A well made banana cream pie is a taste of nirvana. It is a rich dessert, the quality of which depends a lot on the ingredients used. Typical recipes use totally conventional methods and ingredients. This recipe is one Marie developed that got rave reviews. You will understand as you read.
The recipe for the graham cracker piecrust is provided later in this section of this book. You can use a conventional piecrust instead, and that is very good also, but I prefer the graham cracker crust with banana cream pie. It is a matter of complementary flavors and textures.
1 graham cracker (or conventional) pie shell in a 9 or 10 inch pie plate
1 large (5 oz.) box of Jello® Vanilla pudding that you cook (no instant pudding!)
1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk (this is one secret rich pudding ingredient)
1 cup whole milk
½ cup heavy cream for the pudding (this is the other secret to rich tasting pudding)
1 cup heavy cream for the whipped cream topping
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla for the pudding (Jello® doesn’t use enough vanilla flavoring)
1 tsp. vanilla for the whipped cream topping
2 or 3 ripe but not overripe bananas (depending on size) chilled
Refrigerate the graham cracker or baked conventional piecrust.
Put the pudding mix into a 2 or 3 quart heavy saucepan like the French tin coated interior heavy copper type used for making cream sauces and candy.
Add the evaporated milk, whole milk and ½ cup of heavy cream while stirring to mix the dry pudding mix with the liquid ingredients. Add the vanilla and stir. Note that commercial pudding mixes lack sufficient vanilla and that is why we added more here.
Bring the pudding to a light boil on medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. When the pudding is bubbling slowly on most of the surface it is done cooking and it should be removed from the heat. Dispense the pudding into a glass bowl barely large enough to hold the pudding, cover it with plastic wrap and put it into the refrigerator to thoroughly chill the pudding. This will take at least one hour.
Covering the hot pudding closely with plastic wrap in a small bowl will help avoid having a thickened skin of pudding form on the top of the pudding. You want all the pudding to be soft.
The thoroughly chilled pudding is now ready for the bananas. Peel and slice the bananas into ¼ inch thick slices and gently mix the slices into the pudding with a wooden spoon. Note that adding the banana slices while the pudding was hot or even warm would discolor the slices and tend to over-soften them, which is not desirable. The bananas should retain their "just peeled" texture.
When all the banana slices have been added spoon the mixture into the chilled pie shell, smooth it out evenly, and cover the pie with plastic wrap and return it to the refrigerator.
Put your mixing bowl and whisk attachment for your electric mixer into the freezer 15 minutes before you plan to use them to make the whipped cream topping for the pie.
Immediately before serving the pie whip one cup of heavy cream at high speed in the chilled bowl using your electric mixer with the chilled whisk attachment. When soft peaks begin to form add two tbsp. of sugar and one tsp. of vanilla and continue mixing at high speed until firm peaks form.
Remove the plastic wrap cover from the pie and spread the whipped cream evenly over the surface.