How do you feel about Banana Cream Pie? I’m fairly particular about my Banana Cream Pie. Here are the rules (for me). The bananas have to be firm. Slightly underripe. Home made custard is a must (vanilla, not banana flavored custard). Cream? Fresh whipped cream on top is a necessity!
For years, I’ve searched for and worked on the perfect recipe. A recipe that solves the brown banana issue, includes homemade custard that fills the pie plate (not a skimpy layer of custard), and holds its shape somewhat when the pie is cut (without being too gelatinous). Finally, after years of making custard fillings that were never just right and lots of trial and error. And error. And error. I’m happy to say this recipe is banana cream pie perfection!
Can I just take a minute to talk to you about home made custard filling? A properly made custard is, in my opinion, a work of art. I can’t paint or draw to save my life, but I can make a custard, which I believe is a lost art. Box mixes took the place of our grandmother’s custard in the 70’s. After that time, most of us grew up with pudding mixed with milk to make pie fillings. I, too, was guilty of this shortcut for many years. Then, one day, I made a custard filling from scratch. Oh my. Once you’ve cooked a home made custard, it’s difficult to go back. I promise it’s worth the time. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a process. And it may take a few shots at custard-making to get it right. But again, totally worth the time. Pinkie promise. Oh and the imperfect batches? Your kids and husband will gladly eat it.
Now that I’ve born testimony of the lost art of making custard from scratch, I’ll tell you about my favorite crust recipes for banana cream pie- single pie crust which you will need to blind bake or chocolate graham crust. Both are delicious. I love the chocolate graham crust with the vanilla custard filling. If you’re a beginner in the kitchen, you may want to try this crust. It’s simple and is absolutely delicious. The chocolate graham recipe is enough for two crusts, make one and freeze the other. The crust freezes well and you’ll have another on hand to take out and fill with ice cream and hot fudge for a mud pie.
Do not be discouraged by the length of the recipe! In all, you’re probably taking about 1 hour of active cooking ( including the making of the pie crust) cooling and baking time are additional. It’s not a 30 minutes recipe, but the reward is a knock your socks off dessert that your family will love. The downside? They’ll ask for it over and over again.
That, my friends, is a nice problem to have.
Happy Pi Day!
Better Than Mom’s Banana Cream Pie
- 1 single pie crust graham or traditional pastry crust (see post for recipe links)
- 2 firm bananas slightly green peel
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 single pie crust see post for link
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 tablespoons butter cut into 3 pieces
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1-1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Whisk eggs and yolk in a small bowl, set aside.
Place milk, sugar, cornstarch and salt in a heavy saucepan.
Mix together with a whisk.
Turn heat to medium high and place saucepan on heat.
Cook mixture for about 5 minutes, whisking while cooking to prevent milk and sugar from burning.
Let mixture come to a gentle boil while stirring.
After the mixture has cooked for about 5-7 minutes and has thickened, remove from heat. This may take up to 10 minutes.
Using a 1/4 cup measure, remove some of the cooked milk mixture and pour a stream of the cooked milk into the beaten eggs while mixing the eggs with a fork. Repeat about 3 times so 3/4 cup of cooked milk is mixed into the eggs.
After the eggs have been tempered*, add the egg mixture to the hot milk mixture in the saucepan. Whisk until all milk mixture and eggs are incorporated.
Place the saucepan with the custard back on the stove and cook over medium heat until the mixture reaches a gentle boil again. Cook for about 2 minutes while whisking.
Remove from heat.
Add the butter and vanilla to the custard.
Pour the mixture into a bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap onto the custard to prevent a film from forming on the top of the custard.
Place in refrigerator and let cool completely for about 1 hour.
After the custard has cooled, slice the bananas and place in a small bowl with 3 tablespoons orange juice. Toss the bananas and juice. Set aside in refrigerator.
Whip the heavy cream until peaks form, then beat in powdered sugar, set aside.
Fill the cooked and cooled pie shell with half of the cooled custard.
Drain the juice from the bananas and place the bananas over the layer of custard in the pie crust.
Spoon the remaining custard over the bananas and top with the whipped cream.
Place in refrigerator, uncovered for at least 4- 6 hours.
Best served on same day the crust is filled.
-Make sure to add the cornstarch to the pan of milk, sugar and salt while the milk is cold. If you try to add the cornstarch directly to the milk after it has been heated, the cornstarch will form lumps in the milk mixture.
-To temper the eggs is to add the hot liquid from the custard to the beaten eggs a little at a time in a slow stream. If you were to add the eggs directly to the hot custard, the eggs would curdle and your custard would be dotted with small pieces of scrambled egg. Slowly adding a bit of the hot custard to the egg will avoid issues with the egg cooking too quickly. When the custard has been added to the eggs slowly, it is safe to add the egg mixture back to the pan of warm custard and continue cooking.
