Bourbon Banana Cream Pie

A cream pie, of any kind, is a variation of an old-fashioned custard pie. But to me, a banana cream pie is a culinary work of art.  It is a magical combination of creamy vanilla custard, bananas, and whipped cream all layered together. This dreamy filling is set in an irresistible coconut graham cracker crumble crust that compliments the banana flavor perfectly. Some add chocolate, others butterscotch, but to mine, I toss in some sweetened shredded coconut and bourbon. And if you ask me this outrageously delicious chilled dessert is what you should be making this Memorial Day weekend to help kick off the summer season we’ve all waited so patiently for.

What is a Cream Pie?

In actuality, a cream pie can mean many things. A cream pie contains a rich cooked custard, made with a combination of milk, cream, sugar, flour, and eggs. Common flavors of a cream pie are; banana, lemon, vanilla, lemon, lime, coconut, chocolate, or peanut butter.  The custard filling is considered similar to French pasty creme, crème patissière, which is commonly used in French cakes, and tarts. But the pie’s decadent whipped cream topping is perhaps the most notable.  A cream pie is always a one-crust pie and can be made of a traditional American pie crust, a cookie crumble, or a graham cracker crumble.

banana cream pie

The Origin of Banana Cream Pies

Like many famous foods, banana cream pie’s origin is somewhat unknown. Many believe it comes from the Midwest, where pies generally have always been popular. Adding bananas to the pie happened around the end of the 19th century when bananas went from exotic to commonplace. Until then, most Americans had never seen, let alone eaten, a banana.

Banana Cream Pie Fun Facts

  • March 2nd is National Banana Cream Pie Day.
  • A 1951 US Armed Services survey, ranked banana cream pie as a favorite dessert among soldiers.
  • A  black-bottom banana cream pie means that it has a layer of chocolate on the bottom.
  • Banoffee pie” is the English banana cream variation and is a merger of banana and toffee.

banana cream pie


Comedians have used cream pies as gimmicks in their routines for decades. “Pie-ing” is the act of throwing a pie at a person or people for laughs.  These mock cream pies are, however, typically made with just whipped cream (sometimes shaving cream). Most believe pie-ing first began in the early 1900s during the silent comedy film days.

The Female Chaplin

Mabel Normand, the first woman comic in movies, threw the first movie pie at “Fatty” Arbuckle in the 1913 comedy, “A Noise from the Deep”. But the most notable pie fight was in Laurel and Hardy’s 1927 film, “The Battle of the Century”. This scene remains the biggest ever staged in a motion picture. It’s estimated, that about 4,000 Los Angeles Pie Company pies were used in the pie-throwing scene making it legendary in the pie-ing arena.

Pie-throwing aside, cream pies, like this bourbon banana cream pie with a flavorful coconut graham cracker crust, make a great summer pie, but one that’s overshadowed by the more traditional summer fruit pies. Cream pies make for a welcome and refreshing change in the warmer months when backyard BBQs are in full swing. A crumb crust also makes this pie an easier option for anyone who dislikes making their pie dough. The whipped cream topping can be as elaborate or as simple as you like. I like to pipe mine in a pastry bag using a simple star time to keep it playful. But you can also simply spread it out using a rubber spatula and have it taste just as spectacular.

banana cream pie

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

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