I had so many ambitions cooking lots of creative food for the Easter Weekend and posting lots of fabulous Easter themed dishes….and here I am posting Emerill’s Banana Cream Pie! Not exactly Easter themed but let me tell you it would make for a great dessert for Easter (or any holiday) especially if you host friends or family. I ate this pie the first time a month ago in an Emeril restaurant in Last Vegas in the MGM and it was SO good that I wanted to give it a try and make this pie for Mike since he is telling me for years about a dessert he loves that gets made with Vanilla Pudding and Vanilla Wafers (in this case though Graham Cracker Crust). This pie takes a little bit of prep work and with that qualifies for a “special day pie” and should be served when you plan on having at least 4-6 people over. This pie is very rich and has to be consumed pretty quickly (the bananas don’t last longer than 2 days in the pie).
So instead of making another banana cream pie – although tempting – I decided to go with the much speedier dessert version of buying Trader Joe’s Lemon Bars (they are really good for packaged Lemon bars) and spent my time decorating the house and prepping the Raclette dinner. If you never had Raclette, take a look at this Wikipedia article which gives you the story of this Swiss dish. Its a fun and entertaining cooking style where you prep a bunch of meats, veggies, potatoes, dipping sauces – whatever your heart desires and all the guests can cook their dinner at the table in little pans that go under a heater.
If you want to give Emeril’s Banana Cream Pie a try I suggest you prep the crust and sauces (I skipped the caramel sauce) a day prior and the second day just cook the pastry cream and assemble the pie. I read the tips Emeril provides here and I am glad I followed the recipe to a T! When I made the pastry cream I thought that it its way too stiff and thought to myself that next time I will use less cornstarch, but once I had the pie assembled and chilled and started cutting the pieces, I saw why the pastry cream needs to be extremely firm, any less firm and the pie would have fallen completely apart.
Emeril’s Banana Cream Pie
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and seeds scraped
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- Graham Cracker Crust
- 3 pounds (about 9) firm but ripe bananas, peeled and cut crosswise into 9 firm but ripe bananas (about 3 pounds), peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Caramel Sauce
- Chocolate Sauce
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 pound semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- There are a few secrets necessary to make this pie successfully. First, the bananas, while ripe, need to be firm so that they hold their shape when pushed into place. Second, the pastry cream needs to be very stiff so that when sliced, the pie will not crumble or slide. It’s also important to cover the bananas completely with the last layer of pastry cream to prevent them from discoloring. At Emeril’s, we pipe the whipped cream over each individual slice before serving, but feel free to spread your whipped cream over the whole pie (which, incidentally, has been on the menu at Emeril’s since day one, and continues to be one of our most requested desserts).
- Combine 2 cups cream, the milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla bean and seeds in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil, whisking to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat.
- Combine egg yolks, eggs, cornstarch, and 1 cup sugar in a medium bowl; whisk until pale yellow in color. Set aside.
- Whisk 1 cup hot cream mixture into egg yolk mixture. Gradually add egg mixture to hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly with a large wooden spoon to cook out cornstarch and thicken mixture, about 5 minutes. (The mixture may separate slightly; if so, remove from heat and beat with an electric mixer until thick and smooth.) Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in refrigerator for about 4 hours.
- To assemble, spread 1/2 cup custard over the bottom of the prepared crust, smoothing with the back of a large spoon or rubber spatula. Arrange enough banana slices (not quite one-third) in a tight, tiled pattern over custard, pressing down with your hands to pack them firmly. Repeat to build a second layer, using 3/4 cup custard and enough bananas to cover, smoothing down the layer evenly. For the third layer, spread 3/4 cup of custard over bananas and top with remaining bananas, starting 1 inch from outer edge and working toward center. Spread 1 cup custard evenly over bananas to prevent discoloration. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- In a medium bowl, whip remaining 2 cups heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add remaining 2 teaspoons sugar and vanilla extract and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
- Remove pie from refrigerator. With a sharp knife dipped in hot water, cut pie into 10 equal slices. Transfer slices to dessert plates. Fill a pastry bag with whipped cream and pipe onto each slice. (Alternately, spread the whipped cream evenly over the pie before cutting.)
- Drizzle each slice with caramel and chocolate sauces, sprinkle with chocolate shavings and confectioners’ sugar, garnish with fresh mint, and serve.
Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl and mix well. Add butter and mix well. Press mixture into a 9-inch pie pan. Top with aluminum pie tin and with a circular motion, press crust tightly into pan. Bake until browned, about 25 minutes. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Combine sugar, water, and lemon juice in a medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Let boil without stirring until mixture becomes a deep amber color, 2 to 3 minutes, watching closely so it doesn’t burn.
- Add cream, whisk to combine, and remove from heat.
- Add milk, 2 tablespoons at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before serving with pie. (The sauce will thicken as it cools.)
- Scald half-and-half and butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat.
- Place chocolate and vanilla in a medium heat-proof bowl. Add hot half-and-half and let sit for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Serve slightly warm. (The sauce can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for several days, but it must be returned to room temperature before serving.)
Frohe Ostern und Guten Appetit!