Rum-Kissed Banana Butterscotch Cream Tart in a Cocoa-Buckwheat Crust {Gluten-Free}

In this gluten-free riff on banana cream pie, an easy cocoa-buckwheat crust underlines butterscotch custard and whipped cream laced with rum, ripe bananas, and crunchy cacao nibs. 

When Jay caught me muttering disgruntledly about all the “detox” recipes free of dairy, grains, sugar and booze in my feed last week, he made a brilliant suggestion. “You should post a recipe with all those things in it. A ‘retox’ recipe.” 

Brilliant!

While I’m all for healthy eating, I can’t help but think that the dead of winter is the worst time to fast on green juices and smoothies. San Francisco finally had a cold snap this past week and all I want to do is burrow under the covers, drink tea, eat chocolate, and watch Gilmore Girls with a cat on my toes.



Last weekend I needed a dessert to bring to a family potluck. I had some bananas I’d bought for making smoothies and then promptly ignored in favor of piping hot chilaquiles, so I decided to try a gluten-free version of my favorite banana cream tart.

“This is ridiculous,” I thought as I whisked butter into custard, added a shot of rum, and spread the whole thing in a chocolatey tart crust. “Everyone’s probably on a diet. No one’s gonna eat this.”



At my brother’s house later that evening, I was elated to discover how wrong I’d been. My brother poured me a tall glass of brown sugar mint julep he’d whipped up. My sister had made a vat of sour cream garlic mashed potatoes to go with my sister-in-law’s roast and green salad slathered in buttermilk dressing.



After dinner, I cut the tart into tiny wedges which my family fell upon like hungry bears preparing for hibernation. Everyone went back for seconds. They ate the whole thing in a matter of minutes. I regretted not making two because I thought about it long after it was gone, and I overheard my nephew say later, a wistful look in his eye that echoed my own sentiments, “I wish there was more pie…”




Luckily, this tart is pretty simple to make, as far as tarts go. It starts with a press-in crust made from cocoa, buckwheat and almond flour, a bit of tapioca starch, unrefined muscobado sugar and butter. The crumbly dough gets pressed into a tart pan (no chilling or rolling necessary), quickly frozen, and baked without the need for pie weights. A smear of chocolate in the bottom shields the crust from absorbing moisture from the custard, keeping it buttery crisp like the most flavorful shortbread you’ve ever had.



Into the chocolate-lined crust goes a simple butterscotch pudding (adapted from this one) flavored with vanilla bean, black rum, and muscobado sugar from Alter Eco. If we’re anything alike, you’ll be hard pressed not to suck down all of the warm custard as soon as it’s made. But if you resist, let it cool, and spread it in the tart crust with sliced banana, you’ll see how gracefully all of these flavors bring out the tropical notes in the fruit. The whole thing gets topped off with billows of whipped cream laced with more vanilla, rum and muscobado. I like to add mascarpone to make the cream a bit thicker and more stable, but you can also nix it in favor of more cream.


When you stick a piece of tart in your mouth, buttery crust gives way to creamy custard and gooey bananas. The buckwheat pops out in a symphony of earth and spice, bouncing off of sweet fruit and mild cream. Buckwheat always reminds me of toasted hazelnuts mixed with chocolate and cinnamon, and this crust makes me think of Nutella. Cacao nibs on top add crunch, and the muscobado sugar gives the dessert subtle caramel notes that make it extra addictive. This is one of my all-time favorite desserts, one that I plan to make over and over again.


Tomorrow I’m going to Kabuki Springs to marinate in steam and mud masks with my niece, who’s visiting from her first year of college on the East Coast. Soaking in a sauna, drinking cucumber water and hot tea while soothing music plays in the background… now that’s my idea of a winter detox.

With pie for dessert, of course.

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Tarted up:
Chocolate Bourbon Banana Cream Tart
Kinda Raw Marbled Pumpkin Tart {Grain-Free and Vegan}
Apple Quince Tart with a Buckwheat Crust {Gluten-Free}

One year ago:
Persimmon Tangerine Smoothies with Vanilla, Ginger, and Turmeric

Two years ago:
Chard Saag Paneer

Three years ago:
Double Malted Hot Chocolate

Four years ago:
Cardamom Snickerdoodles

Five years ago:

Candy Cap Crème Caramels

Rum-Kissed Banana Butterscotch Cream Tart in a Cocoa-Buckwheat Crust {Gluten-Free}

Be sure to give yourself a good 4 hours to complete this tart; most of the time is hands-off waiting for things to chill. I used Alter Eco’s unrefined muscobado sugar here, but feel free to trade it out for lightly packed muscovado or dark brown sugar, or another unrefined sugar such as coconut, sucanat, maple, or date. I think this could be made vegan by trading the butter in the crust and custard for coconut oil, the dairy in the filling for coconut milk, and topping the pie with coconut whipped cream. Use bananas that are yellow with some brown spots for the best results. If you lack a vanilla bean, add a teaspoon of vanilla to the custard along with the rum. I like the robust molasses flavor of The Kraken Black Rum, but a golden rum would work, too. Or bourbon. Or leave the booze off for a more kid-friendly dessert (though it adds more flavor than it does booze; the alcohol is hardly noticeable). This pie is best the day it’s been made, though it keeps well refrigerated for up to a few days.

