Homemade Banana Cream Pie
I don’t know what it is about banana cream pie, but it seems to be shrouded in a sense of nostalgia or at least from a different era. Any time I think about banana cream pie, I conjure up images of diners with those glass pie displays or a grandmother’s kitchen or a good old-fashioned church social.
Such an easy concept always looks elegant and sophisticated, even when it really only consists of sugar, bananas, milk and eggs.
I had a weird hankering for this long-lost pie from my childhood but couldn’t find a recipe I liked. The ones I saw were either too simple, a mixture of pre-made pudding and sliced bananas, or too difficult using meringue and banana extract. I didn’t know they even made that…ick!
So, this recipe is a combination of a few recipes that I dug out of my dusty pie books along with one that a friend had written down for me a few years back at a 4th of July picnic. I did use pre-made pie crust as I hate making it and I happen to have some on hand. The rest of the pie is from scratch.
3/4 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons of cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of milk (I used 1 cup of skim and 1 cup of heavy cream)
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons of butter, softened
2 teaspoons of vanilla
3-4 bananas (depending upon size and your idea of how many bananas is enough in a pie!)
1 pie crust
First, begin by lining your pie dish (I used my glass baking dish but use what you have) with the pie crust and set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the cornstarch, sugar, and salt and set on low/medium heat.
Slowly add the milk while stirring.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbly. When it reaches that bubbly point, keep stirring and cook for an additional 2 minutes and then remove from the heat. The mixture will be thick at this point.
In a small bowl (or the easiest thing to use is a glass measure as it makes it easy to pour), beat the egg yolks. Take note of those gorgeous egg yolks with the beautiful orange color! These free range eggs is the coloring for this recipe, not orange food coloring like I saw in some recipes when searching for a good recipe! This is what makes your pudding a banana yellow when you add the two together.
Carefully scoop out about a 1/4 cup of the hot mixture and add it to the beaten egg yolks while stirring.
Then add all of the egg yolk mixture to the rest of the hot mixture and stir. Put the saucepan back on the heat and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Don’t worry if your pudding mixture is a little lumpy, the butter will work magic and smooth those out.
Remove the mixture from the heat and add the butter and vanilla. Stir until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy. Let this mixture cool for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, take three of the bananas and slice into the bottom of your pie crust.
Pour your slightly cooled cream mixture over the sliced bananas.
Put into a pre-heated oven at 350°F for 12-15 minutes or until the edges of the pie crust are golden brown.
Chill for an hour before serving. At this point you can go two different ways with how to “top” your banana cream pie. My grandmother was a traditionalist and simply sliced the fourth banana all over the top before serving. My friend (the one who brought the pie to the picnic) had a more “radical” twist….she sliced the remaining banana in a bowl of sugar, then sprinkled the sugared banana slices over the top of the pie and then using a blow torch (it was the 4th of July after all) and carmelized the bananas on top. Either way the pie is delicious! I used up all my bananas in the pie and so I just sliced and served – delicious!