We love banana cream pie here (except for my banana hating middle sis). But up until now I'd always made banana cream pie with a from-scratch crust and vanilla pudding with bananas added. Then last year I read Faith Durand's book Bakeless Sweets (one of my favorite cookbooks from last year) and she makes banana pudding from bananas--who knew!? She also has a recipe in the back of the book for The Ultimate Banana Pudding Parfait, which I know is a very popular/famous dish in the South, that inspired me to make these single-serving jar pies.
The pudding tastes like bananas indeed, smooth and creamy, and even though a few steps are involved, they are all relatively fast, and simple, definitely worth it for the end result. Using vanilla wafers make a fine "crust" they soften but still retain some texture, and bananas are the reason they call it banana cream pie, so they need to be in there too. I made two layers because I'm really a crust person, if you want you can just do one bottom layer of vanilla wafers and mix the bananas in the pudding then cover the wafers.
Because it was Pi Day, one of my most cherished food holidays, I made pie dough numbers-of-Pi cookies to top the jar pies with. https://www.instructables.com/id/Numbers-of-Pi-Pie-Dough-Cookies/They are certainly optional, but quite tasty! As you can see I made two different size jar pies, the 8-oz. make a really nice dessert portion, the 4-oz. would be great on a dessert buffet, if other desserts are available, or perfect for kids.
These pies are easy to make, the banana pudding is so delicious I will be making my normal banana cream pies using this recipe from now on. They can be assembled ahead of time, if fact, both the pudding and assembled pies need time to chill, so do make them ahead of time!
You can also make a few batches of pudding and make a lot of these pies, they make clear plastic cups in sizes that would be great to serve a lot of people. Since I can, I always have canning jars around and think they make a cute presentation.
I hope banana cream jar pies are in your future, enjoy!
Banana pudding recipe from, and pies inspired by, Bakeless Sweets by Faith Durand, Executive Editor of TheKitchn blog: http://www.thekitchn.com/
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Step 1: Gather Ingredients
Six 8-oz. mason jars, or a mix of 4-and 8-oz. (I actually had enough pudding for seven, 8-oz. pies, using six, 8-oz. and two, 4-oz. jars)
18 to 22 vanilla wafer cookies
2 ripe bananas, sliced down the middle, then into 1/4-inch half slices
Whipped cream, optional for serving
Pie dough cookies, optional, for serving https://www.instructables.com/id/Numbers-of-Pi-Pie-Dough-Cookies/
For the Banana Pudding Supreme:
2 small ripe bananas, about 12 oz
1/3 cup sugar (because I didn't properly plan ahead, the store didn't have any perfectly ripe bananas, I used 1/2 cup sugar to make up for the lack of sweetness)
2 1/2 cups whole milk
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Step 2: Make Pudding
Note: Once you assemble the jar pies, they need to chill a few hours, since the pudding does as well, you might want to make the pudding a day in advance, then assemble and chill on serving day. Though I started my pudding at 11am, and served the pies for dessert at 9pm that night.
Flavor and warm the milk: In a 3-quart saucepan, thoroughly mash together the bananas and sugar. Pour in the milk. Warm over medium heat almost to boiling (the surface of the milk should quiver and vibrate). Turn off the heat.
Blend and rewarm the milk: Purée the banana-milk mixture in a food processor or blender. Pour it back into the pan and warm it for 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat, until bubbles form around the edges and the center of the milk is vibrating. Turn off the heat.
Make a cornstarch and egg yolk slurry: Put the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the cream, making sure there are no lumps. Whisk in the egg yolks. It is important that this mixture be as smooth as you can make it. (To be really sure, reach into the bowl and gently rub out any lumps.)
Temper the slurry: Pour a ladleful of the hot milk into the bowl with the slurry. Whisk vigorously to combine. The mixture should come together smoothly, with no lumps. If you see any, add a little more liquid and whisk them out. Pour this mixture back into the pan slowly, counting to 10 as you do and whisking constantly and vigorously.
Thicken the pudding: Turn the heat back on to medium. Work all the angles of the pan, and scrape the bottom. It will take 2 to 5 minutes to bring the custard to a boil, with large bubbles that slowly pop up to the surface. Boil, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Chill the pudding: Immediately pour the custard into a shallow container. Place plastic wrap or buttered wax paper directly on the surface to cover it, and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until fully chilled.
Step 3: Assemble Pies, Chill, and Serve
Since the 8-oz. mason jars are narrow, I like to cut the banana slices and half of the vanilla wafers in half so they have a better chance at making a flat layer. I also found using a wide mouth jar funnel, that I use in canning, helped me easily guide the pudding in, a long spoon and steady hand (which I don't have) should be fine.
Start with a layer of vanilla wafers, top with a layer of banana pieces, add pudding to cover. If you use a spatula to push the pudding down, it will completely cover the wafers and bananas so the wafers soften and the bananas don't brown. (If using 4-oz. jars, only make one layer.)
Repeat one more time with a layer of wafers, then a layer of bananas, followed by top layer of pudding. I stopped about 1/4-inch below top of jar leaving room for whipped cream and pie dough cookies.
I have nifty plastic lids for my canning jars, you can use the metal lids and bands they usually come with, or even plastic wrap. Wipe the rims of jars with a damp paper towel (if you want a pretty presentation, wipe the insides down to where the pudding is), cover and chill at least 2 hours.
When ready to serve, top with whipped cream and pie dough cookies. Enjoy!
Assembled pies can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator up to two days.