Right out of college I moved up north and worked in a group home and actually lived with six teenaged girls who were drug and alcohol dependent. For a 21 year old to drive a mini van around town, taking 17 year olds to therapy appointments, AA meetings, and various errands, it was a lot to handle. It was a truly rich experience. On one hand it was one of the best years of my life because I grew immensely as an emotional and spiritual person but on the other hand it was also one of the darkest and loneliest times I have ever experienced.
My schedule was a bit complex and my off days never coincided with my friends’ schedules. Truth be told, having friends was a rarity too because I was in a town I never lived in before and I really didn’t know anyone. I would fear coming home because home was work and it reminded of all the demons I was facing at every moment and every second of every day. I took solace in Movie Day which was Thursday, my first day off of the week. It was my favorite time because I could escape the emotional turmoil for a brief 2 hours as I sat in the movie theater eating popcorn and some candy in chocolate-covered form.
Not only were those favorite moments but I also loved going to Marie Calendar’s with a journal on hand. I would sit in the booth and order a slice of Banana Cream Pie with a cup of coffee and pour my heart out into my adult diary. I still have those journals by the way and I am so deeply grateful I wrote and kept them. I still go back and read certain parts from time-to-time in order to remember where I was when I wrote them. Those entries have a way of bringing me back immediately to that particular emotion I was feeling, despite the fact that was 15 years ago. I treasure them as they are evidence of how far I have grown as a human being.Print
No-Bake Banana Cream Pie
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 mins
- Yield: 8 slices 1x
This silky, creamy banana pie will fool anyone into believing that it is actually made with eggs and cream.
- 4 c. gluten-free cereal (I used Chex)
- 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. coconut oil (use refined for no coconut flavor)
- 1 1/2 c. cashews (raw and unsalted), soaked in water for 1+ hours and drained
- 3/4 c. nondairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
- 2 medium bananas, ripe
- 3 Tbsp. coconut oil (use refined for no coconut flavor)
- 1 can coconut cream, set overnight in the fridge
- 3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the Crust:
- In a food processor, crush the cereal and sugar into fine crumbs. Pour into a bowl and add the oil until well-combined and resembles wet sand texture. Press into a greased pie pan and place in the freezer.
For the Filling:
- Throw everything into a high-speed blender and mix until completely smooth.
- Pour over the crust and place back into the freezer.
For the Cream Topping:
- With an electric mixer, whip up the solid coconut cream from the can (if you are using cream, the majority of the can should actually solidify) and powdered sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla and fluff up for another 30 seconds.
- Gently pour over the filling.
- Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until set (the longer the better). You can speed the process up by placing it in the freezer as well.
- Slice and enjoy.
- Serving Size: 8
- Calories: 418
- Sugar: 10g
- Sodium: 24mg
- Fat: 32g
- Saturated Fat: 19g
- Unsaturated Fat: 10g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 32g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 6g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
It’s funny how food can deeply represent a certain time in your life. Waffles and crispy bacon make me relive Sundays as a little girl. Nachos with chili (Chilly Billies!) take me to the softball field in junior high after a Saturday game. McDonald’s drive-thru breakfasts bring me back to those mornings on our way to high school when a bowl of cereal just wasn’t cutting it. And this pie makes me think of those nights I was too emotionally tired to go home and would find respite in a restaurant with my words freshly written onto a piece of paper.
This slice represents a girl becoming a woman, all the growing pains that came along with it, and the strength and beauty–the incredible beauty that arose from such ashes.
Hi there, is cocounut cream the same as a can of coconut milk with the thick part on top? :/ Sorry I don’t know this! Thank you!
They are not the same, Kirstin. Coconut cream has way less water content so when you chill it, it is far firmer than chilled coconut milk. I buy my coconut cream from Trader Joes 🙂 Hope this helps!
What a beautiful cake! I haven’t tried the no-bake cakes yet.
We have tons of ripe bananas that need to be eaten and I’ve been collecting recipes to make to use them up. I’d love to make this banana cream pie, but all I have is the Lite Coconut Cream, will this still work?
Lisa | Je suis alimentageuse
Cara this is such a lovely post. I’ve been following for a while (just catching up on my blog reader from May right now) but I still haven’t gotten to know you through your posts that much, but this post was very telling of your character. I’m glad you have those journals, and you are a very strong person to have gone through that experience. Kudos to you, and the pie looks amazing =)
I couldn’t find coconut cream, but I did find creamed coconut. The topping didn’t look like the frosting on your pictures. It never got fluffy.
Yup it’s official, you are an angel sent from gluten-free vegan heaven! You are sooo talented!
I really enjoyed this post.
I have the same associations with foods and certain periods of my life… and it is so nice to take a bite and remember those days and be swept with nostalgia.
