Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Pie

Pie. It's divine. 

This pie was a simple thought that became a runaway train. It was supposed to be a cute and easy Sunday evening dessert. The original recipe is from Family Fresh Cooking and it's gluten-free. The crust is almond meal and cinnamon bound together by oil (I used safflower). The filling is whipped cream mixed with mashed banana. That's it. Simple. Innocent. Concise. Crust, bananas, and whipped cream. Fin.

That's when I started thinking too much.

My version has chocolate pudding filling for more weight. Roasted bananas to bring out the fruity flavor. Tiny chocolate chips as garnish. And caramelized bananas on top. Woopsy! How did all that get in there?

Honestly,  this is a pretty quick pie to make. Don't let my extra fluff and stuff deter you. The pudding is based off the Choco-Coco Latte Puddin' recipe so that's already a win. You can use the full Choco-Coco Latte Puddin mix if you want to keep that touch of espresso. I kept mine virgin with almond milk and unsweetened coconut milk. It's smooth, rich, and ready to go in 30 minutes.

Use your favorite whipped cream recipe for the topping. They tend to have the same general formula and delicious taste! I roasted 2 bananas to bring out their natural juices, let them cool, and then added them to the whipped cream to bring out the banana flavor. Smooth it over the sweet, luscious pudding. Don't worry, it's supposed to be off-white in color- that's the banana talking!

The caramelized bananas are thick slices of banana, rolled in sugar and cinnamon, and then toasted in a flat skillet at a medium heat for about 4 minutes on each side. Just enough to brown them, not burn.

The crust is from the Family Fresh Cooking recipe. It's gluten-free with almonds, cinnamon, and oil. I love almonds but honestly, this was not my favorite pie crust. It keeps the form when cut but crumbles apart in your mouth. Mike commented that it would have been better to combine the almonds and cinnamon, then sprinkle the mix on top of the pie or in between the layers. If you have a favorite gluten-free crust, please share!

Smooth, creamy, and dreamy.

Note: Best served cold; mine was melting by the time we drove to a family dinner so I was quite distraught. Also, make sure those bananas are RIPE. 

Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Pie
makes one, 9 inch pie

Almond Crust
from Family Fresh Cooking

1 1/2 cups Regular or Blanched Almond Meal
1/4 teaspoon fine Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 cup Sunflower, Canola or a neutral tasting oil
1 tablespoon Water

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the middle. In a bowl whisk together the almond flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Break apart any lumps. Add the oil and water, combine with a spoon. Put the dough on a work surface. Knead the dough until well combined with your hands. Press dough into a 9 inch tart or pie pan. Be sure to press it all the way up the sides and evenly throughout the pan.

Put tart on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, until slightly browned. Take it out of the oven and let crust cool completely on wire rack. To cool the crust quicker place in the fridge or freezer until cool to the touch (about 15 minutes).

Chocolate Pudding
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup coconut sugar
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 cup almond milk
3.5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (60% and higher)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the water of your double boiler. If you don't have one (like me), heat about an inch of water in a small pot just to a nice simmer. Combine the cornstarch, coconut sugar, and salt in a heat proof bowl. Slowly whisk in both milks. Place over gently simmering water and give a it a good whisk occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Make sure all the dry ingredients are incorporated. After 10 to 15 minutes, the mixture will being to thicken.  Add the chocolate. Continue whisking just a few more minutes, until the pudding is smooth, thick, and all the chocolate is melted. 

Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Place in fridge t cool, about 30 minutes, and spoon into ready-made pie crust.
Banana Whipped Cream

2 ripe bananas
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
dash of vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the bananas on a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, or until the skins are black and they have started to seep. Remove from the oven , set aside, and let cool. Mash the bananas in bowl- don't those juices escape.
Whip heavy cream for 3 minutes. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue to whip until thick whipped cream forms.  Fold in bananas. Smooth over mix on top pudding.

Caramelized Bananas
1 ripe but firm banana
some light brown sugar or white sugar (1/4 cup should do it)
dash of cinnamon
non-stick spray or 2 tablespoons butter (if you're being bad)
handful of mini chocolate chips (optional)

Heat a small skillet on medium heat with non-stick spray or butter. Mix some brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon together. Chop bananas into thick pieces and roll in the sugar mix. Line on skillet and cook on each side for about 4 minutes- making sure they don't burn. Garnish the whipped cream with the caramelized bananas and chocolate chips.