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I don't think I've ever had banana cream pie.
It's just not something Cuban households do. We eat bananas with dinner. Yes, we're big on that sweet and savory combo.
But turning bananas into a pie? I can't recall.
However, when I came across Pinch of Yum's (and one of my all-time favorite bloggers of all time) two-person banana cream pies, I was literally drooling looking at the photos.
I wanted to try it.
I *had* to try it.
But I was determined to make my own version - and that meant it had to be vegan, paleo, gluten free, refined sugar free, and made entirely from scratch, because that's how we roll around here.
So this past weekend when I had a bunch of already-too-ripe bananas staring at me waiting to be used - I decided I'd go for it.
what is banana cream pie:
It is exactly what it sounds like. It is a pie made with a homemade pudding-like cream made using bananas, topped with whipped cream, and oh so delicious. Of course, if you like bananas that is, because the banana taste is obviously very pronounced.
I decided to keep my recipe simple and make them in jars as inspired by pinch of yum's no-fuss recipe because... it's Wednesday and I have a baby that won't nap so simple is my friend right now. For some reason making these banana cream pies in jar form seems less daunting than making one huge pie.
What you'll need to make vegan paleo gluten free banana cream pies:
To make this layered banana cream pie you just need a few simple ingredients:
For the crust:
- dates for sweetness
- vanilla extract
- cinnamon powder
- mesquite powder - optional (read below why I use mesquite powder)
For the filling you will need:
- full fat coconut cream from a can (I use the blue can from Trader Joe's)
- maple sugar, but coconut sugar will work too
- vanilla extract for additional flavoring
- coconut oil to help things get thick
- tapioca flour to achieve that pudding consistency
- a roasted banana
You'll also need extra bananas for slicing and layering.
What is mesquite powder and why do I include it in the crust:
The reason why I use use Mesquite powder in this banana cream pie crust is because mesquite powder resembles the flavor found in graham crackers. Many banana cream pie recipes use store-bought graham crackers to make the crust. However, store bought graham crackers are filled with yucky ingredients like: enriched flours, soybean oils, soy lecithin, and other "Artificial flavors" whatever that means! I very much prefer to avoid those ingredients therefore I wanted to skip out on using graham crackers and wanted to make a crust alternative. Using mesquite powder really gives this crust that graham-cracker like flavor.
Another great reason to use mesquite powder is for it's superfood qualities! Mesquite powder comes from the seed pods of the mesquite plant. It is a great source of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, fiber, protein, magnesium, zinc and potassium. So not only are we getting that distinct graham cracker like flavor, but also the many benefits of this amazing food!
how to make vegan paleo gluten free banana cream pie:
Making these layered banana cream pies are easy peasy, or as easy as pie? Haha.
But for real, once you've got your cream and crust ready all you have to do is layer the jars and you're done!
We start by roasting a banana at 350F for 10 minutes. Roasting the banana is totally optional but, it really does help intensify the flavor of banana in the pie. I recommend 10/10. Plus, while the banana is roasting you can be prepping the crust.
How to roast a banana:
Make sure to keep the peel on. Pop the banana on top of a baking dish and roast for 10 minutes, or until the skin of the banana is brownish/black.
Make the crust.
Add all ingredients to a food processor and combine until you get a sticky crumbly dough. You don't want it to be super sticky or nut butter-like.. just crumbly enough that you can layer it in your cups - see pictures for reference.
Make the banana cream pie filling.
Once the banana is roasted you're going to make the cream pie by adding all ingredients to the food processor. Don't even worry about washing the food processor after making the crust, that's unnecessary. Combine everything until smooth and then transfer it over to a pot.
Now you're going to heat up the mixture while adding tapioca flour.
This is what's going to help it turn into a pudding-like cream. Many recipes call for cornstarch but in order to keep it paleo I wanted to try using tapioca flour. The verdict is - it works! I started with 2 tablespoons and it wasn't thick enough for my liking so I added a third. However, your experience may vary and you might only need 2 tablespoons - so always star with less - you can add but you can't subtract!
One important thing to note is to keep whisking while adding the tapioca because the flour will get clumpy unless you do. Also, once you see that it starts getting thick remove from the heat and keep whisking for a minute or two. You don't want it to get toooo thick that it becomes a gooey mess. Once you see that it is thick, remove from heat and you're done!
Now here's the fun part! Begin layering your banana cream pie jars. Start with some crumbly crust, then sliced bananas, and a layer of the cream. Then repeat. Crust, sliced bananas and cream. Top with a delicious vegan paleo whipped cream like this one (super easy recipe check it out) and a dash of cinnamon.
You can enjoy it nice and warm fresh off the stove, so good with the chilled whipped cream OR you can place banana cream pie jars in the fridge for a few hours to chill.
In the mood for more desserts? Try these.
Layered Banana Cream Pie Jars (vegan, paleo, gluten free))
Melt-in-your-mouth banana cream pies topped with tasty whipped cream served in layered jars for your convenience. Vegan, paleo, gluten free, and refined sugar free!
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 3 servings 1x
- Diet: Vegan
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 3 medjool dates
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1/2 teaspoon mesquite powder – optional
- 1 can coconut cream full fat (it’s about 2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons maple sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 roasted banana
- pinch of salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons tapioca flour – start with 2, add 3rd tbs if needed. – add this last!
- store bought or homemade vegan paleo whipped cream
- dash of cinnamon
- Roast an unpeeled banana at 350F for 10 minutes.
- Prepare crust. Add all ingredients to food processor and combine until a sticky crumbly dough forms. Usually takes about 30 seconds. Set aside.
- Make filling. Add all filling ingredients to a food processor (except tapioca flour) including the roasted banana and process until smooth. Transfer to a pot and heat over low/medium heat. Add tapioca flour while whisking at the same time to prevent clumps. Start with 2 tablespoons of tapioca, and if it is not thick enough (should resemble pudding) after heating for 3 to 5 minutes, then add 3rd tablespoon. Keep an eye on mixture as adding tapioca will cause filling to thicken quickly and you don’t want it to burn!
- Begin layering jars. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of crust to each jar, then top with sliced bananas and about 1/4 cup of filling and repeat – crust, bananas, filling. Top with store bought or homemade vegan paleo whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon.
- You can serve it warm or let chill in the fridge for a few hours.
- I used small 12oz jars and serving size was 3.
- Always start with less tapioca flour for the filling – remember you can always add more but you can’t remove. If after heating filling for at least 5 minutes it is still not thick enough (like pudding) then add 3rd tablespoon.