That up there, that is a chocolate pie. Not only that, but it’s also a healthy chocolate pie. It has no added sugar, a whole grain crust and the filling is made up of a metric crapload of bananas. It’s the dessert equivalent of eating grilled chicken and broccoli if chicken and broccoli were incredibly delicious and decadent. This pie is how you do clean desserts.
But, the motivation for this pie comes from a much darker, sugar- and fat-filled place. And that place is sea salt caramel gelato.
I picked this stuff up on a whim at a local specialty grocery store last weekend. As I was putting away the rest of my haul into the fridge, I twisted open the jar and just snuck a taste. Fireworks went off. Angels sang. Colors were brighter. My world was officially a better place. This was the most amazing, delicious and incredible frozen dessert I’d ever had. Before I knew it, I was wrist deep in the pint scraping every last morsel of creamy, salted goodness off the bottom. Totally satisfied with my decision to make a lunch of gelato, I turned the container over and, after a little sugar-fueled number-crunching, realized that I’d inhaled 960 calories and 44 grams of fat worth of deliciousness.
In that moment I realized that I really need to work on my healthy dessert recipe repertoire.
You see, there was something so appealing and comforting about that gelato. Something that I think a lot of my cleaned-up dessert recipes are missing. Sure, they satisfy the sweet tooth, but they don’t satisfy the need for pure, decadent, sugary bliss. I’m talking about the kind of culinary satisfaction that can only come from a hot fudge brownie sundae or a slice of your favorite cheesecake or your Mom’s famous cherry pie. Now, I’m not opposed to sometimes making a lunch out of THE BEST GELATO EVER, because my general food philosophy is “everything in moderation, including moderation” but this time was inspiration to up the game on my everyday desserts.
So I headed to the kitchen, determined to create a recipe that was both healthy and totally decadent, and this pie was born.
Now, I’m not going to say it’s quite as satisfying as that gelato (seriously folks, if you can find some, go buy it), but it’s pretty darn good. The decadence of it all hinges on the quality and sweetness of your bananas. Make sure to use perfectly ripe and firm bananas—preferably the ones that have just started to spot. I hate eating ripe bananas—I like mine with a bit of green—but you really need the extra sugars to make this pie what it is. And that’s totally delicious.
Let’s chat a bit about the crust. This past Fall, I became a pie-crust making rockstar. I mastered the art of a buttery, flaky crust and I was pretty proud of that accomplishment! This crust is not that crust. This crust is somewhere between a graham cracker crust and a regular crust. Not flaky, but dense, but with an interesting crunch and flavor thanks to the added unsalted peanuts. I really loved this crust, mostly because it was such an interesting change of pace! I’d imagine it’d be fabulous in a fruit pie because the filling would soak into the crust and make for an amazing treat. Feel free to test this guy out with all your favorite pie recipes and let me know how you like the different texture and taste.
In the end, I’m really, very happy to add this beautiful, healthy recipe to my dessert repertoire. I think it’d be a really nice healthy treat for a summer day (maybe side-by-side with my yogurt pops on 4th of July). But even with all the yumminess of this pie, I still definitely put a small (tiny, really) scoop of gelato on top when I ate it. I just can’t quit you, gelato. I just can’t quit you…
Frosty Banana and Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 1 pie
Adapted from: The Best of Clean Eating 2
For the Crust
- 1 1/4 cup whole wheat bread flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
- 1/3 cup nonfat milk
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon safflower or canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Filling
- 3 large, ripe bananas (about 1-1/2 pound)
- 1/4 cup honey (optional, only add if bananas aren’t ripe)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
For the Topping
- 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
- 1 ounce dark chocolate, chopped
For the Crust
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and peanuts. Pulse until mixed thoroughly and peanuts are well-chopped.
- In a spouted measuring cup, combine milk, egg yolk, oil, vinegar and vanilla. With the processor running on low, slowly stream the liquid into the dry ingredients. Process until combined and crumbly.
- Turn out mixture onto a floured surface and form into a mound, then into a flat disc. Roll out using a rolling pin until crust is about 12″ in diameter. Transfer crust to an ungreased pie pan, trim crust to about 1″ from edge. Fold under and pinch, creating a fluted edge. Poke bottom of crust with fork to create steam vents.
- Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until edges and center are just golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely before filling.
For the Filling and Topping
- In a blender, combine all filling ingredients and blend on high until very smooth. Be sure to check for banana chunks before stopping. Pour filling into pre-baked crust. Top pie with chocolate and peanut topping. Cover tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for 2-3 hours or until filling is solid and cold. If frozen for longer than that, let rest on the counter for at least 30 minutes to soften before cutting and serving.