The caramelized sweetness of a Bananas Foster and the classic sweet cream fluff fuse together in this Paleo and Vegan Bananas Foster pie. The exciting flambéed bananas, caramel, and rum combine with familiar cream pie layers for a delectable dessert based on the New Orleans classic. March snuck up on us, didn’t it? But cool things happen in March! March Madness, Mardi Gras, 3.14, Crossfit Open with double unders and snatches…there must be pie!
For me, March is about college basketball. Not too long ago, ESPN did a cuisine tour of college towns in the SEC, showcasing the most unique and best place to eat. When they featured Gainesville, home of my beloved Florida Gators, they picked a Bananas Foster dessert from Ballyhoo, a restaurant frequented more by Alachua country residents (ACRs) rather than UF students. It also made no sense why a New Orleans original dessert represented Florida, but the flambéed caramelized bananas are well received in Gator country. At least by tourists. Nevertheless, they do make a beautiful Foster with a flambe presentation that gets your tastes buds excited.
The pie version of a Bananas Foster must have that flamed presence. For that effect, banana puree is seared on a hot skillet with coconut sugar and splashed with dark rum. Usually banana liqueur is added with the rum into a Bananas Foster, but I didn’t have any, I didn’t want to buy a bottle, and my way of smashing a real banana into a lot of rum is better. To be frank, I despise banana “flavored” things and prefer bananas only from their natural state.
The Paleo and vegan cream pie layer is whipped coconut cream, coconut oil, and coconut sugar, arrowroot, and cashew butter with a dash (or a lot) of cinnamon and nutmeg. Now, finding Paleo and vegan things that mix well together was quite the challenge. It was a delicate operation of substitutions. Cashew butter for cream cheese, coconut cream for dairy cream, arrowroot plus coconut sugar for powdered sugar. At least I kept the rum.
I believe I reached the end of the substitution line. There’s virtually no more wiggle room for change without going back the other way. Seriously. Other than my speculation in the notes below, I don’t think anything can be substituted without straying from Paleo and vegan. A few ingredients are chosen not only for taste but for integrity of the pie. “Pietegrity?”
Cashew butter is especially important for the structure of the pie. It’s full of the right fat that blends well with coconut cream. It also contains a substantial amount of protein which helps with the blending and seems to be crucial in preventing a grainy texture (i.e. phase separation of fat and water from the cream). You also need the starch (I suppose you can sub tapioca for arrowroot). Starch makes things nice and poofy, while preventing liquid fat separations.
Surprisingly, all those coconut products do not give a significant coconut flavor, if any. Coconut cream is the solid fatty part scooped out from a cold can of coconut milk. Using expeller pressed (refined) coconut oil will also not impart much coconut taste. Coconut sugar really tastes like caramel and is far from any coconut ‘taste.’ I wish I could call it “Caramel Sugar” instead, because that’s really what it tastes like.
The banana rum caramel sauce is spread over the banana slices, then layered with the fluffy whipped coconut cream. I used four bananas for the entire pie, but feel free to shove more bananas into those cream pie layers.
Chill it for a few hours, top it with pan seared bananas and whipped cream, and you’re ready! Banana, caramel, cinnamon, and dark rum in a lovely pie layered with fluffy coconut cream. What’s not to love?
- 1 9-inch Cookie Crust
- 3 cups of Coconut Cream (fractionated from 3 chilled cans of full fat coconut milk)
- ⅔ cup of Arrowroot Starch
- ¾ cup of Cashew Butter
- ½ cup of Coconut Sugar
- 2 teaspoons of Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon of Nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons of Dark Rum
- 2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
- ½ cup of Melted Coconut Oil (preferably expeller pressed)
- 4 Bananas (at least one very ripe)
- 2 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil
- 1 Tablespoon of Coconut Sugar
- ¼ cup of Dark Rum
- Whip the coconut cream on high speed with whisk attachment for about 1 minute until fluffy.
- Add the arrowroot starch and whip for about 30 seconds until combined
- Add the cashew butter 1 tablespoon at a time while whipping.
- Add the coconut sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and whip on high speed for about 2 minutes until the sugar dissolves into the mixture.
- Combine the rum, vanilla, and coconut oil.
- While whipping on medium low speed, very slowly pour in the coconut oil mixture, about 2 tablespoons worth at a time with 30 second whipping in between each addition. If the mixture starts to separate, stop and chill the mixture for 30 minutes then continue.
- Chill the mixture for at least 30 minutes before layering.
- Mash 1 banana and stir fry with the coconut oil, and sugar for about a minute until it starts looking nice and brown.
- Add the rum until continue to heat while mixing until the sauce reduces and a creamy sauce forms, about 5 minutes on medium heat.
- Slice the rest of the bananas into thin layers.
- Line the bottom of the pie crust with a portion of the banana slices.
- Add about ¼ worth of the banana caramel over the slices.
- Add a heaping of the chilled whipped layer.
- Repeat layering, finishing with the cream filling on the top.
- Refrigerate for 6 hours, preferably overnight.
- Garnish with whipped cream, banana slices, and coconut sugar.
- I suppose you can substitute cashew butter for macadamia butter and arrowroot for tapioca. But that’s it!