It isn’t health food, but it sure is comfort food. Banana cream pie photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
Last Updated March 2018
Banana Creme Pie Recipe
Spelled Banana Creme or Banana Cream, This Pie Is A Favorite Comfort Food
First, a discussion of banana creme pie versus banana cream pie.
Crème is the French word for cream. As recipes evolved in the U.S., the trend was to emulate French spellings to give the recipe a cachet. Doesn’t soupe du jour (typically misspelled as soup du jour) sound better than “today’s soup?”
Thus, in the name of cachet (or perhaps they weren’t good spellers), some of America’s bakers translated tart aux bananes et creme into banana creme pie. The proper translation is banana cream pie.
And the French word crème, pronounced “crehm,” got Americanized to be pronounced “cream.” And to be positively correct, the addition of eggs, used in a top-quality recipe, creates a custard. Thus this recipe makes a banana custard pie.
It would be nice to go back and correct the mistakes of the past, but that just won’t happen. So feel free to use the words interchangeably.
And bake this delicious double banana cream pie recipe. The “double” comes from an American invention: Instead of just banana creme/cream in the pie crust, there is a layer of fresh-sliced bananas. It’s the way to go!
Here’s the history of banana creme pie.
By the way, March 2nd is National Banana Creme Pie Day.
Banana Creme Pie Recipe
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream (whipping cream)
- 1-1/2 cups whole milk
- 3 large egg yolks, beaten (use the whites in an omelet or add to scrambled eggs)
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ripe banana for custard, lightly puréed or finely mashed (do not liquefy)
A double banana creme pie starts with a layer of sliced bananas. Photo courtesy McCormick.com.
- 2-3 ripe bananas for double fruit layer, cute into 1/4-inch-thick slices (don’t slice until ready to add to crust)
- Whipped cream for garnish* (Need a whipped cream recipe? It uses 1 cup heavy cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar and a pinch of salt.)
- 2-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- MAKE the crust: Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a bowl. Add the melted butter and stir to blend.
- PRESS the mixture into the bottom and onto sides of 10-inch glass pie plate.
- CHILL for 30 minutes and preheat oven to 350°F.
- BAKE the crust until set, about 15 minutes. Cool completely as you prepare the filling.
- COMBINE the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan; whisk to blend. Gradually incorporate the cream and whole milk. Then add the egg yolks and incorporate fully.
- SCRAPE in the vanilla bean seeds; then add the vanilla bean pod. Whisk over medium-high heat until the custard thickens and boils, about 6 minutes; then remove from heat. (If you are using vanilla extract, add it after you remove the custard from the heat.)
- DISCARD the vanilla bean. Whisk in unsalted butter and vanilla. Fold in the banana purée and combine thoroughly.
- TRANSFER the custard to a bowl. Cool completely (about 1 hour), whisking occasionally.
- SLICE the bananas into 1/4" widths and place evenly in the bottom of the crust. Top with the banana filling. Chill to set, 8 hours or overnight.
TO SERVE: Make the whipped cream. Slice and the garnish pie. Store leftover pie in refrigerator.
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