Right around the holidays, I was on the lookout for Nilla Wafers in Manila. I visited about 10 supermarkets, 2 S&Rs, called about 6 Rustan’s trying to hunt this elusive box of goodness down. Twitter followers wondered if I was experiencing cravings or just plain demented. I was in dire need of it because I wanted to make Banana Cream Pie, and there is no substitute for Nilla Wafers. Sometimes I wonder if Nilla wafers are created for the sole purpose of  Banana cream pie. Anyway, needless to say Manila had a shortage of them, so I had to has Roomie to import some for me when we met up in Italy.

So here it is, my much awaited recipe post for Banana Cream Pie. It’s super easy and can be made in advance. The longer it stays in the fridge to set, the better the flavors and the texture becomes. Enjoy!

First off, you need some bananas, I prefer not so ripe bananas for the pie since the pudding itself is sweet, and so the bananas are still quite firm when you bite into the pudding.

Also important is the pudding mix. You can get a 3.4 oz packet of the instant pudding mix and it will be enough.

If you’re watching your sugar intake, buying the sugar-free/fat-free version is a great way to make this dessert a little healthier, plus it comes in Banana flavor which is perfect for this pie. If you want a thicker cream, I add one of these banana cream puddings (.9 oz) to the vanilla one and the taste is just slightly more banana-ish.

Use 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, around 14 oz. The first brand that comes to mind is Carnation because it reminds me of my childhood days.

One can of whipped cream. You can also use 3 cups of heavy cream and whip it yourself, but I was to lazy to be bothered, so the can is quite convenient. Make sure you get one that is not so sweet so you don’t overdo it on the sugar. Now it’s time to assemble.

First, pour the condensed milk onto a medium sized mixing bowl and pour in 1.5 cups of super cold water.If you’d like a richer pudding you can also use the equivalent portion of milk. Stir them together until mixed well and smooth in texture.Add the pudding mix onto the milk mixture and whisk it until smooth, for about 3-5 minutes.Whip it good!

After the mixture becomes a little thicker and lump-free, put the pudding mix in the fridge to set for about 2 hours. If you have time, you can leave it overnight so it becomes really thick.

When you’re ready to assemble the pie, take the pudding out from the fridge and add the whipped cream to the mixture. If you are using heavy cream, make sure it is whipped to stiff peaks before adding to the pudding.

Lightly fold in the cream to the pudding using a silicone spatula.

Once the cream and pudding are incorporated well, it’s time to assemble our banana cream pie.

I LOVE NILLA!

Start with a nice round glass pan and place Nilla wafers on the bottom. This serves as your crust. You can put as much as you want, and can even line the sides.

Slice some bananas

Arrange bananas on top of the wafers. you can add as many or as little as you choose.

Then spread a generous layer of pudding on top of the bananas, about 2 cups or more, and smooth it evenly to cover the bananas.

Repeat the process, using the Nilla wafers, bananas and creamDo this until you have repeated the layers about 3-4 times, or until you run out of pudding.

Once you finish layering, you can cover it with clingwrap and put in the fridge to set, for at least one more hour. This is important so the Nilla wafers absorb some of the liquid from the pudding.

When you’re ready to serve, take the cream pie out of the fridge, and sprinkle the top with crushed Nilla wafers. Voila! Banana cream pie.Let me tell you, importing the Nilla wafers is WORTH IT. If you can find it in the supermarket, hoard it and use them for this dessert. The pudding is addicting and luscious, and the NIlla wafers become soft like banana, melding together by the spoonful. This is a relatively easy dessert with no baking required, that reminds me of the Banana Cream Pie at Magnolia Bakery, in New York. After making this post, I want to make another batch tomorrow!

If you have found Nilla Wafers in Manila, where ?! I need to find the holy grail!

If you want more detailed instructions/help with this recipe, just post a comment. Enjoy and hope you try the recipe out and let me know what you think about it.