Chef Kathy Hanson of the Ritz-Carlton Orlando won the professional best of show category in the 2018 24th Annual American Pie Council National Pie Championships. Titled “I Love a Great Love Pie,” it won in the Royal Wedding category (a one-time category created to commemorate the royal nuptials between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle). Hanson’s pie featured bananas foster with vanilla bean and Marcona almond honey cookie crust and sprinkled on top with “Markle Sparkles.”



192 grams finely crushed Milk and Honey Cookies
32 grams crushed toasted almonds
25 grams sugar
76 grams melted unsalted butter

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl until blended; pour into a 9-inch pie dish sprayed with cooking spray. Press into the bottom and sides; bake in 350°F oven for 8-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool.


128 grams sugar
32 grams cornstarch
2 grams salt
288 grams half & half
230 grams heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean
4 grams almond extract
230 grams cream cheese, room temperature
16 grams confectioners’ sugar
2 bananas
230 grams heavy cream, whipped

In a cold sauce pan combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually stir in the half & half and the heavy cream. Stir until smooth. Scrape the vanilla bean into the mixture and cook over boiling water, stirring constantly, until it begins to thicken. Cover, and cook 15 minutes stirring several times.

In a small bowl, beat egg yolks slightly. Stir 115 grams of the hot liquid into the egg yolks, mixing well. Pour back into the top of the double boiler; cook mixture 2 minutes longer and continue to stir. Remove from the heat. Add the almond extract.

Pour the filling into a chinois resting over a medium sized bowl and strain the filling to remove any possible lumps. Cool to room temperature, slice the bananas and place in the bottom of the pie crust. Pour all but 230 grams of the cream filling over the bananas. In mixing bowl whip cream cheese and add the powder sugar, and reserved cream filling. Fold in by hand the whipped vanilla topping. Cover the filling with a piece of plastic wrap to prevent a skim from forming. Refrigerate until completely cool. Whip the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar. Lightly toast the remaining and sprinkle over the whipped cream and garnish with toasted almonds.

Vanilla Whipped Topping

460 grams heavy whipping cream
28 grams powder sugar
16 grams vanilla extract

Whip until firm and creamy. Add the powder sugar and the vanilla. Continue to whip until peaks form. Pipe over the top of the pie.


Formulation courtesy of Chef Kathy Hanson, image courtesy of American Pie Council