Vegan and (Nearly) Raw Banana Cream Pie for 2

My husband makes few requests of me when it comes to cooking and baking. I, however, make him try almost everything I make for this blog -...

My husband makes few requests of me when it comes to cooking and baking. I, however, make him try almost everything I make for this blog -- it's good to have another set of taste buds agree that a recipe is worth sharing. He is also my preferred taste-tester because he doesn't follow a strict diet like I do. He eats a healthy diet but still eats gluten, meat and dairy -- so when I'm experimenting with gluten-free and vegan recipes, I share them with him to ensure that the recipes will please even carnivores and bread-eaters. As a result, whenever I don't have something I'm set on trying out, I ask him if he has any requests. It's only fair -- he ends up trying as many failed experiments as successes!

When I say that he makes 'few' requests I mean that he literally makes a few requests. He has requested two things...for months. Two things that I have shied away from producing for him. Not because I'm a jerk, but more so because I'm not a huge fan of either dish and never even ate them much before going gluten-free. Most of the desserts I share on this blog are favorites I have loved and prepared since before my gluten-intolerance revealed itself. I have a good memory for food and know what the real mcCoy is meant to be, making me better equipped to tell if my new version lives up to the original. 

The first request from my husband was for banana cream pie, and the second, well the second is for another day when I need to apologize for something.

Because I never much cared for banana cream pie, I have not eaten many in my time. Because of this I have been more than hesitant to make it because I don't have a strong sense of what it is meant to be like. My husband however loves it and has been dreaming of a healthy version of it for some time. For this recipe I had him describe all that he envisioned as the perfect banana cream pie. I also did a little online dessert stalking to see what is typical of a banana cream pie dessert. It seems that most often a banana cream pie consists of a banana custard layer, a whipped cream topping and a crumbly buttery base crust. It is served chilled or room temperature. So this sounded doable. I decided I would give it a go. But not the traditional way, I was going to make RAW banana cream pie for us on a hot afternoon. It would also be paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, refined-sugar-free, vegan and easy -- if that wasn't too much pressure!

First I thought about each layer and how I could make each component a little healthier. Then I created a buttery base. This crumb crust was my first raw crust attempt! It was super simple and delicious -- just dates, shredded reduced fat coconut, chia, evoo, maple syrup, cinnamon and sea salt whizzed together in my food processor and pressed into my little tart shells. 

After the crust set in my freezer I moved on to the banana layer. The banana custard layer was easy to substitute. 

If you have every tried banana soft serve, you know its a pretty banana-flavored, yet ice cream textured dessert that couldn't be easier to whip up. I decided this would be my banana custard layer since ice cream is more or less frozen custard anyway. I spread this over the crust and let it freeze for a bit. After that I sliced up some frozen banana, and made a small batch of my vegan whipped cream to top the tarts. 

The banana slices went down on top of the firm banana custard, then I smoothed over the cold whipped cream and dusted it with a little cinnamon.  

 Voila! I tossed it back in the freezer for a few minutes to chill and then proudly presented one to my husband. I've never seen him so excited about a dessert. He insisted that I forget that I don't like banana cream pie and taste it. 

It was love at first bite. 

I was weary of both banana cream pie and raw desserts before I came up with this one and I credit it for my recent obsession with both. I may not love 'real' banana cream pie but this raw version is a winner in my books. Cold, creamy, nutty, sweet and satisfying. What's not to like? If you're not a fan of banana cream pie, try this recipe anyway, you might just love it! Best of all its a healthy and an incredibly easy dessert to prepare -- you won't even get your hands dirty!

Banana Custard Layer(vegan, paleo, gluten-free, nut-free)
Makes enough custard to fill two small (single serving) shortcrust tart shells.
  • 1 large frozen banana, peeled
  • pinch coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
Blend thoroughly until smooth and thick in food processor. Divide between the two prepared tart shells (recipe below) and smooth out evenly with back of a spoon. Return tart shells to freezer.
  • 1 frozen banana, peeled and thinly sliced.
Arrange banana slices evenly over the banana cream tarts. Return to freezer

Vegan "Whipped Cream"
Makes a small batch
  • 1 tiny can full fat coconut milk (160ml), refrigerated overnight in the coldest spot in your fridge
  • pinch coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp mild tasting evoo or other neutral flavored oil (optional, helps reduce coconut flavor)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional, I don’t bother)
Put a small metal mixing bowl in your freezer for 2 minutes.
Take the can of coconut milk out of the fridge. Do not shake and do not flip the tiny can over. Open. Carefully scoop out the coconut cream that has settled at the top of the can, adding it to your now chilled bowl. Avoid removing any of the opaque coconut water at the bottom of the can. Pour the remaining water into a container and store in the fridge for another recipe.
Add the salt and cinnamon and oil (if using). Grab an electric mixer and beat  the cream on high for a few seconds until it resembles whipped cream. Drizzle in the maple and beat to incorporate. Put the bowl back in the freezer for 2 minutes before adding to desserts or coffee.

Raw Pie Crust
(gluten-free, nut-free, paleo, raw, vegan)
Makes 2 small (single portion) short crust tart shells
Part I:
  • 2/3 cup finely shredded reduced fat coconut (unsweetened)
  • 7 small pitted dates or 3-4 medjool dates
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • dash coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp evoo or virgin coconut oil
Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor to form a paste.
Part II:
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
Add the coconut and blend briefly to distribute. Divide the mixture evenly between two shortcrust tart shells. Using the back of a spoon, press the mixture firmly into the base of each tart shell. Store the shells in the freezer for at least 10 minutes before topping with banana custard filling.

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