Banana Cream Pie has long been a favorite of my dad's - so in honor of his birthday and Father's Day (which just so happened to be 2 days apart this year), I baked him a banana cream pie. I remembered seeing a banana cream pie recipe in my Dorie Greenspan cookbook, Baking: From My Home to Yours, a while back and decided I should do it the homemade way. I will admit though that I bought a graham cracker crust at the grocery store... not so much because I didn't want to go to the trouble of making a pie crust but rather because I had to transport this pie almost 500 miles and wanted the disposable pie pan with the handy plastic lid. Next time, I'm going to use the sweet tart dough in Dorie's book.
Store bought crust or not, this pie was delicious. The custard is so rich and creamy and adds a really nice vanilla flavor to the pie. For the bananas, make sure they are ripe but still firm. Save the brown mushy bananas for banana bread. You want the banana slices to hold their shape in the pie. The whipped cream topping is just perfect, the addition of a little sour cream makes it rich and keeps it from being too sweet. Even though there are a few steps to this pie and you do have to plan in advance a little to give the custard time to set up, this was a really easy recipe and I didn't have any issues putting it together.
Banana Cream Pie
Recipe from Dorie Greenspan
2 cups whole milk
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 T cold, unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
3 ripe bananas
1 9-inch pie shell (graham cracker crust or whatever you prefer)
1 cup heavy cream, cold
2 T powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 T sour cream
For the filling, bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan. In a separate, larger heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the yolks, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and whisk until everything is combined. Add approximately 1/4 cup of the boiling milk, whisking constantly to temper the eggs. Add remaining milk, still whisking and set pan over medium heat. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for about two minutes and remove from heat. Whisk in the vanilla and let the mixture stand for about five minutes. Add butter, one piece at a time, whisking to incorporate. The custard should be thick and smooth at this point. Strain the custard through a mesh strainer into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly against the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold (if you need to cool the custard faster, you can set the bowl in an ice bath and stir occasionally until cold). The custard can remain in the refrigerator up to three days.
To assemble the pie, stir the cold custard to loosen it so its spreadable. Add 1/4 of the mixture to the bottom of the crust. Slice the bananas diagonally into 1/4-inch thick slices. Layer 1/2 the banana slices over custard. Cover with 1/2 of the remaining custard and add remaining bananas, top with remaining custard and smooth with a rubber spatula.
To make the topping, add the heavy cream to a large bowl, beat until the cream begins to thicken, increasing the speed as you go. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until the cream holds stiff peaks. Fold in the sour cream. Top the custard filling with the whipped topping as desired and refrigerate until ready to serve.