This banana pastry cream is a rich and creamy custard that is flavored by infusing milk and heavy cream with sautéed bananas. The perfect filling for tarts, choux pastry desserts, cakes or simply enjoyed with a spoon!
This is an easy recipe to use up those bananas before they spoil. And the best part is you’ll get the banana flavor without the browning! Let’s take a look at the ingredients you’ll need.
- Bananas: Ripe bananas will give you the best flavor and sweetness. We’ll start by cooking the bananas in a little bit of butter to soften them. This step will also make them sweeter and more flavorful.
- Liquid: I like to use a combination of heavy cream (35% fat) and whole milk. Using a bit more heavy cream than milk yields a pastry cream that is wonderfully rich and creamy. We’ll be infusing the liquid with bananas and then straining them out. When testing this recipe, I initially started off with pureed bananas. But the cream had a tendency to darken and turn brown. This won’t happen when using banana flavored milk/cream.
- Egg yolks: For richness, flavor and to thicken the custard. It’s best to weigh the egg yolks as the size tends to vary (even within the same carton). If you don’t use enough, the pastry cream won’t thicken properly. The egg yolks will also contribute to the color of the pastry cream, giving it a yellowish tint which is perfect for a banana flavored cream!
- Sugar: White granulated sugar to sweeten the pastry cream. You can adjust the amount depending on the sweetness of the bananas and your preference.
- Cornstarch: To thicken the pastry cream. This pastry cream is pipeable whilst also remaining creamy. If you want the pastry cream to be very firm or you plan on lightening it with whipped cream, you can add a little more cornstarch.
- Flavorings: Salt, to enhance all the flavors and a little bit of vanilla extract.
In case you missed it, we previously discussed in detail How to make pastry cream and I shared lots of troubleshooting tips.
- Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the sliced bananas and keep cooking on medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until softened (about 4 minutes).
- Add the heavy cream and milk then bring to a simmer. When you notice small bubbles forming, remove from the heat.
- Cover and set aside to cool down at room temperature then chill overnight (or for a few hours) to infuse the liquid with banana flavor. If you are in a rush, set aside for 1-2 hours then proceed to the next step. Just note that the banana flavor will be weaker.
- Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, gently pressing on the bananas with a spoon. You don’t want the banana pulp to go through as this will affect the color and smoothness of the pastry cream. Save the bananas for another use. You should have about 470 g (16.6 oz.) of liquid. Adjust the amount if necessary by removing some of the liquid or adding more. If you have less than needed, try extracting a bit more liquid from the banana mixture. Alternatively, add heavy cream.
- Briefly rinse and dry the saucepan then pour the liquid back into it. It’s best to wash the saucepan to ensure the pastry cream is completely smooth.
- Add about half the sugar then bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, salt and remaining sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk as soon as you add the sugar to the egg yolks so they don’t get lumpy.
- Whisk in the cornstarch then gradually pour the hot liquid (banana milk/cream) over the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Don’t pour the liquid too quickly so you don’t end up cooking the eggs. You don’t have to pour all of the liquid if you don’t have enough space in your bowl.
- Return to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened (about 7 minutes). Let it boil for 1 minute then remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla extract. Whisk until completely smooth then transfer to a wide container (to cool down faster). Optional: Strain the hot pastry cream through a fine mesh sieve if it isn’t smooth.
- Press a piece of parchment paper (or cling film) on the surface to prevent a film from forming. Cool down briefly at room temperature then chill. Whisk briefly before using.
How To Use Banana Pastry Cream
This banana custard is incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in countless desserts. You can use it for:
- Banana cream puffs: Prepare the choux pastry and bake it. Once cooled down, you can fill it with pastry cream.
- Pies and tarts: I’ve been pairing it with pâte sablée. If you’d like to make banana cream pie, spread half the pastry cream over a baked and cooled tart/pie crust. Place sliced bananas then cover with the remaining pastry cream. Top with whipped cream.
- Puff pastry cones: I’ve made Cannoncini with vanilla pastry cream but you can fill them with banana pastry cream instead.
Recipes With Egg White
Wondering what to do with those leftover egg whites? Here are a few ideas if you don’t feel like eating omelet!
- French meringue cookies
- Swiss meringue cookies
- Hazelnut raspberry financiers
- Coconut macaroons
- Chocolate royal cake
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