Banana Cream Pie

Banana cream pie is something that I have never had before now, but I have always thought it sounded amazing.  Don’t you?  How could you not be immediately hooked by such a title?  To be perfectly honest though, I never even knew what it consisted of.  I assumed it was some sort of banana pudding-y base with mounds of cream on top.  I am sure that some people or restaurants pass off such a creation as banana cream pie, but now I stand corrected.  

You start with a classic pie crust, and layer pastry cream with sliced bananas.  This particular version from Dorie Greenspan uses a brown sugar pastry cream flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg – way to go, Dorie!  The topping does consist of a gigantic mound of whipped cream – yummmmmm.  The original recipe calls for mixing a couple tablespoons of sour cream into the topping.  I tasted it before and after, and I wasn’t crazy about the addition of the sour cream.  I don’t think it added much but did just cut the sweetness of the topping.  Personally I think the pastry cream and banana slices would pair nicely with the sweeter whipped cream, so next time I will omit the sour cream altogether.  

You definitely need to be a fan of bananas to enjoy this, because banana most definitely plays a starring role.  As it should be of course, given the name of the dessert.  I expected this to be a mess once cut into but it actually sliced beautifully.  Unfortunately the light was gone by the time this was sliced, but it was also devoured so rapidly I’m not sure I could have taken a picture if I had tried.  I’m submitting this recipe to Flavor of the Month hosted by Bake at 350, since the “flavor” for July is pie.  Enjoy! 


Banana Cream Pie
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For the crust:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3 tbsp. very cold water 

For the pastry cream and filling:
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into bits

3 ripe but firm bananas, plus extra for garnish (if desired)

For the topping:
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract

To make the crust, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar and salt.  Add in the butter and toss with a fork to combine.  Mix on low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Mix in the water on low speed just until the dough comes together.  Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425° F.  Transfer the chilled dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Roll out the dough into a thin round large enough to fit a 9-inch round pie plate.  Carefully transfer the dough to the pie plate, trim the edges and use your thumb and fingers to crimp the edge.  Cover with a piece of foil or parchment paper, and fill the pie plate with baking beads (dried beans or rice works too.)  Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the crust is nearly set.  Remove the foil and baking beads and bake the crust uncovered for 5 more minutes, or until it is completely baked and light golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

In the meantime, make the pastry cream.  Bring the milk to a boil.  Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until well blended and thick.  Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about ¼ cup of the hot milk to temper the eggs so that they don’t curdle.  Then, still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream.  Put the pan over medium heat and, still whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil.  Allow to boil, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes before removing from the heat.  Whisk in the vanilla extract.  Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the custard is smooth and silky.  Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the custard and refrigerate until cold.  

When you are ready to assemble the pie, peel the bananas and cut them diagonally into ¼-inch thick slices.  Whisk the chilled custard to loosen it, then spread about a quarter of it over the cooled pie crust (this will be a thin layer).  Top with a layer of banana slices.  Repeat, adding a thin layer of pastry cream and the remaining bananas, then smooth the rest of the pastry cream over the last layer of bananas.  

To make the topping, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream just until it starts to thicken.  Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract and continue to beat until the cream holds firm peaks.  Spoon the topping over the pie filling and spread to cover the edges of the custard.  Garnish with extra banana slices, if desired.  Slice and serve (this pie is best eaten the day it is made.)

Source: adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan (pie crust from Williams Sonoma)

38 Responses

  1. I had no idea brown sugar was part of that bottom layer!!

    This looks absolutely scrumptious!
    And you did a lovely job on the whipped topping!

    Love your website! and your little boy is just adorable!
    I’ll be back to visit!

    Ann Marie

  2. This is such a beautiful pie! Banana cream pie is one of my dad’s favorites, but I’ve never made it before. I’d love to try this recipe. The cinnamon and nutmeg flavored pastry cream sounds incredible!

  3. This is exactly like something my Grandma made!! Looks delicious!

  4. Brown Sugar Pastry Cream….OH MY! I’ll bet that was the most delicious banana cream pie EVER! I need to try this!

    Thank you so much for participating in Flavor-of-the-Month!!! 🙂

  5. One my mothers favorite desserts. I think I am going to have to make it for her! Thanks again for another great recipe!

  6. Isn’t this pie amazing? I made it last week and it was so divine. I could have eaten the brown sugar custard straight out of the bowl.

  7. Banana cream pie is something I’ve only had at Picadilly *hangs head in shame*. I’ve always loved it, but now I’ll have to try and make it at home!

