Friday Pie-Day: Banana Cream Pie

Let me first say that this is not a pie for the faint of heart. Which is perfect, because the person who requested this pie is a steely-eyed life commando.

It is not for the faint of heart because this pie is a full on fat-filled, dairy-laden, velvet-mouthing, obese-inducing, culinary orgasma-rama. It’s pretty good.

I admit, at first I was not that jazzed about this suggestion. The only good banana cream pie I ever had was at a little diner in Okmulgee, Oklahoma called Coleman’s. I was probably nine years old. It was actually that memorable. But their coconut cream was even better.

Every subsequent banana cream pie has tasted like it was cobbled together with box pudding. It has been cloying, gelatinous and had some kind of manufactured after taste.

So, I really researched this one. I put some of my recipes side by side and decided on Emeril Lagasse’s. Well, most of Emril Legasse’s. You know how I like to screw with things.

I added a little cinnamon and a little nutmeg. I also made my own crust.

This is time-intense pie. You need to be serious about making this one, but it is a big pay-off. It will take you two days.

Because it is so time-crazy, I am going to break it into its four sections as four separate recipes. Got it?

Here is The Crust recipe:

50 Nilla Wafer cookies, processed to crumbs in food processor
1 tbs sugar (I used vanilla sugar for this)
¼ cup butter or margarine
1 tbs rum

Preheat oven to 375º.

Mix all ingredients together and let it sit for a couple of minutes.

Press it into a 9” pie pan

Bake it for 10 – 12 minutes.

Let it cool.

Okay, now for The Cream:

2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and seeds scraped (Yes, I did use a real vanilla bean. I wasn’t screwing around with this one! I got mine from Penzy’s)
3 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1/2 cup cornstarch (Yeah, you read that right. I didn’t believe it when I read it, either, but trust me, it’s not too much.)
take a cinnamon stick and grate some of it with a microplane, break the rest of it up.
five or six grates of a nutmeg

Combine 2 cups of the cream, the milk, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the vanilla bean, and the vanilla seeds in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.

Combine the egg yolks, eggs, cornstarch, and 1 cup of the sugar, in a medium bowl, and whisk pale yellow in color. Set aside.

Whisk 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks (this is called tempering). Gradually add the egg mixture to the hot cream, whisking constantly. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly with a large wooden spoon to cook out the cornstarch and the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.

At this point the mixture started to glob up. It looked like it was curdling. So I let it go for a bit and then removed it from the heat, then I hit it with my hand blender (whisk attachment). Totally smoothed it out.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Yes, you read that right. Emeril is a bastard for this. My arm nearly fell off. But it does a couple of things. First it removes all the detritus, like the cinnamon bits and the vanilla bean. It also smoothes out any globules that may have formed. So, all-in-all, bastard move that it is, it is a good thing to do.

Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. This is really important.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. I did it over night.

The Assembly

a bunch of bananas, more than you think you’ll need (I’d go for, say, nine) It will vary.
the crust
the cream

Cut the bananas into ½ inch coins.

Spread 1/2 cup of the custard over the bottom of the prepared crust, smoothing with the back of a large spoon or rubber spatula.

Arrange enough banana slices in a tight, tiled pattern over the custard, pressing down with your hands to pack them firmly.

Repeat to build a second layer, using 3/4 cup of the custard and enough bananas to cover, smoothing down the layer evenly.

For the third layer, spread 3/4 cup of custard over the bananas and top with the remaining bananas, starting 1-inch from the outer edge and working toward the center.

Spread 1 cup of custard evenly over the bananas to prevent discoloration.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Okay, so I had left over custard and bananas left. So I soaked a bunch of Nilla Wafers in some Godiva Chocolate Liqueur for about a minute (no longer or they fall apart). Then I lined a medium ramekin with the soaked wafers. Put in some custard, then sliced bananas, then custard, then sliced bananas, then custard. Then I topped it with more soaked wafers. It’s still sitting covered in the fridge. It is calling me.

The Whipped Cream

2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar and the vanilla extract and whip again until stiff peaks form.

Pipe the whipped cream onto the pie. I liked the star dollop piping.

The Over-Doing It

3/4 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Scald the half-and-half and butter in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat.

Place the chocolate and vanilla in a medium, heat-proof bowl.

Add the hot half-and-half and let sit for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth.

Put into a squeeze bottle (or you can just drizzle with a spoon, but the bottle makes it infinitely easier) and drizzle over pie.

The Cutting

Dip your knife in warm water between each slice.


I would check to see what the wife says, but she is in Boston. That, and if she actually ate this pie, the evil god Lactocon would rend her asunder and use her writhing body as a battle horn to call the demons of Methania together creating a host that might very well kill us all. So…

But I say it was worth it.

NOTE: Wanted to add a little shout out to the MTG for watching the kid and chatting so I could get this pie done. Kudos and a piece is on the way.