Healthy Banana Fosters Pie

This week is Mardi Gras and I am continuing to pull out all my “re-creation” recipes that are NOLA inspired.   One of my absolute favorite pies to make is my banana fosters pie. The pie is inspired by the traditional ice cream banana fosters dessert that NOLA is known for.  Banana fosters was created in NOLA by a French pastry chef back in the 1950’s.  It is an amazingly rich and decadent dessert.  While the traditional banana fosters is mainly made up of ice cream and bananas, I wanted to recreate the banana fosters taste into a convenient, healthy pie.

Traditional bananas fosters contains simple ingredients like ice cream, bananas, butter, cinnamon, brown sugar and rum liquor.  The bananas are generally cooked with the rum, cinnamon, sugar and butter to create a warm sauce that is topped over vanilla ice cream.  Some recipes call for allspice and nutmeg to be added to the flavor round up.  Since the banana fosters recipe is a quick cook recipe that should be served warm over cold ice cream, it is usually prepared just before serving and left overs do not keep well.

I wanted to make a banana fosters dessert that could be prepared well in advance and left overs could be enjoyed at a later date.  To create a banana fosters dessert that would fit these requirements I began brainstorming on various dessert forms.  My first thought was a cake, but since the traditional banana fosters doesn’t have a flour element in it, I quickly decided it would not have the similarity I was looking for.  My next thought was to create a bananas fosters pie, similar to an apple pie.  But that idea was dispelled as well knowing that bananas could not hold up in a sliced pie much like an apple could.

Finally my idea generating process lead me to a custard type pie.  A custard pie would allow the banana flavor to come through nicely and would offer the same dairy, creamy ice cream aspect of the traditional banana fosters recipe.  The resulting banana fosters pie is packed with flavor and high in protein.  Furthermore, the pie is low in fat, calories, sugar and cholesterol.

For my banana fosters pie I knew I needed to incorporate some of the same ingredients used in a traditional banana fosters recipe.  As stated before, a traditional banana fosters recipe includes ice cream, bananas, butter, cinnamon, brown sugar and rum liquor.  I wanted to keep the healthier ingredients like bananas and cinnamon but wanted to replace the not so healthy ingredients like ice cream, butter, brown sugar and rum liquor.

My first ingredient replacements were the butter and ice cream.  I needed to find an ingredient that was healthy, thick and creamy.  I wanted something that had the same dairy note, so I opted for non-fat Greek Yogurt.  Non-fat Greek Yogurt is a great, healthy replacement ingredient.  I always have a large tub of non-fat Greek Yogurt in my refrigerator at all times.  Since non-fat Greek Yogurt has an amazing, creamy consistency I wanted to see if it could replace both the butter and ice cream in the traditional banana fosters recipe.

The second ingredient for me to find a substitute for was the brown sugar.  Brown sugar is usually a combination of granulated sugar and molasses.  It is easy to replace granulated sugar with pure Stevia extract (or cane sugar or coconut sugar if you prefer).   Molasses, on the other hand, has a very distinct flavor profile that really can only come from molasses.  I decided to substitute the sugar portion of the brown sugar with pure Stevia extract, but add in a touch of molasses so that the final banana fosters still had that brown sugar taste.

The last ingredient for me to revise was the rum liquor.  Now it is debatable by some that the rum liquor should not be considered an unhealthy ingredient.  I am personally on the fence about this ingredient so I have included instructions in the recipe on how to use rum liquor as well as how not to use rum liquor.  The choice is up to you on which direction you want to go in with your banana fosters pie.  For the no rum liquor recipe, you can either leave out the flavor all together or you can use a rum liquor extract.  There are several types of rum liquor extracts currently on the market.  You will find some at the grocery store and others you will find online.  Be sure to check the ingredients on the extract to ensure you purchase one that fits your personal likes and dislikes (some contain horrid chemicals).

For the crust of the pie in this recipe, you have two options.  You can either make the pie crust from scratch or you can buy the ready-made pie crust which is available at most grocery stores.  Making pie crust from scratch is actually fairly easy and you can control the ingredients that go into it.  If you would like to make your own crust,  I have a simple, easy pie crust recipe I have included within this recipe page.  The ready-made pie crusts available at the grocery store do have added oils, preservatives, etc.  The ready-made pie crusts are certainly convenient and can save you a lot of time.  The choice is up to you and I have included directions on how to use both in this recipe.

The recipe below makes one standard 9″ round pie.  The leftover pie should be covered and stored in the refrigerator.  The pie can be served plain or with whipped cream on top.  Since I enjoy making mini desserts, the banana fosters pie that is photographed in this recipe page was created using a mini pie pan.  The mini pie pan is perfect since it only makes enough for a single serving (great for those afternoon dessert cravings).  If you want to make a mini pie, the recipe below can be divided by how many servings the mini pie provides (not all mini pie pans are the same size).  You can purchase mini pie pans online through several different retail outlets.

Banana Fosters Pie

Pie filling

3 ripe bananas

2 cups non-fat Greek style yogurt

1/2 teaspoon rum extract (or 1 tablespoon rum liquor)

1/2 teaspoon salt

A touch of molasses (about 1/8 teaspoon)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon pure Stevia extract (or 1/4 cup cane sugar or coconut sugar)

Pie Crust

1 (9″) pie crust (either store bought or homemade, see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place your rolled out pie crust into a 9″ round pie pan.  Place pie crust into the pre-heated oven and bake (unfilled) for about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor add the filling ingredients. Blend on medium speed for about a minute. You may need to stop the blender occasionally to stir the ingredients that might get trapped on the sides.

Once the mixture is blended well, pour the mixture into the pre-baked pie crust. Place the pie, once again, into the pre-heated oven and bake for about 30 minutes (or until the custard has set and the crust is a nice golden color). Remove the pie from oven and allow to cool, on a cooling rack, for about an hour. Cover and chill the pie in the refrigerator (so that is can set up some more) for about 2 hours. After the pie has set up it can be sliced and served. The pie can be served plain or topped with whipped cream.

Homemade Pie Crust (makes one 9″ pie crust)

1.5 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup coconut oil (room temperature is best, do no melt – or 3/4 cup shortening)

1/8 teaspoon pure Stevia extract (or 1 tablespoon cane sugar)

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons cold water (more may be needed)

In a large bowl, combine flour, Stevia (or sugar) and salt. Using your fingers press the coconut oil (or shortening) into the flour mixture. Crumb the oil and flour mixture together until it is similar to course sand. Using a fork, stir cold water into the flour/oil mixture. Continue adding water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough somewhat comes together into a ball shape. Press dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes before using. After 45 minutes the dough will be chilled enough to be rolled out, using a rolling pin, on a flour countered. Roll the dough to about 1/8″ in height.

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