My husband knows it’s summertime, not by the sweltering heat outside, the plethora of bright greenery littering our neighborhood, or by the inaugural pool day. Nope, he knows it’s officially summer when pies like this Strawberry Banana Pudding Pie start coming out of our kitchen more often than chocolate chip cookies. Which is a lot.
I’m not sure why, but I’ve never really been a wintertime pie baker. While I enjoy the obligatory piece of pecan pie or pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving or Christmas, I have no desire to make one to keep around the house. One slice and I’m set until next year.
Wait, I take that back, because I could eat these Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars every single day for the rest of eternity.
Generally speaking though, summer is when my pie production shines. I make it my mission to pump out as much pie as possible, which also might explain why I gain weight each summer contrary to the general public. Well, pie and copious amounts of Summer Shandy and Strawberry Frosé.
I always have a tough time deciding which pie should be my first of the season, but after picking an obscene amount of strawberries at a local farm, my decision was made for me. I’ll gladly take any opportunity to make one less decision.
I was originally going to try and replicate a simple strawberry pie we get every year at the grocery store, but I’ve been craving southern banana pudding something fierce as of late, so I decided to meld two together. And wow, I’m glad I did.
Strawberries and bananas are a classic combination when it comes to so many items – smoothies, yogurt, cakes, muffins, etc. – but you rarely see the two together in a pie. Why??
Strawberry & Banana Pudding Pie in a nutshell.
Here, bananas blanket the bottom of a vanilla wafer crust, which is then covered in a thick vanilla pudding, followed by a layer of sliced strawberries, and finally, a generous sprinkling of more crushed wafers.
It’s exactly what I dreamed my first pie of summer would taste like.
Here’s the thing. Normally I steer clear of any shortcut packaged goods when it comes to cooking and baking. BUT I shamelessly adore the vanilla pudding from a package, and shameFULLY adore Cool Whip in all it’s processed glory. Don’t hate me.
So those of you who’ve come to expect from-scratch pie recipes here, I hope I’m not disappointing you. I think it’s safe to say, that once you take a bite of this Strawberry Banana Pudding Pie, the fact that it’s semi-homemade will quickly disappear from your thoughts. And trust me, no one will even know.
The pudding filling is more or less exactly how you prepare it according to the package instructions. The only changes I made were to add in eight ounces of cream cheese for sturdiness, reduce the amount of milk for the same reason, and add in a teaspoon or so of vanilla extract. Also, for a fluffy texture, a little bit of Cool Whip is folded into the mixture.
These little changes, while minute, make a big impact.
Of course, I don’t think it needs to be said, but you should use the juiciest, freshest berries you can find. The bananas should be ripe, but not overly so. And the final dusting of crushed wafers is mandatory. As is the homemade vanilla wafer crust.
Also, after a quick 30 minutes chill, it’s best served right away. Since we’re working with juicy berries that have a tendency to bleed juice, the pretty presentation won’t last if it’s made too far in advance. The taste, however will remain the same.
Ahhh hi summer.
Here are a few other awesome summer pie recipes you should be making this season!
- 45 vanilla wafers, plus more for crushing
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 8 oz softened cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 5 oz instant vanilla pudding mix
- 1 cup light cool whip
- 2 medium bananas, sliced
- 1 lb strawberries, sliced vertically
- Pie plate
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie pan.
- Add wafers to the bottom of a food processor. Process until wafers are crumbs. Slowly add the butter in while pulsing the crumbs. Once the butter is incorporated, turn the processor on for another 10 seconds or so to evenly distribute the butter.
- Pour mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely. (I like to pop the crust in the fridge to speed up the process)
- While the crust cooks and cools, make the filling. Add the cream cheese to the bottom of a stand mixer. Beat until light and fluffy. Add 1/4 cup of the milk, beat on medium speed until smooth. Add another 1/4 cup and beat until smooth. Repeat one more time with another 1/4 cup of milk. Add the remaining milk, vanilla, and pudding mix. Beat until smooth. Let the mixture sit still for five minutes until thickened.
- Fold the cool whip into the pudding mixture.
- To assemble. Layer the bananas on the bottom of the cooled pie crust. Pour the pudding mixture on top. Starting with the outside, layer the strawberries on top of the pudding. Keep making smaller circles that go towards the center until you've used all the strawberries.
- Sprinkle with crushed vanilla wafers.