Banoffee pie is a fabulous dessert enjoyed by many people in the UK when they want to celebrate a special event (or even just to celebrate the arrival of the weekend!). The traditional recipe combines bananas and toffee with lots of cream, butter and biscuit so here at La Crisalida Retreats we decided to create our own healthier plant-based alternative banoffee pie. This recipe brings you the traditional flavours of banoffee pie, but without the use of dairy, nuts or highly processed sugars. It´s one of our popular summer Friday night desserts and once you´ve tried this version, it will be on your fave list too!
To make this wonderful dessert, you will need a good blender or food processor. You can use a hand blender for most of the elements, however if you only have a hand blender then it would be better to purchase the oat flour ready prepared. You will also need to give yourself 3 or 4 hours to make this dessert, as you need to leave parts of the dish to set.
This recipe calls for the use of rice syrup, which brings some extra sweetness to the dessert. If you prefer you can use agave or maple syrup as an alternative. You will not need to add much sweetness to the base, or cream, as the “toffee” filling (made from dates) is naturally very sweet.
What is agar-agar?
This recipe contains one “specialist” ingredient – agar agar. Agar agar is an algae or seaweed. It is used in many plant-based dessert recipes, as a substitute for gelatine (gelatine is derived from animals) and the effect is to make liquids turn stiff or soild. (Gelatine is the key component used to make jelly – or jello as it is called in north America). The effect of adding agar-agar into the mixture of rice milk and corn starch makes a creamy sauce turn solid. We then blend that “solid” mixture for a short period of time, which adds air into the mixture, and turns it into a lighter mousse – we use this approach to create a “cream” topping. Agar agar is available in different forms, you will want to purchase the flakes, as these are the easiest to use. Most health food shops should sell agar-agar flakes or you can probably purchase it online – it´s unlikely that you will find it in your high street supermarket so you will need to make a special journey or online order to purchase it.
Healthy banoffee pie recipe
This recipe serves: 8
Calories: 2225 total (278 per serving)
For the “crust” base
1½ cups oat flour (you can use a food processor to grind oat flakes into a flour)
2 tbsp rice syrup
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
1½ tbsp apple juice or water
2 tsp cinnamon
For the toffee caramel filling
1½ cups dates (stones removed)
3 tbsp soya or rice milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp water
1 large ripe banana, peeled and sliced into circles
For the cream topping (agar agar mousse)
1 tbsp agar agar flakes
½ cup soya milk (or other non-dairy milk)
150 ml rice milk
1 tbsp corn starch
Zest of ½ lemon
1 tbsp rice syrup
1 tsp vanilla
Optional to serve: dark chocolate, grated
Make the “crust” base by combining the oat flour, rice syrup, coconut butter, apple juice (or water) and cinnamon in a bowl. It should start to stick together. Press into individual tart tins or into a large tray (with sides), covering the base so it is about 1 centimetre thick. Place in the fridge, covered and leave for 1-2 hours.
Make the caramel filling. Add the dates, milk and vanilla into your food processor and blend until completely smooth. Add water as necessary to get a slightly runny consistency. If you want to, you can press the mixture through a sieve to make an even finer caramel. Then pour the “toffee” over the top of the “crust” and refrigerate again, covered.
Make the agar agar mousse cream topping. Pour the soya milk into a pan, then add the agar agar flakes. Bring the mixture to a boil, turn the heat onto low and simmer for 7 minutes until the agar agar is dissolved. Dissolve the corn starch with the rice milk and add it to the pan stirring constantly until it thickens. Add the lemon zest, rice syrup and vanilla. Stir again then remove from the heat. Pour the mixture into a wide flat-bottomed dish and leave to cool. Refrigerate for a few hours – you will see that the liquid becomes solid. Then scoop out the agar agar solid mixture into your food processor (or blender), and blend for 30 seconds, to make the agar agar mixture more light and fluffy, so it looks like a mousse.
Just before serving, assemble. Place the sliced bananas on top of the “caramel”, then top with the agar agar cream. Sprinkle the top with a little grated chocolate. Yum!