-Try to buy bananas that are firm and slightly green to avoid dark spots or centers in the fruit.
25 thoughts on “Better Than Mom’s Banana Cream Pie”
Oh my, I have to try this recipe! I’ve made two of your pies last Thanksgiving, so yummy! My four year old requested that I make her your chocolate silk pie. I left you a comment on Instagram about her birthday pie (cake) request.
Anyway, I’ve been wanting to make a banana cream pie for about a month! So it looks like here’s my chance. I completely agree with the bananas needing to be firm. I know I can trust your recipe. Thanks for the tips as always!
Thank you for the sweet note! I remember your comment on Insta! What a cute girl to ask for a birthday pie! Im pretty sure your 4 year old and I could be best friends 🙂 I know you will love this recipe! thanks for reading ABK.
Made this the other night and I’m still dreaming about it! The custard was SO good! I added some homemade salted caramel like they do at the Dodo restaurant! Yummy! Although I need to take your online baking class because my pie crusts always shrink!
Thanks Stephanie! I had some leftover in my fridge after i made the last batch of custard and could not stop eating it with Nilla wafers 🙂 Thanks for being a loyal reader of ABK. And yes, you would love the online class there is a discount code always attached!
I attempted this pie last Sunday. My custard did not thicken as much as it should. You did say it may take a couple of times. But it was yummy! I will try again next Sunday.
I am determined to be able to master this recipe. The pie still got eaten!
I am a big fan.
Do you have a yummy rice pudding recipe?
It worked! I tried it again. So Yummy! Thank you!
I just made this pie and the strawberry pie today for my sisters’ birthdays. Everyone loved them! The favorite was this banana cream pie but both recipes will go in my recipe book to make again because i personally could not choose. I followed both recipes to a T and they turned out perfectly. I hope you guys try this one!!
Thank you Lexi! Im glad you had success with both recipes! They have been very popular in our family as well! Thanks for reading ABK <3
Can I make the crust and filling the day before and then fill it on thanksgiving morning?? This looks yummy. Any tricks to make sure it thickens properly? Thanks for sharing
yes, make the crust early and bake, but don’t fill until the day of serving. You can also make the filling early, just make sure to not fill the pie shell until the day of serving. The trick to make sure it thickens properly is to not turn heat up too high. uSe a whisk and follow directions. You’ll love this recipe!
Made this tonight for pi day!!!! Followed the recipe, thanks for the wonderful notes as always. Delish!!!
I tried this recipe, and it was my first time baking a pie ever! The crust wasn’t good.. I definitely need practice haha! But the pie filling was so yummy! Although it tasted really good, it fell apart as soon as I cut into it. Almost like pudding. Any tips for it to set better?
Hi Kenna, I’ve had trouble with the filling falling apart as well. I would try letting it set in the fridge for a bit longer. Thanks for asking and for reading ABK!
I just made this for Thanksgiving. My whole family said it was the best banana cream pie ever and have asked for it to be made more often. The recipe was easy to follow and turned out perfectly. Thank you!
We always make this recipe for Thanksgiving, it’s on of our favorites too! Thanks for sharing and for reading ABK Lisa,
This recipe reminded me of my mother-in-law who was a great cook. She has a banana cream pie recipe that is cooked also. All from scratch. I loved it when she made it. If I tried it, my family got banana cream soup! Thankfully my daughters have mastered her recipe and make it for my husband on his birthday every year! I am excited to see if I can make yours…wish me luck!😁
Banana cream pie has been my absolute favorite, ever since my brilliant teenaged sister decided to use a granola-type crust borrowed from a strawberry freeze crust recipe. But we’ve still been using boxed pudding. I’m excited to try your custard this year.
Sounds delicious! Instead of banana, can I add toasted coconut to the custard to make a coconut cream pie? Excited to try this pie this thanksgiving!
Help! Is it possible to double the custard to make two at the same time? Wasn’t sure if it would mess anything up. Made my first batch for a Thanksgiving trial run and it was delicious!
Hi Sarah, you can double the custard to make two pies, thanks for asking and for reading ABK!
My first banana cream pie recipe, and I just could not stop eating it! I did the half graham/half Oreo crust and it was just right. So delicious!
I’m no cook but this turned out amazing! Everyone loved it. We have a few banana cream pie connoisseurs in the family and they said it was the best they’ve had. 10/10 recommend!
Can I substitute tabioca starch for corn?
Wow, the pie was wonderful. Best I’ve ever had. Thank you so much for this recipe.
Patricia, What a compliment! I am glad it turned out well for you. Thanks for your positive review!