Banana Cream Pie. Simple, smooth and perfect. There’s something about this simple southern pie that screams summer! With it’s simple graham cracker crust, vanilla custard, and layers of bananas, it’s just about as delicious as one bite can possibly get!
True story; I want to run away to somewhere in the south. (Those of you from the south, withhold judgement at my idealized notions). Every time I travel to the South, it’s like a step back. A tiny reminder to slow down and enjoy things. People seem to talk a little slower. Things seem to take a little longer. And no one is acting like it’s a big deal or that they are in such a hurry that it’s a problem. The days are hot and humid and the evenings are a little sweeter because of it as you sit on the porch and talk. The moss hangs from the trees and the lightning bugs zip by. Life just seems a little more plesant. And then there’s the food… If there was one region I would LOVE to eat my way through it would hands-down be the south!
My best friend’s mother was from the south. She cooked every single meal from scratch and with love. I am convinced this is why it was some of the best food I have ever enjoyed. (Not to mention the lard, butter, bacon, and sugar). In the morning she would prep the recipes for the evening, make breakfast and lunch for the family, head to work and come home and occasionally roll biscuits from scratch. There was never too much to do and she was never too tired to prepare a proper family meal. Every night we sat down at the dinner table and enjoyed supper together. It’s something that I charish, something my family does, and something that I hope everyone makes time for every now and then.
Talk a little slower, savor your meals, laugh with good company, and roll those biscuits from scratch.
Now, as far as getting away and dreaming, check out the new Southern Uncovered with the Lee Brothers on the Ovation Network. They are traveling the south and shining a spotlight on all things fine southern cuisine. There’s such a rich (and delicious) food culture in the south and they are exploring all of it city by city over 6 episodes hitting some major lanmarks along the way. Tune in for Southern Uncovered with the Lee Brothers Sundays at 8PM EST on the Ovation Network!
Need more love from the south? Check out this classic Humming Bird Cake. (seriously, do it)
For the Crust
- 8 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 10 classic graham crackers
- 5 vanilla wafers
- dash of salt
For the Custard
- 4 cups heavy cream, divided
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 3 to 4 bananas
For the whipped cream topping
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teas vanilla
- 2 teas sugar
- Handful of crushed pretzels if desired
For the Crust
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Pulse the graham crackers and vanilla wafers in a food processor until they are nothing but fine crumbs. Add the salt and butter and pulse a few more times to combine.
- Press the crumb mixture into a 9" pie plate and up the sides. Bake for 15-17 minutes until golden and fragrant. Allow to cool.
Make the filling
- Slice the vanilla bean in half and carefully scrape out the seeds.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, stir the sugar, heavy cream, milk, vanilla bean and seeds. Heat until bubbles around the edges appear and just start to pop, stirring often.
- Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch together in a large bowl until smooth and pale yellow.
- When the milk is steaming, carefully remove the vanilla bean and whisk, a little at a time, into the egg mixture. Whisking the whole time, pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and return to medium-heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir to make sure everything is smooth. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard. Allow to cool in the fridge for 4 hours.
- When ready to assemble, slice the bananas. Spread a bit of custard over the bottom of the graham cracker crust. Arrange a layer of bananas over the first thin layer. Top with 1/3 cup of custard and top with another layer of bananas. Repeat 2 (or more) times, pressing and covering with custard each time. Top the final layer with a thick layer of custard. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge 4 hours.
Assemble and Serve
- When ready to serve, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Stir in the vanilla and sugar and whip a moment longer (soft moist peaks, not dry stiff peaks). Spread a heaping layer over the top of the pie and top with some crushed pretzels if desired.
- Slice and serve with a smile.