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Banana Pudding Pie

November 25, 2011

The first time I ever made this pie, the folks I served it to didn’t say a word.  They just kept eating as they gazed at their plates.  I was worried.  Maybe it wasn’t good and they were too polite to say anything or push it aside.  Then I took a bite myself.  I think I had a moment – it was so amazingly delicious! Finally one of my guests came up for air and declared the pie “outstanding.” And, it is.  Enjoy!!

BANANA PUDDING PIE 

1 9” vanilla wafer crust OR regular baked pie crust

VANILLA WAFER CRUST 

1 ½ cups finely crushed vanilla wafers

2 tbsp. sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

½ tsp. Mexican vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine the crust ingredients in a medium sized bowl and stir until the crumbs are evenly moistened.  Firmly press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides to the rim of a 9”pie plate, forming a crust.  Place in the oven and bake until golden and crisp – about 8 – 10 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack

BANANA FILLING 

¾ cup sugar

3 tbsp. cornstarch

1 vanilla bean or 1 TBSP. pure vanilla bean paste

½ tsp. Mexican vanilla extract

1 can of evaporated milk + enough regular milk to equal 2 cups of liquid, total

3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

3 tbsp. unsalted, melted butter and slightly cooled

2 firm, ripe bananas, peeled and thinly sliced

About 1 cup of whole vanilla wafers

Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a medium sized bowl. If using a vanilla bean, using the tip of a paring knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the inner seeds from both sides of the bean with the edge of the knife. Whisk the seeds into the sugar mixture, then slowly beat in the milk mixture in a thin, steady stream.  Whisk in the in egg yolks, one at a time.  Transfer the mixture to a medium size, heavy saucepan and cook over low to medium heat, whisking constantly and gently until it thickens – about 8 minutes.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and melted butter until thoroughly combined.

Arrange the sliced banana over the bottom crust.  Pour half the pudding over the bananas, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula.  Arrange a single layer of whole vanilla wafers on top of the pudding.  Pour the remaining pudding over the wafers and spread it evenly with the spatula. Top with meringue.

MERINGUE 

3 large egg whites – room temperature

½ tsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. cream of tartar

1/3 cup of sugar

In a medium sized bowl, beat together 1st 3 ingredients with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Gradually add the sugar, 1 tbsp. at a time, beating continuously until the sugar is completely dissolve and shiny, stiff peaks form.

Mound the meringue in the center of the pie, then spread it evenly around the edge of the inner crust.  Use a spoon to create a design of peaks and valleys all over the meringue OR use a flat metal blade spatula to create a beehive looking mound.  Place in the oven and bake until the meringue is nicely browned – 8 – 10 minutes.  Let cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack then chill at least 1 hour before serving.

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