloped pie edge.
  5. Refrigerate the pie shell until firm, about 30 minutes. Line the chilled pie shell with a double layer of aluminum foil, covering the edges so they don't burn, and fill with dried beans, pie weights or other oven-safe weight. Bake until the pie crust looks dry and is light in color about 20-25 minutes. Remove the weights and foil carefully and continue to bake the crust until it is a golden brown, about 5-10 more minutes. Transfer the pie plate to a wire rack to cool completely while you make the pie filling.
  6. For the filling, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the half-and-half or heavy cream, followed by the egg yolks and finally the milk until the mixture is smooth. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low to medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and becomes smooth. This could take anywhere from 5-10 minutes from start to finish so be patient if it doesn't thicken quickly. The finished texture and thickness should be that of a not-quite set pudding - very thick but not gelatinous. Remove the pan from the heat and if desired, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to get rid of any possible lumps or little bits of cooked egg; whisk in the butter and vanilla to the hot pudding (strained or not, it's your choice). Let the mixture cool until just warm, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
  7. Pour half of the warm filling into the pre-baked pie shell. Peel and slice the bananas thinly on top of the filling and top with remaining filling. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly over filling surface. Refrigerate pie until it is completely chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 6 hours.
  8. For the topping, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla together until soft peaks form. Spread or pipe the whipped cream over the top of the pie. Refrigerate until ready to serve. The pie is best made and served the same day so the banana slices don't get mushy and browned.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/old-fashioned-banana-cream-pie/
Recipe Source: crust and filling adapted slightly from the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

53 Responses to Old-Fashioned Banana Cream Pie

  1. This sounds amazing. My husbands favorite pie, too! I think its because his mom always made them when he was growing up. This would be the type of pie I would make for his b’day since it sounds extra special.

  2. Now this pie is just pretty. Love it!

  3. Hmmm. I’ll have to make this for my husband to continue your research. However, I’ll stick with the pre-made graham cracker crust because I’m super lazy!

    Beautiful picture. I’m going to pin it!

  4. I´m just discovering banana pies and there´s a reason everybody likes them. They´re so good! Your piping is perfect!

  5. StephenC says:

    I agree that banana cream pie may be the greatest thing since the proverbial sliced bread, but a close competitor is chocolate cream pie.

  6. rosemary says:

    love ur peach and cream cake now i am going try this banana cream pie i am sure i am going love it too ty

  7. Mame M says:

    AH! My husband ADORES Banana Cream Pie. really, always asks for it! I make the custard from scratch, but just do a regular gram cracker pie crust … with the addition of miniature chocolate chips. They melt into the pie and make an AMAZING flavor. The custard I make seems a little different than yours …. I’d like to try them both and compare the two. LOVE your stuff! (p.s. congrats on your beautiful baby!!)

  8. Kim in MD says:

    This looks so delicious, and I have never made a CI recipe that I didn’t love! I don’t know if my husband likes banana cream pie because I have never made it for him. I’ll have to make this for him to see if your theory is correct! ;-)

  9. Wendy says:

    I saw this post and thought, my husband would love that. The only thing that would make it better is a layer of your DIY dulce de leche on the crust. :)

  10. Janeen says:

    This is my dad’s favorite type of pie too! He has it every year for his birthday. I’m pinning it so next time I can try making it for him myself :)

  11. Amy says:

    I will help you with your why do guys love banana cream pie so much research. I will make two pies, sometime in the next month or two and take them to both my sons who are living away at college, with 3 room mates each. OF course if it’s free food, being that they are in college, they will eat it. I will let you know if I get a request for more pies!
    Your little girl is so adorable!! Makes me want another one, and my last one is in college. Maybe I will just wait for grand children:)

  12. This looks outstanding! I love banana anything. BTW, what piping tip did you use for your decoration?

  13. Mel says:

    Alysha – I use a 1M Wilton tip (large star tip) for the piping.

  14. Allyson says:

    My man must be abnormal because he can’t stand banana cream pie, but I’d love to taste this! Crust sounds fantastic!

  15. Em says:

    Yes! My husband LoVeS banana cream pie too! Maybe I will make this for Fathers Day.

  16. Mariah says:

    What IS it with men & Banana cream pie?? Whatever it is, my Husband LOVES it. I’ll be making this, for sure!

