Monday, May 3, 2010

Banana Cream Pie

This post is for my husband. My husband is devoted to Banana Cream Pie. It is far and away his favourite dessert, over chocolate in any form.

When I met him I seriously questioned whether I could make a lifelong commitment to someone who is only mildly interested in chocolate. He baffled me when he told me he did not like chocolate ice cream and his attitude towards chocolate cake is lukewarm. Seriously, it bothers me to this day.

But, I have come to accept this about him and being a good wife, I try to support him. On one occasion I remember we had heard about this little restaurant that was tucked away in some small Ontario town that apparently had the best Banana Cream Pie.

The place was near my Grandparent’s house so when we were there for a visit I decided we should find this restaurant so that hubby could try the pie. We drove around little country roads for what seemed like forever, getting lost and making wrong turns, but finally we found the place only to find that they were sold out (must have been really good pie to be sold out in such an out of the way location). Hubby had to settle for Coconut Cream Pie, a very distant second place.The place is gone now so we never did get to try it.

But the good news is, I make a pretty good Banana Cream Pie and I make it just the way he likes it, with a graham cracker crust and whipped cream instead of meringue. It’s really a simple dessert to make and truth be told I do like it quite a bit. I find it cool and rich, kind of like ice cream and I really can’t fault anything that includes whipped cream.

The last time I made it I dressed it up a bit for a dinner party, so I used a tart form. Normally I would use a regular pie plate so that the slices are thicker. It's a very simple recipe to put together and you can change it up anyway you like.  Sometimes I put a layer of chocolate sauce or caramel sauce on the crust before I pour the pudding over top and sometimes I just put banana slices. Either way it is delicious.

Banana Cream Pie

for the crust:

1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, sugar and graham cracker crumbs until the crumbs are moistened and the mixture begins to clump together.  Pour the mixture into the bottom of your pie plate and, using your hand, press the crumb mixture to evenly coat the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Set aside.

for the pudding:

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon banana extract
1-2 bananas sliced

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch.  Stir in the milk. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to medium low and cook and stir 2 - 3 minutes more. Remove from heat. 
In a small bowl, lightly beat your egg yolks.  Whisking constantly, slowly add 1 cup of your warm milk mixture.  This will temper the yolks to bring them slowly up to the temperature of the milk so that you do not create scrambled eggs.  Return the yolk and milk mixture to the remaining milk mixture in your saucepan. Cook and stir over medium low heat for 2 - 3 minutes more to thicken the pudding.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, banana extract and tablespoon of butter. If desired, you can strain the pudding through a fine sieve to ensure it is smooth and there is no cooked egg in the mixture.

Assemble the pie:

Cover the bottom of your prepared crust with the banana slices and pour the pudding over top.  Smooth the top with a spatula and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in the fridge for 6-8 hours to allow the pudding to set and the pie to cool completely. You can prepare the pie the night before if you wish.

Whipped Cream:

1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla.

In a stand mixer, on high speed, beat the cream with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form.  Add the sugar and vanilla and beat about 1 minute more until firm peaks form.  Right before serving the pie, spread the top with the whipped cream and garnish with banana slices and a few graham cracker crumbs. Enjoy!

*** I've had a few questions about the banana extract and I just wanted to add a note about it.  It is not necessary to the recipe, it just boosts the banana flavour a bit.  It can be hard to find, but if you are looking for it, you can find it in some grocery stores, specialty food stores or you can order it on line here.

***I have also had a question about the pudding setting up.  It is important to cook the pudding until it is quite thick before you take it off the stove, just be careful to keep stirring so that the bottom does not burn. If you are worried that it will not be thick enough you can always add an extra tablespoon of cornstarch.  Dissolve it in 2 tablespoons of cold milk and add the mixture to the thickened pudding. Return it to the stove and simmer 2 minutes more or until it has reached the desired consistency.

