This Banana Cream Pie took a few attempts and adjustments until I felt like it was perfect. This pie has it all; with a homemade, flaky crust, from scratch vanilla pudding and fresh bananas added in, it simply doesn’t get better. It is super smooth, creamy, light, and topped with freshly whipped cream. Can’t you just taste it now?
First, let’s talk pie crust.
Pie crust may seem intimidating. If making the crust stops you from making pies, please go to the store and buy a box of Pillsbury pie crust that is in the refrigerator section. You just unroll, crimp the edges and put it in the pie tin to bake. If you have always wanted to try your hand at baking a pie, just do it! It may take a little practice, but I promise it is not too hard to do. There are a million different pie crust recipes, I am sharing a very simple one. There are only 4 ingredients; flour, salt, Crisco or butter and ice water. Sometimes I use only butter and sometimes I use a combination of butter and Crisco. It is important that the fat be cold so I keep the Crisco in the refrigerator when I am using it for pies.
Next add the ice water. Do not add too much, just a tablespoon at a time until it just comes together and will form a ball. It is important to use ice water to keep the dough cold so the cold pieces of butter or Crisco don’t melt or get mashed too much, preventing a mealy crust without flakes. When the fat and dough is kept cold, those pieces create steam pockets in the oven and separate the surrounding flour into layers, creating a wonderfully flaky crust.
Once the dough comes together in a ball, cut it in half. The other half of the dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated or frozen until later. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1 inch wider than your pie tin. I then slip my fingers underneath the top and lift and fold into thirds. This makes it easy to pick up and place on the tin.
Once the dough is on the tin, trim any excess pieces and roll the edges under, to the edge. Now, using your fingers, crimp or flute the edges. Poke holes all over the bottom and sides to prevent any bubbling in the oven. This is an important step, so the crust will remain flat and can be filled with the banana cream. Bake at 425 degrees for 12 minutes. Let cool completely.
My banana cream pie has whole milk, sugar, flour, salt, egg yolks, butter, vanilla and of course, bananas.
To make the pudding, mix together the sugar, flour and salt in a medium saucepan. Next, whisk in the milk until smooth and heat over medium heat until thickened.
Once the pudding is thickened, temper the eggs by slowly pouring in a small amount of the hot pudding into the egg yolks while whisking quickly to bring the temperature of the eggs up. If the eggs were added straight to the pudding without being warmed up, they would cook and scramble. No one wants that.
Now bring the mixture back to a bubble and allow to do so for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and butter. Allow the pudding to cool a little.
I like to dice my bananas for a smaller, more distributed bite of banana in the pudding. Stir the bananas into the pudding and pour into the baked and cooled crust.