Banana Cream Pie

published Jun 14, 2024
thanksgiving
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In a lineup of classic Southern pies like sweet potato and pecan pie, banana cream pie wins first place for being literal sunshine in a pie dish. Cold pastry cream filling, fresh bananas, a flaky pie crust, all topped with dollops of fluffy whipped cream? It’s a recipe for smiles. But the best part about this banana cream pie is that it’s the ideal make-ahead dessert. In fact, making this pie ahead is a key component to getting it right — the chilling time is as much of an ingredient as the bananas or cream. 

Why You’ll Love It

  • The homemade filling is absurdly dreamy (and surprisingly easy!) While we love using the store-bought vanilla box for banana pudding, making it from scratch for this pie is well worth the effort. 
  • It’s best to make ahead. Most of the components — the crust and pastry cream — can be made up to a day ahead.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

Key Ingredients in Banana Cream Pie

  • Bananas. You’ll need 3 ripe but firm bananas for both a layer in the pie and decorating on top. Here’s how best to store them.
  • Pie dough. You can use a store-bought pie dough or make your own flaky pie crust.
  • Milk and cream. Heavy cream goes in both the pastry cream and whipped cream; you’ll need 1 pint. You’ll also need whole milk for the pastry cream.

How to Make Banana Cream pie

  1. Blind bake the pie dough. Roll out pie dough and bake the pie shell until light golden-brown.
  2. Make the pastry cream. Make the pastry cream with eggs, milk, cream, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla. Refrigerate to chill and thicken.
  3. Make the whipped cream. When ready to serve, whip heavy cream with powdered sugar until firm peaks form.
  4. Assemble the pie. Fill the bottom of the pie shell with a layer of cut bananas. Top with the pastry cream, then finish with the whipped cream. Arrange more banana slices decoratively on top.

Helpful Swaps

  • Store-bought refrigerated or frozen pie dough can be used in place of homemade.
  • A baked graham cracker crust can be substituted for the flaky pie crust.
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar can be substituted for the powdered sugar in the whipped cream.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

Storage and Make-Ahead Tips

  • The pie dough can be made up to 4 days ahead and refrigerated or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Let cold pie dough sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling out.
  • The pie dough can be baked up to 1 day ahead. Let cool, wrap up tightly, and store at room temperature.
  • The pastry cream can be made up to 2 days in advance.
  • Cover leftover pie loosely with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

More Banana Desserts

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

Banana Cream Pie Recipe

It’s time banana gets a starring role.

Prep time 30 minutes to 55 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Makes 1 (9-inch) pie

Serves 8 to 12

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour, for rolling

  • 1

    store-bought or homemade pie crust (1/2 recipe flaky pie crust), thawed if frozen or refrigerated for at least 1 hour

  • 1 1/2 cups

    whole milk

  • 1/2 cup

    heavy cream

  • 1/3 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 4

    large egg yolks

  • 1/4 cup

    cornstarch

  • 2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • 3

    ripe medium bananas, divided

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 1/2 cups

    cold heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup

    powdered sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Lightly flour a work surface. Place 1 pie crust on it and roll out to a 12-inch round. Transfer it to a 9-inch pie pan (not deep-dish). Press it into the bottom and up the sides. Trim all but 1 inch of the excess pie dough from around the edge. Fold the edge under itself, then crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork. Using a fork, poke holes all over the bottom of the crust. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the pastry cream.

  2. Place 1 1/2 cups whole milk, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a medium saucepan and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Place over medium heat and cook, swirling occasionally, until steaming but not boiling, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, fit a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Place 4 large egg yolks and 1/4 cup cornstarch in a second medium heatproof bowl and whisk until smooth.

  3. Turn off the heat. Use a measuring cup or ladle to scoop out about 1 cup of the steamed milk. While whisking constantly, slowly pour it into the egg mixture and whisk until combined. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture.

  4. While whisking continuously, cook over medium heat until the pastry cream just comes to a simmer around the edges and starts to thicken, 1 1/2 to 3 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and whisk until combined.

  5. Pour the pastry cream into the strainer. Push through the strainer with a flexible spatula; scrape the pastry cream on the underside of the strainer into the bowl. Discard the contents of the strainer. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days. Meanwhile, blind bake the pie dough.

  6. Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Place the pie dish on a baking sheet. Line the crust with parchment paper or aluminum foil, making sure to completely cover the bottom and sides and pressing it up against the sides. Fill the crust with pie weights.

  7. Bake until the edges of the crust start to turn golden-brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven. Grasp the corners of the parchment or foil, and lift the weights out of the pie. Transfer them to a bowl or plate to cool.

  8. Return the crust to the oven and bake until the edges are browned and the bottom is lightly golden-brown, 5 to 8 minutes more. Let cool completely, about 1 hour.

  9. Peel and slice 2 of the medium bananas crosswise into 1/2-inch rounds. Arrange the slices cut-side down in a single, tight layer in the crust, starting from the outside and working your way in towards the center.

  10. Transfer 1/2 cup of the pastry cream (reserve the plastic wrap) onto the bananas and use the back of a spoon or small offset spatula to push the cream into the empty spaces between the slices. Top with the remaining pastry cream and smooth out the top. Press the reserved plastic wrap directly against the surface of the pastry cream. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Make the whipped cream:

  1. When ready to serve, make the whipped cream: Place 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Beat with the whisk attachment on medium speed until firm peaks form, 4 to 5 minutes.

  2. Spoon the whipped cream evenly on top of the pie. Alternatively, pipe the whipped cream: Transfer it to a piping or zip-top bag. Cut off the bottom tip of the piping bag or one bottom corner of the zip-top bag with scissors. Pipe decoratively onto the pie.

  3. Peel and slice the remaining 1 medium banana crosswise into 1/2-inch rounds. Garnish the top of the pie with the slices.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The pastry cream can be made up to 2 days in advance.The pie dough can be made up to 4 days ahead and refrigerated or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Let cold pie dough sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling out.

Storage: Cover leftover pie loosely with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for up to 3 days (the whipped cream may start leaking).