Sunday, February 6, 2011

Marie Callender, It's All Yours - aka Banana Cream Pie from Scratch

Over 10 years ago I was in Phoenix, Arizona and had a chance to visit a Marie Callender's Restaurant.  I ordered a piece of their famous Banana Cream Pie.  Oh my.  Pie heaven.  Real bananas in a light, creamy filling.  It was one of those "taste sensations" that I will always remember.  (Just like the "taste sensation" I had eating a fully loaded, kosher hot dog on the waterfront in Seattle.)

I hadn't had banana cream pie since then.  Dessert is more of a treat than a regular thing around here. But I was raving about this BANANA CREAM PIE EXPERIENCE to my family a while back and had them craving a bite of pie heaven as well.

One day, while grocery shopping I passed the bakery aisle and saw a banana cream pie behind the case.  On a whim, I bought it, thinking of how much that would fulfill my family's pie dreams.

What a disappointment.  Heavy crust, overly sweet banana flavoured pudding from a mix, an edible oil product on top, and three sad little slices of bananas for garnish.  I vowed I would make one from scratch one day so that they could taste it for real.

Today, while the rest of the world watched the Superbowl, and while my 10 yr old caught up on 4 hours of math homework, I set out to make BANANA CREAM PIE.

Here's the recipe I used.

Banana Cream Pie


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 baked 9-inch pie pastry shell (I made a whole wheat crust from scratch- Here's the recipe I used.)
  • 4 to 5 ripe but firm bananas
  • sweetened whipped cream


Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in top of double boiler. Gradually add milk, mixing well. Cook over rapidly boiling water until thickened, stirring constantly. Continue cooking and stirring for 10 minutes longer. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks then return back to the hot mixture in the pan. Cook for 1 minute longer. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla to the filling then let cool thoroughly. Cover the bottom of the prepared cooled pie shell with a small amount of cooled filling. Peel bananas and slice into the pie shell. Cover with remaining filling. Add another layer of sliced bananas.  Cover with whipping cream.  Add a circle of sliced bananas in the centre and top with toasted coconut.

Here's how it turned out!

So MUCH better than store bought.  Yummy, fresh, and almost as good as Marie Callender's.  But it took me three hours.  THREE HOURS!  While my family certainly enjoyed it, I just don't have three hours to spare on a regular basis.  Now I know why I don't bake very often!  Then again, my lack of experience could be why it took me so long.  Plus the fact that I was doing laundry, colouring with my four year old, washing dishes, & dealing with play dough at the same time....

Banana Cream Pie From Scratch craving has officially passed.  Next time it hits, I hope I'm sitting in a Marie Callender's.  I'm willing to wait another 10 years...


  1. For Marie Callender pie: To make coconut cream, add 1/2 cup (Un-toasted) flaked coconut to warm pudding base. Use toasted coconut on top of Whipped cream as garnish. For chocolate cream pie, to warm pudding base add 8oz, semi-sweet chocolate and 1/4 cup chocolate syrup. Use warmth of pudding base to melt chocolate. Garnish Whipped cream with Chocolate Jimmies. To make a more stable Whipped cream toppping, mix whipped cream half and half with cool whip type product. Pipe mixture with Number 5 star in zig-zag pattern, 5 rows across the top of the pie. This will stay piped during refrigeration. For Banana cream, fill shell half full of warm pudding, add sliced banana and fill with remaining pudding, careful to cover all bananas. Otherwise banana will oxydize and turn brown. If you are not serving until later, top filled and cooled pie with a sheet of plastic wrap. This will keep top of pie from developing a 'skin'.
    I ran main bakery for a company in N. California who 'acquired' all of the Marie Callender recipes when it was still a small restaurant bakery in SoCal. This is the basic recipe for the pudding base for all cream pies. Only difference is that we used whole dry mild powder instead of liquid milk. Cooks up a little easier with less chance of scaulding.

  2. It does take time to make pies from scratch. And what a surprise to discover it was my whole wheat crust you made! Thank you for sharing the link. From one cooking-from-scratch foodie to another, I'm thrilled to discover your blog.