This Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie includes layers of chocolate pastry cream, vanilla rum custard, bananas, and whipped cream in a buttery vanilla wafer crust.
It's incredibly rich, creamy, and indulgent without being overly sweet, and has been a favorite recipe in our family for years and years.
"Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for this recipe - I made this last week and it was just wonderful!!! Will be making this again to share with family!!! Delicious!!!" - Ashley
This chocolate banana cream pie has been one of the most requested desserts in my family for years. While everyone I've ever made this for has loved it, the pie will always remind me of two of my all-time favorite people: my grandpa and my son.
Our son Corey resembled my Grandpa in both appearance and personality. They were both the oldest of their siblings. Both were hard workers, independent, and responsible from a young age. And, they both had a weakness for homemade banana cream pie and chocolate. Especially when those two things were combined.
Whenever I would ask Corey what he wanted for dessert for his birthday or another holiday like Thanksgiving, we both knew the question was just a formality. He always wanted this black bottom banana cream pie. When he graduated from high school, I made 8 of these pies for his graduation party, ensuring enough for the party and 2 leftover - 1 entire pie for Corey and another for my Grandpa.
I made this pie for the last birthday we ever celebrated with my Grandpa. And, had I known our time with our son was running out, I would have made him 1000 more.
After loosing our son earlier this year, I thought I wouldn't ever be able make his favorite recipes again... Homemade tortillas, Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon, Homemade Dinner Rolls, Chicken Pot Pie, Carnitas, and this banana cream pie.
Turns out, I've wanted to make them more. His favorite dishes are also our whole family's favorite dishes. My memories of making his favorites include the rest of us enjoying them too. And we are still here.
I don't want to loose the memories of the past. I don't want to cower from making more.
So. I made this pie last week and took some to our youngest daughter. She sent me this text the next day...
I think I will be making this pie more often than ever.
Step-by-step photos and instructions
This pie was a hit the first time I made it, but over the years I've tinkered and tweaked the recipe to make it better and better. The recipe is simple enough to be summed up in 3 steps:
- Crush some vanilla wafers, mix them with butter, press them into a pie plate and bake for a few minutes to set
- Make a large batch of pastry cream. Flavor some of it with chocolate and the rest with vanilla and rum
- Slice up a couple of bananas, whip some cream, layer it up inside the cookie crust, and you're done.
The filling is nothing less than my all-time favorite pastry cream recipe, some of it flavored with bittersweet chocolate and the rest spiked with rum and vanilla.
The pastry cream is incredibly thick, rich, creamy, and delicious. It's also incredibly stable which means you can prepare it days in advance and know that it will still be delicious.
To make the vanilla wafer crust, simply dump some crushed vanilla wafers into a bowl with a pinch of salt and nutmeg. Pour in some melted butter and stir until all the crumbs are moistened.
Press the crumbs into a pie plate, bake for 10 minutes, and let cool.
To make the chocolate and rum custard fillings, start by chopping some chocolate into small pieces and dumping them into a bowl.
Add some gelatin to a bowl and stir in about 1 tablespoon of water. Set aside.
Add the egg yolks and cornstarch to a mixing bowl and use a wire whisk to beat them together.
Add some milk, sugar, and salt to a saucepan and heat just until it begins to boil.
Slowly pour the milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so the yolks don't scramble.
Pour the custard back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and begins to boil.
Pour about ½ cup of the hot pastry cream over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for a minute or two to melt the chocolate, then stir until smooth. While it's still warm, scoop it into the pie crust and spread it out into an even layer. Cover and refrigerate.
Break the gelatin into small pieces and drop them onto the remaining hot pastry cream. Stir in the vanilla extract and the rum, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Beat ½ cup of heavy whipping cream until it's thick enough to hold its shape. Add the pastry cream and continue beating until smooth.
Cut a couple of bananas into slices and spread the slices over the chocolate pastry cream.
Spread the rum and vanilla-flavored pastry cream over the banana slices.
Beat the remaining heavy cream with some powdered sugar and use it to decorate the top of the pie.
Advanced preparation and storage instructions
The fully assembled pie will keep perfectly well for at least 24 hours. Without the whipped cream topping, the pie will keep for at lest 2 or 3 days, assuming you can keep yourself and anyone else in your home from eating it for that long, of course. 😊
From a health and safety perspective, the pie will actually keep for longer than 2 or 3 days. However, after a couple of days the crust will be a bit soggy and the bananas will be a bit browned.
There's nothing wrong with eating it, but it won't look as pretty. By the way, this has never stopped anyone in my house from eating 4-day-old leftover slices should any of this pie manage to last that long.
Here are a couple of ideas for using the leftover egg whites:
1. Freeze them. I like to freeze them in ice cube trays, one egg white per cube. Once frozen, they can be popped out and stored in a freezer bag or other container for up to 1 year. Thaw as needed in the refrigerator, letting them sit out at room temperature for about 30 minutes so that they come to room temperature before using them in baking recipes.
