Banana Pudding Meringue Pie

A classic turned upside down, our delicious take on this fruit-studded cream pie inspired by Erin Jeanne McDowell’s #mydreampie challenge is totally bananas. Vanilla wafers are crumbled into a fluffy meringue, which is piped into a pie plate and then baked. The vanilla-scented meringue shell turns both crunchy and chewy—a flawless vessel for holding creamy homemade vanilla pudding and fresh-cut banana slices. A special shoutout to Rose Levy Beranbaum for this incredible meringue shell technique.

Banana Pudding Meringue Pie
Makes 1 (9-inch) pie
  • 2 cups (480 grams) whole milk
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (32 grams) cornstarch
  • ¾ teaspoon (2.25 grams) kosher salt
  • 3 large egg yolks (56 grams)
  • 1 large egg (50 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • ½ teaspoon (3 grams) vanilla bean paste
  • 3 large firm ripe bananas (566 grams), sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick
  • ¾ teaspoon (3.75 grams) fresh lemon juice
  • Vanilla Wafer-Meringue Crust (recipe follows)
  • 1⅓ cups (120 grams) roughly crushed vanilla wafers (32 to 34 wafers), divided
  • 1 cup (240 grams) cold heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup (30 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • Garnish: banana slices, vanilla wafers
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat milk over medium heat until steaming. (Do not boil.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in egg yolks and egg until well combined. Gradually whisk half of warm milk into sugar mixture. Pour sugar mixture into remaining warm milk in pan, and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, mixture no longer tastes starchy, and an instant-read thermometer registers 185°F (85°C), about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Add butter to milk mixture in two additions, stirring until combined; stir in vanilla bean paste. Pour and press mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, smoothing into an even layer. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface of custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, 3 to 4 hours or up to overnight.
  4. Stir chilled filling until smooth. In a large bowl, gently stir together banana slices and lemon juice. Using a small offset spatula, spread one-third of filling (about 208 grams) in bottom of Vanilla Wafer- Meringue Crust; sprinkle half of crushed wafers evenly on top, and cover with a single layer of banana slices. Repeat layers once, piling as high as needed; cover with remaining filling, smoothing into an even layer. (Reserve any extra banana slices for garnish.) Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cold cream and confectioners’ sugar at medium speed until medium-stiff peaks form. Spoon and spread whipped cream mixture on top of pie, leaving a ½ – to ¾ -inch border around edges. Garnish with bananas and whole wafers, if desired. Serve immediately.

Vanilla Wafer-Meringue Crust
Makes 1 (9-inch) crust
  • ½ cup (64 grams) plus 2½ teaspoons (7.5 grams) cornstarch, divided
  • 1¼ cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 5 large egg whites (150 grams), room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon (4.5 grams) vanilla bean paste
  • ⅓ cup (32 grams) very finely crushed vanilla wafers* (about 10 wafers)
  1. Preheat oven to 225°F (107°C). Lightly spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Place on a piece of parchment paper.
  2. Using a small fine-mesh sieve, dust prepared pan with ½ cup (64 grams) cornstarch until completely and generously coated.. Tip and hold pan, as needed, to help coat sides. (It’s OK if cornstarch is piled in spots; no need to shake out excess.)
  3. In the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together sugar, egg whites, lemon juice, salt, and remaining 2 2½ teaspoons (7.5 grams) cornstarch by hand. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring frequently and scraping sides of bowl, until sugar completely dissolves and an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C).
  4. Carefully return bowl to stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat at high speed until stiff peaks form and bowl is cool to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes, adding vanilla bean paste during last minute of mixing. Fold in crushed wafers in two additions just until combined.
  5. Spoon about two-thirds of meringue mixture (about 300 grams) into a pastry bag fitted with a ½ -inch round piping tip (Wilton No. 2A). Starting in center, pipe meringue in a tight, even spiral in bottom of prepared pan; starting from bottom edge and working upward, pipe meringue in rings around sides of pan.
  6. Spoon remaining meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a medium open star tip (Wilton 1M). Pipe meringue decoratively around top edge of pan as desired. (Make sure your piping is supported underneath by meringue and/or edge of your pan so meringue does not sag while baking.) Use any remaining meringue to patch holes or thin areas, smoothing with a small offset spatula, if necessary.
  7. Bake until dry and firm to the touch, 1½ hours to 1 hour and 45 minutes. Turn oven off, and let meringue stand in oven with door closed for 1 hour. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. (It’s OK if meringue surface cracks or falls slightly.) Best used same day.
*To very finely crush, place vanilla wafers in a small resealable plastic bag. Using a rolling pin, crush until wafers are ground into very fine crumbs.


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