Bourbon Banana Cream Pie

Bourbon Banana Cream Pie

A cream pie, of any kind, is actually 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 come 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 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 are made with just whipped cream (sometimes shaving cream). Most believe pie-ing first began in the early 1900’s 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, about 4,000 Los Angeles Pie Company pies were used in the pie throwing scene making it legendary in the pie-ing arena.

banana cream pie

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 BBQ’s are in full swing. A crumb crust also makes this pie an easier option for anyone who dislikes making their own 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.

Bourbon Banana Cream Pie With Coconut Graham Cracker Crust

May 24, 2023
: one 9-inch pie
: 40 min
: 20 min
: 7 hr
: medium


  • For the Coconut Graham Cracker Crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
  • 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • For the Filling:
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon bourbon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large, or two amll, ripe bananas, sliced
  • For the Topping:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup Tablespoons Confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Step 1 For the Crust: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet, place in the oven and bake, stirring once, until lightly toasted, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
  • Step 2  In the bowl of a food processor, such as a Cuisinart, fitted with a blade attachment, add the graham crackers and pulse on and off till ground. Place the graham crackers in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.  Once the coconut is cool, grind it in a food processor and add it to the bowl of graham cracker crumbs and blend. Add the butter and mix to combine.
  • Step 3 Pour the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate. Using your hands, press the mixture up the sides of the pie plate. Evenly press the remaining mixture on the bottom of the dish. Place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes to set.  Remove from the oven and let cool while you make the filling.
  • Step 4 For the Filling: In a large saucepan, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt until well combined and thick. Set near your work station.In a small saucepan add the milk, place over low heat and bring to a simmer. Once heated through, remove from the heat. Slowly whisk the warm milk into the egg mixture.
  • Step 5 Place the saucepan back over medium, bring to a boil while whisking. Once hot, the mixtures will begin to thicken quickly. Cook the filling to a custard-like consistency about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the bourbon, vanilla and butter, stirring until well combined. Set aside.
  • Step 6 Next fan the banana slices out over the bottom of the cooked pie crust. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and smooth the top. Cover with plastic wrap (touching the filling) and refrigerate for 6 hours, until set.
  • Step 7 Once set and you’re ready to serve, make the whipped cream topping.  In the bowl of a kitchen mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, add the heavy cream and whip on high till stiff peaks are form. Reduce the speed to low and slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract.
  • Step 8 Evenly spread the whipped cream over the pie filling. Or alternatively, pipe the whipped cream using a pastry bag and decretive tip as I did here. You can garnish the pie with additional sliced banana’s if desired.

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