I used to really dislike making banana cream pie even though I loved the actual dessert. When I’d make it, I’d often end up with a soupy mess because my custard would never set properly.
I finally decided to go the French route and use a pastry cream for this banana cream pie, as I knew pastry cream would hold its shape.
After its success, I moved onto trying the cream in pastries like eclairs and cream puffs. The pastry cream recipe has become a go-to in my repertoire, and you’ll understand exactly why with this banana cream pie.
Some banana cream pie recipes call for boxed pudding mixes, but they’re honestly never as good as a pie made with homemade cream.
I’ve used both American pudding mixes and European pudding mixes, and they always have that artificial aftertaste, not to mention they’re way too sweet. It can be easy to settle for the store-bought route because, well, soupy custard, anyone?
But I promise you that this pastry cream recipe is incredibly easy to make and will set up very nicely. It just requires a bit of focused attention – that’s all.
If you promise not to leave your cream unattended on the stove, you will be guaranteed a banana cream pie that you won’t be able to get enough of.
For the crust, I like to use a graham cracker crust because any kind of biscuit (whether it’s graham crackers or vanilla wafers) pairs really well with a vanilla custard like this. I layer custard and banana slices on top of the crust so that each bite has a whole lot of tasty goodness in it.
Finally, I finish off my banana cream pie by piping freshly whipped cream on top, along with a drizzle of caramel sauce. When I tell you this is a pie everyone will love, I really mean it!
Banana Cream Pie
for the crust
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tbsp sugar white or brown
- 5 tbsp melted butter
for the cream filling
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3-4 slices bananas peel removed and cut into 1/2" thick
- 1 1/2 cups sweetened whipped cream
- 2 tbsp caramel sauce for drizzling
Begin by preparing the custard. Grab a large bowl; whisk the eggs and egg yolk with the granulated sugar until thick and pale yellow. Add the cornstarch, flour, and salt, and whisk again to combine.
Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Once steam rises from the milk and it begins to simmer along the edges, remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour about 1/4 cup of the milk into your bowl with the eggs, and whisk vigorously to combine.
Pour the entire egg mixture into the saucepan, and move the saucepan back over to the stove. With the heat on medium-low, continue to whisk the mixture until it thickens into a thick, pudding-like consistency. Do not take your eyes off the mixture and continue to whisk the entire time. This can take anywhere from 4 to 8 minutes.
Pour the hot cream into a large bowl, then follow with the vanilla extract. Whisk to blend in the vanilla and smooth out any clumps in your cream. Cover the cream with a sheet of plastic wrap, placing the plastic wrap directly onto the cream so that they're touching. Refrigerate until chilled.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a pie pan or springform pan. Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the 2 tbsp of sugar in a medium bowl with a rubber spatula. Then, pour in the melted butter and stir everything until all the crumbs are coated in the melted butter.
Pour the crumb mixture into the bottom of your prepared pan, then use your rubber spatula to pack the crumbs down into the pan and evenly smooth it out. Bake the crust for approximately 15 minutes, until golden. Remove the crust from the oven and let it completely cool in the pan.
To assemble, scoop some of the pastry cream onto the crust, carefully smoothing the cream out with the back of a spoon or with a rubber spatula. Place banana slices on top of the pastry cream in a radial pattern. Add another layer of pastry cream, and then again another layer of bananas. If you've got more cream, top the bananas with a final layer of cream. This just depends on how thick you made your pastry cream layers.
Cover the pie with plastic wrap, placing the plastic directly on the pastry cream, and refrigerate the pie for at least an hour. Before serving, add sweetened whipped cream to the top of the pie and drizzle with caramel sauce.