We turned the classic kid-friendly dessert into a giant slab pie, and to say it was a hit with the staff is an understatement. Every layer is just as delightful as the last, and you'll be tempted to go back for seconds (or thirds). Here's how it works: a buttery Nilla Wafer crust is topped with sliced bananas, then smothered with homemade vanilla pudding and layered with more cookies. After the filling sets up in the fridge, the pie is topped with a mile-high meringue that you'll toast to perfection. Though the process may look daunting, every step is simple—and the results are well worth it.
For the pudding and meringue:
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2¾ cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
6 cups whole milk
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Nonstick cooking spray
4 bananas, sliced
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
For the crust:
Nonstick cooking spray
2 11 oz. boxes Nilla wafers, divided
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
How to Make It
Make the pudding: Whisk together cornstarch, salt, and 1½ cups sugar in a large saucepan. Add ¾ cup milk and whisk until combined. Whisk in the remaining milk and yolks.
Cook over medium-low heat, whisking every few minutes until thickened and the mixture coats the back of a spoon, 13 to 15 minutes. Do not allow to boil. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Press plastic wrap directly onto the pudding and set aside to cool.
Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with two crisscrossed pieces of parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides. Lightly coat the parchment with nonstick cooking spray.
Remove 50 Nilla wafers from 1 box (about 3 cups); set aside. Pulse remaining cookies in a food processor until finely ground, about 20 seconds (you should have about 4 cups packed crumbs). Add melted butter and a pinch of salt and pulse until combined, scraping down the sides as necessary. Using your fingertips, firmly press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until golden, 12 to 13 minutes. Let cool.
Arrange banana slices over cooled crust (they will overlap slightly). Pour half of the pudding mixture (about 3 cups) overtop, then top with reserved Nilla wafers. Spread remaining pudding overtop. Press plastic wrap directly onto the pudding and refrigerate until firm, at least 6 hours or overnight.
Just before serving, make the meringue: Fill a medium saucepan with an inch and a half of water and bring to a simmer. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar, and 1¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar. Place the mixing bowl over the saucepan, being sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar is dissolved, the mixture feels smooth, and is warm to the touch, about 3 minutes. Transfer bowl to an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and add a pinch of salt. Whisk on low speed until just combined, then whisk on high speed until peaks are stiff and glossy, 5 to 6 minutes.
Preheat the broiler. Remove the pie from the refrigerator and spread the meringue over pudding, being sure to spread all the way to the edges so that no filling is exposed. Broil until the meringue is lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. (Alternatively, you can use a kitchen torch to toast the meringue).
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