I can’t wait to try this recipe. When you give the nutritional info… is that for one piece or the entire pie?
Thanks so much!
The calories are per slice but I’m curious if it’s on point. I just switched to this option with the nutritional info and am still trying to figure out if it’s 100% correct. If anything it’s roughly around the calorie count it gives (it’s high because of the coconut cream, coconut oil, and cashews)…but WORTH IT 🙂 ha!
Oh, Cara, you brought me to tears as well…you were the angel for those teens to cart them from place to place, and listen to the drama as they changed their lives….I was one of those teens….not literally, but I went down that road of addictions. I, too, had an angel or ten to help me change my life. You brought me back to those times, and I am forever grateful for the folks the Lord has put into my life so I could heal….and now I’m off to blow my nose and eat some banana cream pie!!
It’s so beautiful how regardless of the position played in that situation (whether you were the resident counselor or teenaged girl with an addiction) it is almost impossible for both lives not to be changed in a place like that. Writing this post brought me to tears too, Connie–it was such a painfully amazing time in my life and it just touches my heart deeply hearing your side and how you were changed by God and the love given to you when you most needed it. Thank you for this comment! It just brightened up my heart…xo!
Again, I’m in tears!!! I’m gonna need two pies!!! I am grateful for the experience of addiction as I now help others with that horrible life, and grateful for the angels who helped me and so many others….
I will bring you a pie and we will exchange our experiences 🙂 hehehe
OOPS……I responded under the wrong post, but I bet you can connect the dots!!!
Not a fan of bananas, but I had to leave you a comment saying I love this post 🙂
How could you not like bananas??? Especially in pie form 🙂 Regardless, you know I LOVE hearing from you so thank you! xo
I’m still waiting for that pie, Cara…..but it is kind of a long trip from Cali…but Vermont FOLIAGE is right around the corner…and boy is it ever beautiful!!! hint, hint, nudge, nudge, wink, wink…..
Jackie (no longer next to ur mom :()
If u ever need a taste tester…I’M RIGHT HERE!!! 🙂
I’m waiting for you to move to California… 😉
You are brilliant 🙂
And you are way too kind, Tina! xo
“Everything changes when you start to emit your own frequency rather than absorbing the frequencies around you, when you start imprinting your intent on the universe rather than receiving an imprint from existence.”
― Barbara Marciniak
Then and only then do you become your true you…and heal.It took me a while also.
I am currently writing this down so I can hang it on my wall. I LOVE it so much and it so has everything to do with what I have been going through recently. Thank you x’s one million, girl! xo
I had a similar experience working as a social worker in Chicago. I felt incredible loneliness. This is before I put my trust in the Lord Jesus. Now, that I know He is my Savior, I don’t feel alone ever. I pray that you, in your journey, seek the Lord and believe in Him. He died for our sins and promises never to leave us. There is no more loneliness. The Lord loves you, Cara, and He wants to have a relationship with Him. God bless you.
Hi Rosemarie 🙂 Thank you for the super thoughtful and reflective comment! It means a lot to me, really. Remember the journals that I was talking about? They were really my deepest prayers to God during that time. The group home I worked at was a Christian non-profit where I was surrounded by amazing people who loved, supported, and prayed for me. I believe that the loneliness I experienced was something I needed to feel in order to heal. Isn’t life funny like that? We go through these dark valleys only to look back and see how deeply involved God was in it, despite our not feeling it in the moment…
Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts
What a beautiful post, Cara! What important and challenging work you did at that time. Some of us outside that realm forget what a sacrifice the workers make to support troubled individuals while they’re working to get back on track–thank you!
And what a fabulous pie, too. I’m a sucker for banana cream pie, but haven’t had it in years. Must make this soon!
Hi Shirley! Thank you so much for this comment. You are such a kind soul–I appreciate your friendship. PS I’m a sucker for banana cream too 🙂 xo
Your Biggist Fan!
There’s no way you could do this without the passion you have for this! Everyone who knows you benefits. I, too, am so blessed to know you. I’m so proud of who you are! Just seems like yesterday you were that 21 year old – I can hardly see through the tears as I write.
Now I want some banana cream pie.
The Vegan Cookie Fairy
Beautiful post, Cara 🙂
Thank you Clem! xo
Beautiful, as always. Xo
You put into words what few of us ever could about food and feelings. I’m so deeply proud of you. The way that you can bake for people who NEED and DEPEND on your recipes and, most importantly, your way with words. I am so blessed to know you!!!! xoxo
Okay seriously sissy, you just made me cry. Thank you for this–and thank you for understanding why I do what I do. I tell you, some days I just want to call this site Cambria’s Place or something. She is always my motivation for why I do what I do.
I love you and cannot wait to see you soon! xo