Banana cream pie is a delicious, light, creamy classic. Fresh sliced banana, smooth vanilla pastry cream, and fluffy whipped cream, are all nestled in a crisp, flakey, crust.
There are lots of different ways and shortcuts you can use to make a banana cream pie. Store bought crust, instant pudding mix, and pre-made whipped cream. All of these routes are great and will make a yummy pie. However, this recipe is to make all of the components of banana cream pie from scratch. In doing so, you will make a phenomenal pie. Although using any of the above can make it faster.
Let’s start with the crust. This is a custard pie so you will need to blind bake the crust. What is blind baking you may ask? It’s putting on a blindfold and hoping for the best. No, only kidding. When you blind bake a crust you are baking it without the filling in it. To keep the shape of the crust you will need to use dry beans or baking weights when you bake it.
I have found that using a food processor makes it so much easier when making pie dough. It incorporates the butter easier than by hand. However, I made pie crust for years with forks then a pastry cutter before I took the plunge on a food processor.
No matter how you incorporate the butter and water, you want both to be extremely cold. I put the butter and water in the freezer for about 5 minutes. This is what makes the crust flakey.
The Pastry Cream:
The vanilla pastry cream requires only a few ingredients but lots of patience. It takes around 8 minutes to thicken. It will stay thin for awhile and then all the sudden start getting thick. It’s important not to be tempted to turn the heat up. Low and slow is the way to go. Also, be sure not to walk away. Keep on whisking slowly to prevent the pastry cream from burning on the bottom and from getting over thickened.
Fresh Whipped Cream:
Making fresh whipped cream is quick and easy. I almost always have some heavy cream in my fridge, whether it’s for baking or for cooking, it has so many applications. Using a cold bowl and cold whisk/beaters will make the whipped cream faster and more stable. However, I have used both at room temperature and not had a problem when I forgot.
All you have to do is pour in the heavy cream and whip it for a minute then add in the sugar and keep whipping until it is stiff. You can put it into a piping bag or just spoon it on top.
For this recipe you will need:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup + 2 Tbsp AP flour
- 4-5 Tbsp cold water
- parchment paper
- baking weights or dry beans
- Put your butter and water in the freezer for 5 minutes.
- Measure your flour into a food processor or bowl. Cut the butter into cubes and cut together. (Use low if using a processor.)
- Add the water slowly and until the dough just starts to come together. You don’t want it to be sticky.
- Knead just to make a disc, cover in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Roll out your dough to just under 1/4 inch thickness and cut out enough for your pie pan.
- Put the crust in the pie pan, crimp or design the edges how you want. Dock the crust by poking the bottom and sides with a fork several times. Place dish in the freezer and chill while the oven preheats.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Once preheated, take the pan out of the freezer, place parchment paper in the crust with enough to go over the edge of the crust. Add your pie weights or dry beans and bake for 30 minutes, or until it just starts to turn golden brown. Being extremely careful to not burn yourself. Pour out the beans and parchment. (Use your oven mitts to hold the pie crust to the pan or it will slide out when you pour the beans out.) Bake for 5 more minutes.
- Then take out of the oven and let cool. You can leave it in the pie pan or carefully remove it.
The Pastry Cream:
- 3 cups milk
- 6 Tbsp sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste*
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 3 Tbsp butter
- Add the sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, egg, and salt to a bowl and whisk vigorously.
- Heat the milk on medium low until just starting to steam. Whisk in the vanilla extract or paste.
- Temper the egg mixture by slowly streaming in the hot milk and whisking until you add about 1/2 of the milk. Placing a wet towel under the bowl can make it easier to whisk while adding milk.
- Add the egg mixture to the remaining milk in the pan and heat over medium low until the mixture thickens. Keep whisking continuously.
- Once thickened, remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. You want the plastic wrap right on top of the pastry cream and touching completely so that it doesn’t develop a film. Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
The Whipped Cream:
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2-4 Tbsp sugar*
- Pour the whipping cream into your bowl and whisk attachment (or beaters if using a hand mixer) and whip together until it starts to thicken.
- Add in the sugar and keep whipping until thick and creamy. The amount of sugar depends on your preference. Taste as you add until you are happy with the sweetness.
Putting the banana cream pie together:
- Sliced bananas (3-4)
- Baked and cooled crust
- Cooled Vanilla Pastry Cream
- Whipped Cream
- Place sliced bananas in the bottom of the crust (I like to fill in a little more rather than just one layer on the bottom).
- Spoon on the vanilla pastry cream and level out.
- Then pipe or spoon on the whipped cream.
- I love vanilla bean paste in the pastry cream. It gives the unique vanilla speckled look without the cost or time of a real vanilla bean. Extract will still give a pleasant flavor but isn’t as strong.
- To make 6 mini pies, I used a double batch of the crust. One batch of crust will only make one regular bottom pie shell. (3 minis)
- You can make all of the components the day before and assemble before you plan to serve. Put together, the pie will last 3 days in the fridge.