I have looked through dozens of banana cream pie recipes and more often than not, the recipe calls for boxed banana pudding. One of my favorite blogs, The Chubby Vegetarian, proclaims that although he and his wife don't often advocate premade ingredients, boxed banana pudding is the way to go for classic Southern banana pudding and meringue.
A few months ago, Andrews McMeel Publishing sent me a cookbook called "America's Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America's Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants". Long title- excellent, thorough cookbook. Everything from how to barbecue a whole pig to a recipe for barbecued rattlesnake. And there was a small selection of classic desserts found in famous barbecue joints across the country. And there were some banana cream desserts, a few of them swearing by boxed banana pudding.
I think boxed banana pudding makes sense. You really can't make banana pudding from scratch, from what I have researched. It changes color and has a sticky texture. Any from-scratch banana cream pie recipes I found had a vanilla filling and bananas lining the crust. And then cream on top. To me, that just sounds like a vanilla pudding pie with bananas.
So those last few paragraphs were all me convincing myself to use boxed banana pudding. And I did. And I really liked it. It had banana flavor you would assume that you would get from a dessert titled "Banana Cream Tart". Oh yeah, remember I titled this a tart and not a pie? That's because pie crust and I have a weird vibe when we get together. In the end, we work it out, but it's me that makes things uncomfortable. Solution? Tart made with a Nilla wafer and almond crust. Next comes fresh banana slices lining the crust and then they are smothered in banana pudding. Everything is topped off with cinnamon whipped cream. The result is a quick-make tart that is creamy and sweet with the popular flavor of banana and a hint of cinnamon.
1/2 cup almonds
25 Nilla wafers
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 3.4 oz box instant banana pudding
3 bananas, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Set oven to 375 degrees.
In the bowl of a food processor combine almonds and wafers. Process until crumbly. Add melted butter and process until combined. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch tart pan or springform pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the crust is fragrant and slightly firm. Allow to cool.
Lay banana slices into the bottom of the pan. Prepare pudding according to package directions and evenly spread over the bananas. Cover with plastic being sure to gently press the plastic right onto the pudding so a skin doesn't form. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
In a medium bowl, combine heavy cream, powdered sugar and cinnamon. With a hand mixer, whip until soft peaks form. Remove plastic from the pudding and spread whipped cream evenly over the top. Remove tart ring or springform ring and cut into slices.
Yields 8 slices.