Photo credit: Julia Becker

Banana Cream Pie with Whipped Cream Topping (aka Easy Moon Cake)

(Recipe courtesy of Gail Monaghan.)

1 prebaked and cooled 9-inch basic piecrust—homemade; or best-quality store-bought
3 large very ripe but not overripe bananas
1 cup cold heavy cream, whipped with 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Vanilla cream filling:

1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
Generous ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 cups whole milk
7 large egg yolks
⅓ cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small bits
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and salt until well blended.
2. Gradually whisk in the milk and then the egg yolks. Whisk vigorously until no yellow streaks remain.
3. Stir in the cream.
4. Place over medium heat and bring to a bare simmer, whisking constantly.
5. Remove from heat. Scape the corners of the saucepan with a spoon and whisk until smooth.
6. Return to the heat and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Continuing to whisk, simmer for 1 minute. Off the heat, whisk in the butter pieces and then the vanilla.
7. Spoon one-third of the filling into the cooled crust. Scatter half of the sliced bananas evenly over the filling. Repeat with another one-third of the filling and then the rest of the bananas. Top with the remaining filling.
8. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the surface of the filling and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (and preferably for no more than 6 hours before eating). Shortly before serving, remove the plastic wrap; evenly spread the whipped cream over the pie (to look like the Moon).