This recipe has been on the menu at Emeril’s flagship restaurant in New Orleans since it opened in 1990. In March 2015, the restaurant celebrates its 25th anniversary and this banana cream pie continues to be one of the most popular items still on the menu today. There are a few secrets to making this pie, but we're sharing them with you so that you can enjoy it at home.
Combine 2 cups cream, the milk, ½ cup of the sugar, and the vanilla bean and seeds in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.
Combine the egg yolks, eggs, cornstarch, and the remaining 1 cup sugar in a medium bowl; whisk until pale yellow in color. Set aside.
Whisk 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Gradually add the egg mixture to the remaining hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly with a large wooden spoon to cook out cornstarch and thicken mixture, about 5 minutes. (The mixture may separate slightly; if so, remove from heat and beat with an electric mixer until thick and smooth.) Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.
To assemble, spread ½ cup of the custard over the bottom of the graham cracker crust, smoothing with the back of a large spoon or rubber spatula. Arrange enough banana slices (not quite one-third) in a tight, tiled pattern over the custard, pressing down with your hands to pack them firmly. Repeat to build a second layer, using ¾ cup custard and enough bananas to cover, smoothing down the layer evenly. For the third layer, spread ¾ cup custard over the bananas and top with the remaining bananas, starting 1 inch from outer edge and working toward center. Spread 1 cup of the custard evenly over bananas to prevent discoloration. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
In a medium bowl, whip the remaining 2 cups heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar and the vanilla extract and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
Remove the pie from the refrigerator. With a sharp knife dipped in the hot water, cut the pie into 10 equal slices. Transfer slices to dessert plates. Fill a pastry bag with whipped cream and pipe onto each slices. (Or spread the whipped cream evenly over the pie before cutting.)
Drizzle each slice with the caramel and chocolate sauces, sprinkle with chocolate shavings and confectioners sugar, garnish with fresh mint, and serve.