Our weekend pie extravaganza continues today with four more pies entered in our Bakeoff. This one is a homestyle classic - but improved. It has homemade vanilla pudding, a soggy-proof crumb crust, and a way to use up overripe bananas. Sounds good to us! Read all about EJ's banana cream pie and how she designed this version of a classic.
Where is this recipe from? Several years ago, a large group of friends and I were staying at my father's house. My brother, who loves to cook in volume, bought two bags of very ripe bananas to help feed everyone. The two of us were considering what to make with the bananas, when my dad suggested banana cream pie but then complained that pudding pie crust is so often soggy.
This made me think of using the crumb crust from my favorite cheesecake recipe. I have been making this pie at all seasons of the year ever since, and unorthodox as it is, it often graces holiday tables in my family.
Why is this the BEST pie recipe you've got? It's easy to make and is a popular way to use up super-ripe bananas, but the real reason it's a gem is that the crust is soggyness-proof and complements the flavor of the vanilla pudding and bananas beautifully. This pie is a great dessert after a fancy dinner, but add a nice cup of coffee and it also makes a fabulous (though not perhaps extra healthy!) breakfast.
Banana Cream Pie
9 graham crackers (equals 1 cup crumbs)
1/4 cup walnuts or filberts
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pulverize the graham crackers and nuts in a blender or food processor. (If you are very low tech and don't have these appliances, place the graham crackers in a sturdy ziplock bag and smash them with a rolling pin, and grind the nuts in a rotary hand grinder.)
Place the graham cracker crumbs, nuts, sugar, and butter in a medium bowl and stir carefully until fully incorporated. The crust will still be crumbly at this stage. Pour the crust mixture into a 9" or 10" pie plate, and press it against the sides and bottom until it is firm and evenly distributed.
Bake 5 minutes at 350 degrees, then place on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups milk
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large or 3 small very ripe bananas
Measure cornstarch, sugar, and salt into a medium saucepan and stir carefully. Add milk, egg, and egg yolk, and whisk until combined. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir carefully with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the filling comes to a quiet simmer. Continue to stir for 60-90 seconds.
Remove from heat, pour through a strainer into a medium bowl. Carefully stir butter and vanilla into filling and set aside.
Working quickly, peel the bananas and slice them into 1/4"-1/2" slices. Arrange the slices in the pie crust (which should have cooled slightly by now). Pour the filling mixture over the bananas and smooth the top. Refrigerate until well chilled, then serve!
Note: You will probably have some extra filling left over – but since the filling is essentially a basic vanilla pudding, you can just put it in pudding dishes and enjoy!