Next Post:  A trip to the St Lawrence Market and Buttermilk Wild Leek Biscuits


  1. This looks so delicious I can taste it already! I love banana cream pie with a graham cracker crust - it's the only way to make it!! I like the whip cream best too! Simply yummy!

  2. This pie looks amazing. I've never heard of banana extract!

  3. Hi Memoria, Thanks for your comment. You can find it in food specialty stores, but truth is it's really not necessary. If I make the pudding without it I increase the vanilla to 1 1/2 teaspoons.

  4. This pie looks so super pretty! Banana Cream Pie is my absolute favorite. There's this place in LA called the Apple Pan that serves the best Banana Cream Pie I've ever tasted. I also LOVE the name of your blog.

  5. I love banana cream pies, but I've never made one...maybe it's time try it. :)

  6. This looks delicious! My friend once bought me a banana cream pie from an Amish/Mennonite bakery from around Kincardine and I absolutely loved it. This looks very tempting. Where would you find banana extract? Is it necessary?

  7. Hi saveur, thanks for your comment. The banana extract is not necessary, just boosts the flavour a bit. You can find it in baking specialty stores and you can buy it on line here:

  8. Thanks for the speedy reply! I love that you are also a fellow blogger from Toronto. Any stores here that you recommend for the extract?

  9. Hi saveur, It is nice to meet a fellow blogger from Toronto. I really love the concept of your blog! I have been trying to find others in the Toronto area, so I am very pleased to meet you. I was actually at the Loblaws on Broadview Avenue near the Danforth yesterday and I they had banana extract in stock. I think they carry it at most Loblaws.

  10. Hi Allison, I love your blog, too. Wonderful news about the extract at Loblaws! That will make it easier to find, for sure! Have a great day!

  11. hi, i saw your recipe through foodgawker and the pictures looked so good that i had to make it - it was absolutely delicious and exactly what i hoped for in a banana cream pie. thank you!

  12. Hi Anonymous, Thank you for letting me know the recipe worked out for you. I am so glad you liked it!

  13. I made this pie last night and it tasted super good! I did use the banana extract. I don't think I cooked the pudding quite long enough because the pie didn't set the best but it did taste great! (I did have to give my dog a scoop and he loved it too as did my husband!) Thanks for the recipe!

  14. Hi ALicia, Thank you for your comment, you made my night! Pudding like this can be fussy and I have had plenty of times that it does not set up as well as I would like. The good news is it tastes great anyways. You may find tomorrow it has set better once it sits in the fridge for a while.

  15. Hi Alicia, why do some recipes require that the graham cracker crust be baked first? I noticed that this recipe doesn't require any baking-- does it change the taste or texture of the finished product? Thanks! Can't wait to Make this!

  16. Hi Jackie, I have seen that too. I think the reason that some recipes call for the crust to be baked is so that it holds together better. Personally, I have not found that step necessary. The warmth and moisture from the vanilla pudding is enough to make the pie crust come together. Let me know how it works out.

  17. Simply amazing! Just by looking at the pictures make me really hungry. WOuld definitely give this recipe a try on this weekend for our family reunion. I am sure all my family will love this. Thanks for sharing.

  18. This looks wonderful! I would absolutely want to try this. Banana is my favourite of all fruits.

  19. I made this last night but unfortunately it did not set looks delicious...I am so sad...maybe I will try again after Thanksgiving.

  20. Hi Barbi,

    I am sorry to hear that. Try cooking the pudding mixture a few minutes longer or you could add a bit more corn statch, about another tablespoon would help.

  21. I didn't have banana extract but added one finely mashed banana to the pudding, and it came out wonderfully :)

  22. Made this today but I also used mashed bananas instead of extract and it didn't set properly. So I threw it in the freezer to make a frozen version! The flavor is still there and it's a nice, refreshing treat on an incredibly hot day.

  23. Hi, how long can you refrigerate the pie before it goes bad? And should I only add the whipped cream when it is being served so that it doesn't get watery if it's being kept in the fridge?


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