Emeril’s Banana Cream Pie

About a year ago my friend Elizabeth and I traveled to New Orleans for an extended weekend.  We had a great time, exploring everything from the French Quarter to the Lower Ninth Ward.  But, as many visitors to NoLa will attest, the highlight of the trip was eating.  Constantly.  Po’Boys, check.  Fried alligator, check.  Fried pickles, check.  Jambalaya, check.  Beignets, check.  Praline bacon (OMG!), check.  Pralines, check.  The list goes on and on.

One night we went for dinner at Emeril’s.  The highlight was his famous Banana Cream Pie.  Best Banana Cream Pie ever.  Despite immediately deciding that I would have to try to recreate this, I foolishly neglected to take notes on the treat and now it’s a year later and I can’t exactly remember the details.  I did find his recipe online, but I’m not completely convinced that it’s the identical recipe that is used at Emeril’s Restaurant.  Nevertheless, it’s pretty darn good.

I did, however, change the caramel sauce.  I’m sure Emeril would not have a bad caramel recipe, but I have made caramel before with no problem and his original recipe totally did not work for me.  So, rather than try and try again, I just dug out an old tried and true caramel recipe and have included it below.

Emeril’s Banana Cream Pie

for the pie
3 c graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c sugar
1/2 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 c butter, melted
3 lb bananas (about 9), cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices (ripe but still firm)
5 large egg yolks
1/4 c cornstarch
3 – 3 1/2 c heavy cream
2 c sugar
1 vanilla bean split and scraped OR 1 T vanilla bean paste

Crust

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • In a mixing bowl, thoroughly combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and mashed banana.  Add butter and mix well.
  • Press mixture into a 9″ cake (or pie) pan.  The crust will be quite thick.  (Note: If you are using a pie pan, the pie will likely be higher than the pie when all is said and done.  A cake pan will more likely contain everything.)
  • Bake until browned, about 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes.

Custard

  • Meanwhile, to prepare custard filling combine egg yolks, cornstarch, and 1 c of the heavy cream.  Whisk to blend well.  Set aside.
  • Combine 2 cups of heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla into a large saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk to dissolve sugar and bring to a gentle boil for about 10 minutes. 
  • Slowly add egg yolk mixture to the cream, whisking constantly until it thickens (about 5 minutes)  If this begins to look curdled, that’s ok.
  • Pour custard into a large bowl, cover surface with plastic wrap, and bring to room temperature. 
  • If you used a vanilla bean, remove once cool.  With an electric mixer, whip room-temperature custard at medium speed to re-combine.  If it will not combine, add another 1/2 cup of heavy cream.

Assembly

  • Spread 1/2 c of custard on the crust.  Arrange about 1/3 of the banana slices, crowding them close together, over the custard.
  • Spread 1 c of custard over the first layer of bananas.  Arrange another 1/3 of the banana slices over the custard.
  • Spread another 1 c of custard over the second layer of bananas, and another 1/3 of the banana slices over that.
  • Last, top with remaining custard, covering bananas completely to prevent browning. 
  • Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours to set.

Optional toppings:

  • shaved chocolate
  • powdered sugar
  • whipped cream
  • caramel sauce (see below)
  • chocolate sauce (see below)

Caramel Sauce

1 c sugar
1/2 c water
1 c heavy cream
1 T corn syrup

  • In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water, bringing mixture to boil (300 degrees on candy thermometer).  Lower heat and continue cooking until mixture is a deep caramel color (350 degrees on candy thermometer) and begins to smoke lightly.  Remove from heat and stir in cream and corn syrup.  Return to high heat and boil until you reach the consistency of thick syrup.  Mixture will continue to thicken as it cools. 
  • You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

Chocolate Sauce

3/4 c half-and-half
1 T butter
1/2 lb. (8 oz) semisweet chocolate
1/4 t vanilla extract

  • Combine half-and-half and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Heat until a thin paperlike skin appears on top, but do not boil.  Add chocolate and vanilla until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat and cool.
  • You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use.  Bring to room temperature (a few seconds in microwave) before serving.

serves: 20
calories: 392 (not counting toppings)

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6 Responses to Emeril’s Banana Cream Pie

  1. Heather says:

    Yum- I love banana desserts!

  2. Pingback: Grilled Romaine and Radicchio with Honey Blue Cheese Dressing | dressing games

  3. How do you cut a pie into 20 servings? Are they teeny tiny? I really want to make this. Regretting not getting any bananas at the store this week.

    • you’re not the first to ask this. Yes, 20 slices are tiny. Most people, in fact, would be like “who are you kidding?” But, I find that with this pie (what with the custard and all) a few bites satisfy me. Use your judgment – if you usually get 12 slices out of a pie, then just plan on that. The size I need to satisfy my craving would get 20 slices, but I’m a weirdo and that’s like a snack, not a DESSERT.

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