I love banoffee pie with a lifelong devotion and I know I’m not the only one. Being pregnant seemed to magnify this adoration and one of my main early cravings was for something sumptuously rich and creamy, with some saltiness, some sweetness and two of my favourite flavours of the moment thrown in: lucuma and banana. And so, avoiding the not-so-healthy store bought versions with clouds of whipped cream and cans of condensed cow’s milk, this raw banoffee recipe was born – in something of a fervour, for cravings carry that have-it-now-or-collapse power – and quickly demolished in a stolen moment of pure, unadulterated joy and bliss.
I love using lucuma as a sweetener and harbour dreams of one day savouring a raw, fresh one in its juicy fruity form floating somewhere in the Andes. My friend Diego says it’s as good as a sweet avocado. The malty, pumpkin-maple sweet fruit often gets touted as a superfood, and while it’s a source of some fibre and minerals and a lovely natural sweetener (and has been shown to be an effective topical aid in wound healing and skin inflammation), it doesn’t pack a huge nutritional punch beyond that but that does not make it any less wonderful to cook with – particularly if it means less sugary syrups to satisfy our modern flavour cravings. The taste is also wonderfully unique, reminiscent of maca and pumpkin pie – and adds a creamy maltiness to the banana that I think, although it might just be my hormones, is something super special, perfectly summery, and richly grounding with all its healthy fats.
Combined with the coconut cream and the tart saltiness of the cacao crust (inspired by the unstoppable Bianca of Wholefood Simply), these little pies are mouthfuls of manna. You can also just make one big one – either way, it doesn’t like to be too long out of the fridge so be sure to serve it cool.
1 cup pecans or walnuts
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/3 cup raw cacao
1 cup pitted deglet noir or medjool dates
a generous pinch of sea or pink Himalayan salt
1 medium / large ripe banana
1 tbsp lucuma
1-2 tbsp honey (to taste)
2 tbsp almond or cashew butter
3 tbsp coconut oil (at liquid temperature)
1 tbsp coconut cream
1 tsp vanilla paste
a pinch of sea or pink Himalayan salt
To make the base: In a processor, whizz the dates with the pecans or walnuts, and coconut, until a soft dough-like consistency forms. Add the cacao and salt, adjusting to taste, and place in a cheesecake tin or mini muffin tray. Press the mixture down firmly with your fingers so that it is tightly packed in; place in the fridge to set while you make the banoffee cream.
In a blender or processor, combine the banana, coconut cream, nut butter and coconut oil – you may need to heat the oil a little first if your kitchen (or general climate) is on the cooler side. Mix until smooth, adding the lucuma, vanilla, honey and salt. Adjust any flavours to taste before spooning on top of the base.