  17. Tomi Ann says:

    Yup, I’m pretty sure this would send my hubs into a swoon (though he’s far too manly to swoon and admit it…). Maybe I’ll make it for our anniversary on Monday!

  18. grace says:

    i’ve made about 30 cream pies in the past couple of months, and i’m thrilled to say that it no longer intimidates me! this looks delicious, mel!

  19. April says:

    Oh my Lord, how I love anything “Banana Cream Pie.” The banana cream pie milkshake at Chick Fil A? Heaven on earth. Pretty sure this pie just made my list of summer desserts to try!

  20. Rachael says:

    You’re so right, I think most guys love this pie. It’s my husbands favorite. I just made your version, and now I’m excited for my husband to get home from work. I basically licked the saucepan clean because the filling is so delicious!

  21. Rebekah says:

    My husband wouldn’t touch banana cream pie with a 10 foot pole. He absolutely detests any sort of pudding or custard dessert, and with bananas added, that makes it 5 times worse in his mind. Oh, and he really doesn’t like any pies except mixed berry.
    He’s just a cake, cookie, brownie, or ice cream kind of guy. So while I think I’d really like this pie, I’m afraid I can’t make it, or I would end up eating most of it and my weight loss plan would go out the window. :)

  22. Debra Kapellakis says:

    mmmmm…

  23. Brittney says:

    Another amazing way is to half the Cook’s Country recipe/method for their banana pudding that uses the roasted bananas and use it for the pie filling. Oh my does it ever make an incredible pie. And seriously, my husband goes crazy for it! Men. And that little lady of yours is beyond adorable. I am so happy for you!

  24. Melanie says:

    My husband loves pie in general so I am going to try this out for him. His mother always just using pudding for the filling, so I’m pretty sure this will knock his socks off!
    PS–I use Martha Stewart’s all butter pie crust recipe in my food processor and it turns out perfect every time. I just found your blog and really love it!

  25. Juli says:

    Banana Cream Pie! Mine and my husband’s favorite pie….oh, and the kids too! I may have to make 2 of these pies seeing as there WILL be a huge demand! Thanks yet again!

  26. Tanya says:

    I have to tell you the first thought I had when I saw your beautiful pictures of the pie was, “Oh my husband is going to love this!” Then I read your part about being men’s favorite pie and I laughed out loud in my kitchen! :) Yes, this is my MAN’s favorite!! Banana cream all the way! Now I know what to make for Father’s Day in a few weeks. ;) Thanks!!

  27. Lizzy says:

    Just made this for my husband and when I came to the comments to tell you how easy and delicious it is (I did the scratch crust-it’s NOT hard, ladies!) I saw all the comments about husbands/men loving banana cream. Too funny. I’ve never been a big fan, but this version is excellent. Thanks for sharing!

  28. Ruchita says:

    I made this pie for my 4th of July celebration and it was a big hit! Seriously, this is one of the best pies I’ve ever tasted. I normally send food home with guests, but I had conveniently forgotton that this pie was in the fridge. My husband and I had plenty of leftovers for ourselves. :-)

    I made the homemade crust and was not hard to make. I made the crust and put it into the pie plate the night before and kept it refrigerated. Then I baked the crust and made the custard and whipped cream the day of the party.

    If needed, I think the entire pie could be made a day in advance, especially if you use less ripe bananas. When I ate the leftovers, the custard/banana flavor had deepened and the bananas had not gotten very mushy. The whipped cream topping also held up pretty well in the fridge. I used the Wilton 1M tip for the topping as well – it’s super easy, but looks real fancy. :-)

    Thanks for sharing this recpie!

  29. The idea of the graham cracker coated pie crust is pure genius! I am not a big banana cream pie kinda girl but I would make this just for the crust!

  30. [...] browsing the web.  I ended up combining ideas from a few places, but the main ideas came from here.  The end result topped with homemade whipped cream, was amazing and so rich you really [...]

  31. Carolyn says:

    Amazing! This is hands-down the very best banana cream pie I’ve ever eaten! The crust was tasty and unusual and the pudding base absolutely delicious! The only alteration I made was to sprinkle a handful of toasted sliced almonds on top of the finished pie. Thank you for this incredible recipe!

  32. [...] Old Fashion Banana Cream Pie from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe [...]

