When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Frozen Chocolate~Almond Butter~Banana Pie (gluten-free, vegan)
When I left my hometown to go to university, Laurie, who was always thoughtful and artistically talented, put together a homemade cookbook for me containing some of our favourite recipes. Over my years at school and in the first few years of my marriage to Matt, I added many of my mom's recipes and others that I collected along the way to the book's blank pages, and that cookbook became a trusted resource as I was developing my skills as a cook. Eventually I no longer needed to refer to the recipes -- I learned how to make the best-loved ones from it by heart, and I changed many of them over the years, too, as I got more creative in the kitchen -- but I still held onto the cookbook because of what it meant to me.
Last week I stumbled upon that old cookbook when I was sorting through some things, and it was great fun skimming its pages and remembering all of the crazy things Laurie and I used to laugh at. One recipe in particular caught my eye; it was for a frozen peanut butter pie, and I remember loving it the few times I had made it for special occasions. It was full of ingredients our family no longer uses, though, so I decided to recreate it in a healthier form. I'm thrilled with this new version, and I know Matt and the boys will be, too!
Frozen Chocolate~Almond Butter~Banana Pie
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling:
3 large frozen bananas, broken into chunks
1/3 cup smooth natural almond butter
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
For the topping:
3 tbsp chopped dark chocolate
1/4 tsp coconut oil
3 tbsp chopped toasted almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 F. To make the crust, combine the almond flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and sea salt in a large bowl. Whisk the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract together in a smaller bowl, and then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir well until you have a sticky dough.
Firmly press the crust mixture into a 9 inch glass pie dish with your hands, making sure that the crust reaches right up to the top edge of the pie plate and that there are no thin spots. Create a fluted edge along the top of the crust with your fingers, if you wish. Place the crust in the preheated oven and bake it for 15 minutes. Let it cool completely.
Place the frozen banana chunks, almond butter, and maple syrup in the bowl of a powerful food processor and process it at high speed, stopping every now and then to scrape the sides of the bowl down as necessary, until a smooth, creamy mixture forms. Scoop the banana-almond butter mixture into the cooled pie crust and spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon. Place the pie in the freezer for several hours, or until it is firm.
Melt the chopped dark chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring often. Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the coconut oil. Drizzle some of the melted chocolate over the frozen pie, then sprinkle the chopped almonds on top, then drizzle the last of the chocolate over everything. Place the pie back in the freezer until you're ready to serve it.
This scrumptious pie would be a wonderful treat to share with friends at a barbecue over the long weekend ahead. I hope yours is filled with good food and laughter!
This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays.