Banana Cream Pie is the kind of dessert that brings you back to your childhood! Layered with a Nilla wafer crust, homemade vanilla pudding, bananas, and sweetened whipped cream topping, no one can resist this pie!
Combine Nilla wafer crumbs and melted butter in small bowl. Press into an 8-inch pie dish. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 5 minutes. Allow to cool on wire rack.
Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 3-quart saucepan. Add in milk and vanilla bean (if using) and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is bubbly. Continue cooking and stirring for about 10 minutes. The mixture should be slightly thickened.
Temper the eggs by adding a small amount of hot mixture to the egg yolks while whisking constantly. Continue to add small amounts of hot milk mixture to the egg mixture, whisking constantly, until you have a warm smooth mixture.
Add that back into the pan with the hot milk mixture and cook for a couple of minutes over medium heat while constantly stirring. Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla, and stir until everything is fully combined. Remove vanilla bean (but be sure to scrape out as many of the seeds as possible first) and discard pod.
Slice bananas and add to cookie crust. Fill until the top of the bananas are level with the top of the crust. Top with warm pudding, tilting pie dish as necessary to fully distribute the pudding to coat the bananas. There might be excess pudding. Just fill as much as possible without spilling.
Cover with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming and refrigerate at least an hour.
Whisk heavy cream with powdered sugar until soft peaks form.
Remove pie from refrigerator and top with whipped cream. You can spread it on, pipe it on, or both. Top with additional banana slices or banana chips. Keep pie in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Best if enjoyed on the same day. Bananas will brown and get mushy as time passes.