  33. Chloe says:

    Hi! I’m not American, but my family and I recently travelled to the States for a holiday. Unfortunately, we some how left it until the last day to try Banana Cream Pie – which we all found delicious (even my mother and I who dislike banana). With the memory of this flavour combination haunting my memories I decided to make this for my mum on Mother’s Day. It was a huge success! I’d like to thank for such an amazing and easy recipe!

  34. Christina says:

    Will the pie crust recipe work with vanilla wafers instead of graham crackers?

  35. Sherry zugliani says:

    Is there any or all of this pie that I can make ahead of time and freeze?

    • Mel says:

      Sherry – I don’t think this pie would freeze well – cream pies usually don’t freeze very well thanks to all the dairy and unfortunately, the bananas in this pie don’t make it work out very well to be made ahead (they turn brown).

  36. Sherry zugliani says:

    And thank you for the recipe I will let you know how my bananna lovers like it!!!

  37. Stacey says:

    I would like to know if anyone out there has blended their bananas and folded the mix into the filling?? Would this work??

  38. Doing my best says:

    You are so correct!!! I laughed at this cause my fiancé absolutely LOVES banana cream pie. His mom always made it for him. I love my future mother-in-law, but I’m the type to make things from scratch. And frankly, the instant pudding she uses has that artificial banana flavor I can’t stand. I’m not a banana lover, but artificial banana flavor is even more horrendous. So I’ve made banana cream pie from scratch for him only once out of the four years we’ve been together. It was labor intensive, took a ton very ripe bananas, and the crust was not how I wanted it. However, this recipe sounds great! I’m very intrigued by the crust alone. You get the best of both worlds!!! I HAVE to make this and continue to stick to my “I gotta make it from scratch” attitude.

  39. Angela says:

    Just finished making this & it is chilling as I write.. I did use a store bought crust but the filling was super easy and tastes REALLLLLLLY good! I can’t wait to slather on the whipped cream & serve it up!!! I know everyone will love it!

  40. Carmen says:

    Is it possible to chill the custard before putting it in the crust? Or must it be put in the crust while still warm?

  41. Pamela says:

    I made this pie a couple of days ago since DH was wanting a banana cream pie. It turned out beautiful. He and the kids loved it better than any store bought banana pie or other recipe they’ve had. Unfortunately I am allergic to bananas so I wasn’t able to taste it. I did sample the custard before adding the bananas and yum, the texture was spot on (I did strain it). It was gone in 2 days and they are already asking for it again.

  42. Mindy says:

    This pie is sooo yummy! I made MY FIRST PIE EVER this Thanksgiving and chose this one. It was pretty much the hit of thanksgiving. I was shocked that it was SOOO EASY!!! I am no longer intimidated by pie crust. Where have you been all my life Mel? LOL!!!
    Today I am making it for my husbands birthday. Special request:) I love making good food for my man! Thanks for the recipes!

  43. Tiffany says:

    I made this the day before yesterday and it tasted just as good yesterday my husband son and I loved it I also gave some to my neighbors and will get their responses later on today … I will be making another pie today (not sure what kind yet) but I will definitely be using your crust recipe to go with

  44. rugs 3'by5'' says:

    Howdy! This blog post could not be written much better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!

    He continually kept talking about this. I most certainly will
    forward this post to him. Pretty sure he’ll have a great read.

    I appreciate you for sharing!

  45. Beth says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! It was, hands down, one of the BEST banana cream pies that I’ve ever had. Love the crust!

  46. Jenny says:

    Hands down the best pie I’ve EVER had, my family thought so too. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  47. Tanya says:

    I’m planning on making this for my husband’s potluck at work. What’s the best way to prepare the pie ahead of time-ish? Should I leave the dough to chill overnight and make it the next morning, or leave the prepared pie shell overnight in the fridge…bake the crust at night and finish in the morning?

    • Mel says:

      Tanya – If it were me, I’d make the dough, put it in the pie plate and bake it – then let it cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it on the counter (if your house is cool and dry) or in the fridge and then fill it the next morning. Good luck.

  48. Megan says:

    I just made this today and found it to be fairly easy! I let it chill in the fridge and forgot to cover the top with plastic wrap and I touched the surface and it felt gelatinous… Do you think I overcooked the pudding or is the texture suppose to feel that way?

    • Mel says:

      Megan – I think it should be ok, especially where it will be served with whipped cream on top. The top stays a bit softer if covered in plastic wrap (instead of forming that tougher top crust on the pudding) but I’m guessing you’ll be just fine.

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