Creamy custard, fresh bananas, and billowy whipped cream in a flaky crust with a shower of chocolate shavings- there's nothing more comforting or delicious than the best banana cream pie.
Why This is the Best Banana Cream Pie
So decedent yet cozy, this Banana Cream Pie is the classic comfort dish we all need. Just imagine your fork diving deep into the decadent, banana-filled filling and shattering the crisp crust beneath. Delicious!
This year-round dessert is always in season. It combines the textures of a flaky, crisp crust and creamy custard filling. Use very ripe yet firm bananas and don't hold back on the chocolate shavings.
Layers in a Banana Cream Pie
It starts with an extremely flaky, all-butter crust. It isn't fancy with intricate lattice work or anything, so be sure to leave the butter chunky and irregular in the pastry for ultimate layers of crisp, crust perfection.
Next, the best vanilla bean pastry cream. So smooth and creamy! Make the pastry cream in advanced so it has a chance to thicken up before spreading it into the cooled crust.
Slices of fresh banana fill the gap between the two creamy layers. The bananas should be ripe yet not still slightly firm. Cut them into ½-inch coins to keep them from turning into mush.
Toppings on The Best Banana Cream Pie
Piping the whipped cream is completely optional, but recommended. The pile of rosettes is not only pretty but gives the top of the pie a lovely texture.
For the rosettes, fill a piping bag with a star tip (Wilton 1M), and piped concentric circles of rosettes. Toward the center, keep piping to form of mountain of cream.
Alternatively, dollop on the billowy whipped cream with a spoon or swirl it on with a spatula. Cover the banana with the cream, as any exposed banana pieces will brown quickly.
Shaving the chocolate straight over the pie is the most convenient. Simply scape a vegetable peeler against the side of a block of chocolate over the top of the prepared pie before serving.
Blind Baking the Pie Crust
Blind baking refers to baking empty pie shells until browned that are used for unbaked pies. You can partially bake a pie shell as well for recipes that spend a short time in the oven (like pumpkin pie) but still require a flaky crust.
Since the filling is not cooked in the curst, this recipes call for the pie dough to be blind baked. Be sure to chill the dough after crimping to keep the sides from slumping in the pan.
This recipe uses a single pie crust (see below). You can cut the ingredients in half from this pie dough recipe but use the same instructions for making it by hand.
If possible, refrigerate the pie for about an hour before serving so that the creamy filling has a chance to set up (it will slice much easier this way).
Banana Cream Pie is best eaten the same day as it is made (before the bananas turn brown). Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 to 3 days.
Pastry cream may be made up to 3 days in advanced and stored in the refrigerator. Gently stir to loosen before spreading in the pie crust.
Pie crust may be baked in advanced. Wrap well in plastic and store at room temperature overnight.
How to Make the Best Banana Cream Pie
All-Butter Pie Crust
½ cup cold water
¼ cup ice
1 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
½ tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup very cold butter, diced
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and sugar. Place the ice in the water and set aside.
Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or by hand, rubbing the pieces of butter between your thumb, index, and middle fingers. Keep the chunks of butter large and irregular (about the size of a walnut), then begin to flatten the pieces of butter in sheets between your palms. Be careful not to over-work the butter or let it get too warm.
Working with only a couple tablespoons at a time, add in about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the water. Stir together using a wooden spoon or even just a clean hand in the bowl. The dough should appear fairly shaggy and not sticky. Once you can squeeze a few pieces together and they hold, the dough is done being mixed. Do not over-mix.
Dump the dough onto your work surface and fold a few times until it hold together. Shape the dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours, or overnight (preferably).
Bring the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Lightly flour the work surface and begin to roll out the dough, working from the center out – rotating the dough after each roll. Roll the dough until about ¼ inch thick and about 12 to 13 inches in diameter.
Gently roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer to a 8 or 9 inch pie pan. Fit the dough into the bottom of the tin and up the sides, allowing for about an inch of overhang. Tuck the edges of the dough under itself and press onto the rim of the pie pan.
Crimp the edges of the pie dough to further secure the dough to the pan (see image above). Chill the pie dough for 30 minutes while the oven pre-heats.
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Once ready, line the pie dough with a piece of parchment paper. Fill with pie weighs, uncooked rice, or dry beans.
Bake the pie for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn brown. Carefully take the pie out of the oven and remove the pie weights and parchment paper. Return the crust to the oven and continue to bake for an additional 5 to 15 minutes, until it is golden brown and flakey and the bottom feels dry to the touch. Completely cool the crust before filling.
The Best Banana Cream Pie
For the Pastry Cream
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
- 1 ¾ cups whole milk
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, diced
For the Whipped Cream
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 4 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teas vanilla extract
- 1 pie crust, baked and cooled
- 2 to 3 ripe bananas
- dark chocolate for shaving
To Make the Pastry Cream
- Place the butter in a heat-safe container. Set aside.
- Place the vanilla bean seeds, pod, and milk in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low until it begins to simmer.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks. Stir in the flour and cornstarch until smooth.
- Temper the hot milk into the egg mixture by whisking in a little bit at a time in order to gradually bring up the temperature of the eggs. Discard the vanilla bean pod.
- Return the mixture back to the saucepan and heat over medium-high.
- While stirring constantly, bring the mixture up to a boil - the cream will be thick and will "pop" slowly. Continue to whisk/cook for about 1 minute after it begins boil.
- Strain the mixture with a mesh sieve and into the container with the butter. Stir to combine.
- Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the cream. Refrigerate until cool and thick, at least an hour.
To Make the Whipped Cream
- By hand of with an electric mixer, whip the cream until it begins to thicken. Add the sugar and whip until soft peaks. Add the vanilla and whip until medium/firm peaks. By hand, this will take about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not over-mix.
To Assemble the Pie
- Fill the baked and cooled pie crust with the prepared pastry cream. Smooth out with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
- Slice the bananas into ½-inch thick coins. Place them in tight concentric circles on top of the pastry cream.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with the whipped cream. Pipe tight spirals on to top of the bananas to create rosettes. Continue to pipe piles of cream, or as desired.
- Using a vegetable peeler, scrape the long edge of a block of chocolate directly over the top of the finished pie to create chocolate shavings.