2. Use them to make Italian Meringue Buttercream. Italian Meringue Buttercream is my all time favorite frosting for cakes and cupcakes. It’s silky smooth, incredibly creamy, and absolutely gorgeous to work with. Even better, the recipe happens to require 8 egg whites. It's kismet.
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If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #ofbatteranddough on Instagram.
For the Vanilla Wafer Cookie Crust:
- 2 cups crushed vanilla wafers (about 9 ounces)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 7 tablespoons (99 grams) salted butter, melted
For the Chocolate and Rum Custard Fillings:
- 5 ounces ( 142 grams) bittersweet chocolate (60-70% dark)
- 2 ½ teaspoons (about ¼ ounce) unflavored gelatin
- 8 large egg yolks
- ⅓ cup (38 grams) cornstarch
- 2 ½ cups (568 grams) whole milk
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon table salt, OR ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons rum (more to taste)
- 1 ¼ cups (284 grams) heavy whipping cream, divided
- 3 tablespoons powdered (confectioners) sugar
- 2 large + 1 small bananas
Make the Vanilla Wafer Cookie Crust:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C).
- Make sure the vanila wafers are completely crushed. I like to do this in food processor, but you can also put the cookies in a zip-top bag and beat them with a rolling pin until they are crushed.
- Dump the vanilla wafer crumbs into a bowl along with the salt, and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Pour in the melted butter and stir until all the cookie crumbs are moistened.
- Press the crumbs into a pie plate; press them in an even layer along the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake the crust in the center of the oven for 10 minutes. Let cool completely before filling.
Make the Chocolate and Rum Custard Filling:
- Chop the chocolate into very fine pieces and put it in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Add the gelatin to a small bowl and add the 1 tablespoon of water. Stir to moisten the gelatin and set aside.
- Add the egg yolks and cornstarch to a medium size bowl and beat with a wire whisk to combine. Set the bowl on a kitchen towel somewhere close to the stovetop. (This will keep the bowl from sliding around on your counter when you whisk in the hot milk later on.)
- Set a 1 or 2 cup (8-16oz) heat proof measuring cup next to the stovetop. (Preferably one with a pourable spout.)
- Add the milk, sugar, and salt to a 3-quart or larger heavy bottomed saucepan and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, just until it barely begins to boil. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Pour 2 cups of the hot milk into the measuring cup. (If using a 1-cup measure, do this in two batches.) Slowly pour the hot milk from the measuring cup into the egg yolks, pouring very slowly, and whisking constantly. Then, pour everything back into the saucepan and set it over low heat. (*See note.)
- Cook, stirring constantly, until the custard is thick and begins to boil. As soon as thickens to the consistency of pudding and barely begins to boil, remove from the heat and whisk for about 20 seconds longer.
- Pour about ½ cup (4oz) of the hot pastry cream over the chocolate. Let sit for a minute or two to melt the chocolate then stir until smooth. While it's still warm, scoop it into the baked pie crust and spread it out into an even layer.
- Break the gelatin into small pieces and drop them onto the remaining hot pastry cream. Add the vanilla extract and the rum. Stir to incorporate the gelatin and flavorings.
- Cover the chocolate filled pie crust and the bowl of rum flavored pastry cream and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 48 hours.
Assemble the pie:
- Beat ½ cup (4oz) of the heavy whipping cream with an elecric mixer until stiff peaks form. Add the pastry cream and beat on medium-high speed until smooth.
- Slice the two large bananas and spread the slices in an even layer over the chocolate pastry cream. Spread the rum flavored pastry cream over the banana slices, smoothing the top into an even layer.
- Beat the remaining ¾ cup (6oz) whipping cream and the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star attachment with the whipped cream and pipe the whipped cream onto the top of the pie in decorative mounds.
- Slice the remaining small banana and use the slices to decorate the top of the pie.
Tips for making the pie in advance:
- BEFORE decorating the top with whipped cream and slices of banana, you can store this pie, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
- AFTER decorating the top with whipped cream and pastry cream, the pie will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
- You can make the vanilla wafer pie crust up to 5 days in advance. Cover the baked crust with plastic wrap and store it at room temperature.
Tips for perfect pastry cream:
- I like to stir with a silicone spatula until the custard starts to thicken so I can easily scrape along the corners of the pan. Once the custard begins to thicken, switch to a whisk and whisk vigorously.
- After adding the egg yolks, it's important to heat the pastry cream slowly so that the eggs don't scramble. It should take no longer than 15 minutes for the cream to thicken. If it's taking longer than that, go ahead and turn up the heat slightly.
- It's important to remove the pastry cream from the heat as soon as it thickens. This happens quickly; you'll be stirring and stirring, and the consistency will remain the same, and then suddenly, it will thicken. When this begins to happen, whisk vigorously over the heat until the entire mixture is the consistency of pudding. Then remove it from the heat and continue to whisk for 20 minutes or so.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 736Total Fat: 46gSaturated Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 286mgSodium: 548mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 4gSugar: 38gProtein: 15g