I have several Easter traditions but the one that’s pure decadence is my banana crème pie. If you haven’t had a home made banana crème, this is your chance. It’s absolutely to die for.
Scroll down for crust and filling recipes.
This recipe was inspired by my paternal grandmother Minnie Hanson who was my everything. She made me her home made banana crème pies when I was little because she knew how much I loved them. Later, when I was a grown woman with a young family I began pie baking on my own.
These recipes below began as someone else’s. I’m not sure why I never obtained Gramma Minnie’s recipe but like all good recipes, they’ve evolved over the years and I think, improved over time.
I’ve included some tips that I’ve adopted that have made pie baking easier. One I learned from another great cook in our family, Auntie Roselyn Baglini on my mom’s side. The notes in italics are from my own experience in baking pies.
Like anything worthwhile, it takes practice. Remember there is no such thing as a bad pie. Don’t worry what it looks like! Once its sliced no one will give a wit. If you remember to include all the ingredients, it will taste great I promise.
One last thing, the best pie crust has both butter and shortening: butter for the flavor and shortening for the flake factor, Pie Baker’s Honor.
Shiree’s Best Banana Crème Pie
Pie Crust from The Silver Palate Cook Book
2 1/2 C. unbleached all purpose flour
2 t. sugar
1 t. salt
8 T. unsalted butter, chilled
6 T. solid vegetable shortening, chilled
5 to 6 T ice water, as needed
1. Sift the flour, sugar, and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the chilled butter and shortening. Working quickly and using your fingertips or a pastry blender, rub or cut the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until the mixture resemble coarse meal.
Please note, I have also had success blending the flour and butter with two knives as well as with my Cuisinart food processor with steel blade fitting.
2. Sprinkle on the ice water, 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time, and toss with a fork. Turn the dough out onto your work surface and using the heel of your hand, smear the dough away from you, about 1/4 cup at a time. Scrape it up into a ball and wrap in wax paper. Flatten it into a flat cylinder for expediency. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour. Don’t leave it in too long or it becomes hard to work with.
3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out (I swear by my wooden roller) to 1/4 inch thickness on a floured work surface. For a single crust pie, line a 9 inch pie plate with half of the dough and reserve the other half for the top of the pie or save for another single crust pie.
Keep lifting the pie dough to allow flour to distribute beneath it. To transfer the dough from work surface to pie pan it helps to first fold it in half. I have an extra wide spatula for this purpose, it’s about six inches wide.
4. To prebake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
5. Line the dough in the pie plat with aluminum foil and fill with beans or rice to weight it. Bake for 8 minutes, then remove the beans and lining. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork and return the pie plate to the oven until the crust is golden brown, 10 to 13 minutes longer.
Makes one 9 inch double crust or two 9 inch single crust pies.
Banana Crème Filling adapted from Joy of Cooking
3 bananas, peeled and sliced into bite sized pieces
2/3 C. sugar
1/4 C. plus 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
2 C. whole milk
3 egg yolks
3 T. butter
1/2 vanilla bean (split and seeds gently scraped out)
You need a double boiler aka Bain Marie for this recipe. That means that the pot on the bottom next to the heat source has the boiling water and the top pot holding the ingredients fits nicely inside the bottom pot. This allows your filling (also known as custard in cook’s terms) to cook evenly and without sticking to the pan too much.
In the top of a double boiler over boiling water, combine sugar, flour and salt. Add 2 cups of milk and stir constantly for about ten minutes or until mixture thickens.
Remove from heat.
Beat eggs slightly in a heat proof bowl. While whisking eggs, add a little spoonful of the hot mixture to the eggs, then another spoonful, then another, until the bowl with the eggs has warmed. Once the eggs are warmed you can add them to the remaining hot mixture.
The reason for this extra step is if you try to add cold eggs to the hot mixture all at once without slowly warming the eggs, they will curdle.
Whisk until smooth then add warmed eggs to the rest of the hot mixture until thickened. Remove from heat again and add 3 tablespoons butter and vanilla beans. Cool slightly before turning into the banana filled, prebaked crust. Filling with thicken as it cools.
Divine. Decadent. Old fashioned goodness. Let me know how your pie turns out!