Prep Time:  1 Hour
Yields: 8 Servings

Comment:  This comfort classic is a crowd-pleaser especially for the kids.  Prepare this sweet treat for a special occasion or just a weeknight surprise. It's like love in a pie plate.

1 (12-ounce) box vanilla wafers, divided
½ cup butter, melted
2 large bananas, sliced
2 tsps lemon juice

Vanilla Cream Filling (see recipe below)
4 egg whites
½ cup sugar

Method:  Preheat oven to 350º F.  Set aside 30 vanilla wafers. Pulse remaining vanilla wafers in a food processor until coarsely crushed. In a bowl, stir together crushed vanilla wafers and butter until blended. Firmly press on bottom, up sides, and onto the lip of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. In a small bowl, combine banana slices with lemon juice.  Arrange slices evenly on the bottom of the cooled crust. Prepare vanilla cream filling, and spread half of the hot filling over bananas.  Top with 20 vanilla wafers and spread remaining hot filling over vanilla wafers. In a clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites at high speed until foamy. Add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves. Spread meringue evenly over hot filling, sealing the edges. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, and allow to cool 1 hour. Coarsely crush remaining 10 vanilla wafers, and sprinkle over top of pie.  Chill for 4 hours.

Ingredients for Vanilla Cream Filling:
¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
4 egg yolks
2 cups milk
2 tsp. crème de banana
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Method:  In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together sugar, flour, eggs, yolks and milk over a medium-low heat. Whisk constantly until it reaches the thickness of chilled pudding, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and crème de banana. Use immediately.