I’m a big fan of Banana Pudding. The Nila wafers, the bananas, the vanilla pastry cream. The balance of flavors and textures and sweetness all just mend together so freaking good. Plus it’s just so easy to make and is always a crowd pleaser. My only issue with banana pudding is it’s not exactly an elegant dessert to take to a gathering. Barbecue, perfect. But a more formal dinner, it’s not really a showstopper. And after all, the eyes eat first. Well, this banana cream pie is game changer. It’s an absolute stunner to look at, and its delicious. Keep reading so you can make it too. Take it to your next gathering. Everyone will wanna know who made it.
Making the pastry cream for the banana cream pie:
So pastry cream isn’t as complicated as many make it seem. I know it can be terrifying to think about cooking egg yolks into a smooth and cream cream that’s not eggy and scrambled, but I promise it’s so doable and honestly pretty easy.
You want to make sure to mix in the egg yolks with the sugar and cornstarch until fully combined. Sometimes I will add a splash of the cold half and half before boiling it. This gives enough liquid to whisk the yolk mixture smoothly. Once the yolk mixture is smooth and the half and half is hot you want to drizzle it in slowly. I like to make this whole process easier by mixing the yolk mixture in the pot and then sitting it on a damp towel. This will allow you to whisk without the pot dancing on the counter.. Begin whisking the yolk mixture and slowly stream in the hot half and half. Doing this will temper the egg yolks. This means it will bring them to the same temperature as the half and half but slowly so they won’t scramble. Once all the half and half is in transfer the pot to the stove and whisk continuously on a medium low heat until boiled and thickened. Once it thickens lower the heat to a low simmer and continue to whisk through the bubbles for another minute. This will help cook the starch out and prevent your pastry cream from separating later. Once you remove the pastry cream from the stove add in the cubed cold butter and whisk until it melts and your cream is smooth and not separated. Add the vanilla and whisk again. Now transfer to a bowl and cover with the plastic wrap touching the pastry cream. This will prevent it from forming a skin. Refrigerate until cooled completely.
Banana Cream Pie
Light yet rich vanilla pastry cream on top of a buttery sweet graham cracker crust with tons of fresh sliced bananas and perfectly whipped cream. A light and rich dessert that’s also a showstopper.
- Prep Time: 30M
- Cook Time: 15M
- Total Time: 45M
21 Graham Crackers
6 tbsp Sugar
8 tbsp Melted Butter
5 egg yolks
2 cups half and half
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 sweetened condensed milk or 4 tbsp sugar
Crushed Graham Crackers for decoration
Start by making your crust. Using a food processor crush your graham crackers until they are super fine. Mix in the sugar and add the melted butter. Mix well and then press into your spring form pan or deep pie dish. Make sure to press it into the sides too. Bake at 325 F for 10-12 minutes. Cool completely.
Prepare your pastry cream by whisking the 5 egg yolks with the cornstarch and sugar until smooth and combined. Heat the half and half until it’s boiling hot. While whisking the egg yolk mixture, very slowly drizzle in the hot half and half. DON’T stop whisking. Continue to slowly drizzle while you whisk. This tempering process will prevent the eggs from scrambling. Once it’s fully incorporated take this pot to the stove and whisk continuously over medium low heat until thickened and bubbling. Lower the heat and continue whisking allowing to bubble for a minute more. This will cook the starch out and prevent the cream from separating as it cools. Remove from the heat and add in the sliced stick of cold butter and the vanilla. Whisk till fully incorporated and smooth then place in a bowl. Cover with the plastic wrap touching the pastry cream so it doesn’t form a skin. Refrigerate till completely cooled.
Prepare the whipping cream by whipping the heavy cream with the sugar or condensed milk Don’t over whip your cream. You want it nice and smooth, not like ricotta cheese.
Once your pastry cream is cooled, mix into it 1 cup of the prepared whipping cream. This will slightly lighten the pastry cream, but won’t sacrifice the richness or flavor of it.
Slice the bananas and line the graham cracker crust with a layer of bananas. Add in half the pastry cream, then line with the other half of the bananas reserving a few slices for decoration. Cover with the other half of the pastry cream and then top with the remaining whipped cream. Decorate with sliced bananas and ground up graham crackers. Refrigerate to set for 30 minutes. Slice and enjoy!
See the beginning of the post for all my tips on making the pastry cream as well as tips for a good crust.