I should mention right off the bat that this is the first Banana Cream Pie that I have ever eaten. I went vegan at 16, and I was an unadventurous eater living in a small-ish town growing up, so the oh-so exotic Vegan Banana Cream Pie was one of the foods that was never really on my radar. By the time I became interested in expanding my food horizons I was already vegan, so a lot of (read: most) prepared food were off the table, but I was satisfied trying every fruit and vegetable the grocery store stocked.
So when I set out to make this pie, I did so without a base or benchmark for how it should taste, how silky the banana custard should be, how mountainous the pile of whipped cream needed to be in order to qualify it as a Cream Pie. I just made it to be vegan, gluten-free, naturally sweetened, and to include ingredients I already had stockpiled. I can’t tell you if this pie will taste like the one you remember, but I can tell you that it’s pretty satisfying in it’s own right.
This crust is a re-jigging of my favourite gluten-free pie crust which I also used in this Black-Bottom Cherry Pie. It’s an easy press-in crust with a base of almond and brown rice flours, but you can sub-in any ground nut you prefer. The first layer is a simple banana custard made on the stove top with mashed overripe bananas straight from the freezer, then studded with chunks of full banana. I used coconut sugar to sweeten it, which gave the filling a rich caramel-ly flavour, but if you are looking for a lighter custard you can use organic cane sugar instead. Then the pie is topped with the vegan magic that is whipped coconut cream, and drizzled with chocolate and toasted coconut flakes. What a fine introduction to Banana Cream Pies, if I say so myself.
Vegan Banana Coconut Cream Pie Recipe
Vegan Banana Cream Pie
For the crust
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup finely ground coconut flakes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/3 cup maple syrup (check vegan status)
For the custard
- 3 very ripe bananas
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup potato or corn starch
- 1/2 tsp turmeric (optional, but makes very yellow and fun)
For the cream
- 1 cup coconut cream (see notes)
- 1/4 tsp xantham gun (optional, but helpful)
- 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 ripe banana, thickly sliced
- melted chocolate
- toasted coconut chips, to garnish
For the crust
- Preheat over to 350F. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients. In a small bowl, mix oil and syrup, then pour over dry ingredients. Stir until well combined and dough holds together when squeezed, kneading a few times if necessary. Press the crust into a tart pan (you may not need to use all the dough depending on the height of your tart pan). Parbake the crust until the edges are golden and the centre is firm, about 25 minutes. Let cool.
For the custard
- Mash the bananas very well, then combine all custard ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer, stirring frequently, and continue to simmer until thickened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool/
For the cream
- Place the coconut cream and xantham gum (if using) in the chilled bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk the cream on medium to high speed until smooth and light in texture. With the machine running, add maple syrup.
- Make sure all components are fully chilled. Spread custard in bottom of crust, then place sliced banana evenly throughout the bottom. Spread coconut cream over custard, thicker in the middle than near the edges. Garnish with melted chocolate and toasted coconut, if desired, and store in the fridge.
- The xantham gum in the coconut cream acts as a stabilizer and thickener which helps keep the cream from spreading at room temperature, but isn't necessary by any means.
- Parbaking involves poking the crust with a fork a few times to let air vent, then weighing the centre of the crust with pie weights or dried beans to prevent it from puffing up during baking.
- Coconut Cream is the solid part of coconut milk (check vegan milk alternatives) that rises to the top when refrigerated for at least 24 hours. A good quality can of coconut milk should yield about 1 cup when chilled.