  8. Lovely pie! And the pastry cream…oh, goodness. Yum!

  9. This looks wonderful! Do you have a recipe for Coconut Cream?

    • Hi Sara!
      Yes, I actually do have one but I haven’t tried it yet. I hope to try it very soon though, it sounds divine!!
      🙂 Annie

  10. This looks amazing! I need to try this:)

  11. Yay, for PIE! 🙂 Yours looks great. My children are HUGE fans of bananas I don’t know why I hadn’t thought to make this pie for them. Thanks!

  12. This is nothing like the banana cream pie of my childhood….this looks AMAZING!!! You are so talented, Annie!

  13. A pastry cream with cinnamon and nutmeg ??? This must be delicious ! I’ve never tasted a banana cream pie either but I’d really love to !!!

  14. How beautiful this is…one of my childhood favorites!

  15. This was my choice for TWD a few months back!! It was fantastic! Great looking pictures! 🙂

  16. This looks AMAZING!

  17. just luscious! this has the one thing banana pudding (one of my favorites) lacks–a pie crust! nicely done, annie. 🙂

  18. Oh my goodness!! Banana cream pie could most possibly be my absolute favorite dessert in all of the world. I MUST find an occasion to make this soon!!! 🙂

  19. This post reminded me of the first dessert dish I ever really created. It was a Hawaiin Banana Cream Pie… I think I did use a pudding filling though… It’s saved somewhere on my computer. I should post it tonight! I remember something about grinding macademia nuts into the graham cracker crust, and sprinkling toasted coconut flakes on top. Yummy!

    That brown sugar filling sounds very tasty indeed!

  20. If I could make this pie for my husband, I could probably get anything I wanted. Looks amazing!!

  21. I just met a nice woman who loves banana cream pie. We have found some good pie but we are still in search of the perfect banana cream pie. Yours looks like it would end our search, however, we are having a grand time looking.

  22. You know, I don’t think I’ve ever had banana cream pie, but yours looks so delicious I might have to try some. There is a restaurant near us that makes homemade pineapple cream pies and they are fantastic!

  23. This looks fantastic! I am from the South so Banana Cream Pie is something I have at least once a month, and I think yours looks so delicious! This is a gourmet Banana Cream Pie in my eyes, my family has always just mixed the bananas in the banana pudding and put that in the pie shell. Topped with a mountain of Cool Whip.

  24. one of my all time favorites. nicely done!

  25. It looks wonderful and the topping almost loos meringue like in it’s perfection. I would love to dig into this! Pass a spoon 🙂

  26. Oh my! This banana cream pie looks absolutely delicious! It is summer and it’s hot! This pie would be the perfect solution. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Please help….I decided to make this pie last night, the crust is perfect but the cream will not thicken. I even left it in the fridge overnight to get extra cold…I followed the directions exactly and can’t figure out what I did wrong…

    • Hi Kara,
      It sounds like the custard didn’t quite reach a high enough temp when you were cooking it. It needs to be at least 170 (I go for about 175) – just not more than 180. Did you use a thermometer? I don’t know if there is a way to save it now – I suppose you could try cooking it again. Sorry it didn’t work out!
      🙂 Annie

  28. Hi,
    I discovered this Blog a week ago and saved many cake recipes in my Favorite websites.
    this is the first cake we tried, and it was great. the cake is a bit heavy on the stomach, but the taste is wonderful.
    we upgraded it a little bit with some chocolate fudge we made from some bitter chocolate and heavy cream. when the fudge was chill enough, we put a large amount of it on the second layer of cream and banana. this upgrade was great and the recipe is now forward in the family e-mail 🙂

  29. Hi Annie!

    I just have a quick question for you. I know this probably sounds stupid, but do you think I can use the same pie recipe but with a graham cracker crust? We have a really great old family friend who isn’t doing too well lately and this is her absolute favorite kind of pie. I would love to make it for her to cheer up but I know for a fact that she loves pie with a graham cracker crust. Thank you so much and this pie looks so fantastic!

    • Hi Amanda,
      Yes, I have actually done that for an order before. I think it’s better with regular pie crust, but graham cracker works fine.

  30. Hi Annie,
    I know you say at the bottom of the post that it is best eaten the day it is made, but would it still taste as good and hold as well the day after it is made? I would like to make this as a dessert after a brunch and would most likely make it the day before.
    Thank you 🙂

  31. This is the BEST banana pie I’ve ever tasted!
    An answer to Melissa’s question, the pie still tastes as good the next day but I wouldn’t put sliced banana’s on the top or else they would brown too much If your only serving it the next day.

  32. Hi Annie!

    When you say 1/3 cup of cornstarch, sifted, so you mean 1/3 cup of sifted cornstarach, or 1/3 cup of cornstarch and then sifted? I left the custard overnight in the fridge, and it thickened into a pudding that was impossible to spread! I think I might have used too much cornstarch 😦


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