Makes 1 (9″) tart, 10 large or 12 moderate servings

Gluten-Free Cocoa-Buckwheat Press-In Crust:
1/2 cup (2 ounces / 55 grams) almond flour
1/2 cup (2.25 ounces / 65 grams) buckwheat flour
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (1.25 ounces / 40 grams) cocoa powder (preferably dutch-process)
3 T (.75 ounces / 25 grams) tapioca starch
1/4 cup (1.25 ounces / 40 grams) unrefined sugar (such as Alter Eco’s Muscobado) or brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces / 85 grams) cold, unsalted butter, in 1/2″ dice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (1.5 ounces / 45 grams) finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

Banana Rum Butterscotch Custard Filling:
1/2 cup + 2 T (3.5 ounces / 100 grams) unrefined muscobado sugar (or 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar)
3.5 tablespoons (1 ounce / 30 grams) cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces / 350 ml) whole milk
1/2 cup (4 ounces / 120 ml) heavy cream
4 tablespoons (2 ounces / 55 grams) unsalted butter, in several pieces
2 tablespoons black rum (I like The Kraken)
3 large ripe but firm bananas (about 1 pound / 450 grams)

Whipped Cream Topping:
1 cup (8 ounces / 240 ml) heavy cream
1/3 cup (5 ounces / 140 grams) mascarpone (or sour cream, or creme fraiche, or more heavy cream)
1 – 2 tablespoons unrefined muscobado sugar, to taste
1 tablespoon black rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
~ 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
a small block of bittersweet chocolate for shavings (optional)

Make the crust:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Place a 9″ tart pan with removable bottom on a rimmed baking sheet.

In the bowl of a food processor or stand mixer, combine the almond flour, buckwheat flour, cocoa powder, tapioca starch, muscobado sugar, salt, butter pieces, and vanilla, and process until the mixture forms large, moist clumps, about 30 seconds. (You can also do this in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a bowl with your fingertips.) Dump the crumbly dough into the tart pan. Press the dough first up the sides, then into the bottom of the pan, taking the time to make the crust even and square where the sides meet the bottom. (If the dough is soft or sticky, chill it for 5-10 minutes until it will behave.) Prick the bottom of the dough all over with the tines of a fork.

Freeze the crust until firm, at least 15 minutes (or wrap and freeze for up to several months). Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until dry, toasty-smelling, and fairly firm to the touch, 20-25 minutes. Scatter the chopped chocolate in the hot shell, let sit for a minute or two to melt, then use the back of a spoon or a small, offset spatula to spread the melted chocolate into a thin layer in the bottom of the tart shell. Let cool to room temperature.

Make the custard filling:

In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla pod and seeds. Whisk in the milk and cream. Bring the mixture to a slow boil over medium-high heat, whisking the dickens out of it, making sure to scrape the bottom and corners of the pans with the whisk. You’ll have to stop whisking for a few seconds to verify that the pudding is boiling, which you’ll know by the big bubbles that pop gloopily. Once the mixture comes to a boil, continue cooking and whisking for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, whisk in the butter, then the rum. It should be the consistency of creamy yogurt.

Strain the pudding through a sieve and into a bowl. Press plastic wrap right on the surface of the pudding, and let cool at room temperature until warm, 30-45 minutes.

Assemble the tart:

When the pudding has cooled, spread half of it into the chocolate-lined shell. Peel and slice the bananas, and spread the slices in circles over the pudding. Cover with the remaining pudding. Cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface of the pudding. Chill until set, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Whip the cream with the mascarpone and sugar until it billows softly. Add the rum and vanilla and continue whipping until it holds firm peaks. (If you take the cream too far and it begins to look grainy, you can usually rescue it by gently folding in additional heavy cream until it loosens up again.)

Remove the plastic wrap from the tart, and spread the cream evenly over the top, swirling it with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with the cacao nibs, then use a vegetable peeler to shave chocolate over the top as though you were peeling potatoes (optional).

Chill the pie for 30 more minutes to set the cream, if you have the patience. Remove the ring from the pan, place the tart on a cutting board, and use a sharp chef’s knife to slice the pie into wedges, wiping the knife clean between each cut.

Store leftover pie airtight in the fridge for up to 3 days.

64 thoughts on “Rum-Kissed Banana Butterscotch Cream Tart in a Cocoa-Buckwheat Crust {Gluten-Free}”

  1. OMG THE TART!!!!!! I seriously cannot wait to get back to Houston and my buckwheat flour so I can make this!!!! So, so grateful you and Jay got that "retox" idea into your heads, because this tart basically made the gathering at your place the other night. I mean aside from all the awesome peeps ;) Ugh and can I just say that I LOVED the cacao nibs on this? Perfect touch.

    I'm really digging the light + bright vibe of these photos–absolutely gorgeous, as always. Hope you had an amazing, relaxing time at Kabuki Springs (love that place)!!

    1. You are so sweet… but I think Pang's fried rice took the cake! Who can compete with individual take out containers?? Kabuki is the best, I'm so glad you know how awesome it is! :) Thanks for all the sweet words, and please let me know if you give this tart a go.

  2. I am SO GLAD you made this for all of us at the potluck; it is one of the best dessert I have ever had, truly!!!! I really need to make this dessert for my family.

    Love the recipe (of course) & your awesome photos, girl!!!!.. Truly inspired post, Alanna.
    Sending you hugs from a few blocks away :)

  3. OH MY WOW! The only thing(s) keeping me from making this RIGHT NOW is a lack of bananas and no desire to change out of my pjs and go to the store! Thank you for this- it looks so incredibly delicious, all my favorite flavors together!

  4. RETOX ALL THE WAY! OMG mint juleps, garlic mashed potatoes and this incredible tart!! Your family sounds like my kinda people, Alanna. And this tart? Just too dreamy for words. That butterscotch, those bananas, the clouds of whipped cream … No wonder it was such a hit. I love that little moment with your nephew — best compliment ever! I'm with him, I wish there was more pie, too. Amazing.

  5. Your photographs are beautiful and this tart is a stunner. You've given me an idea for a way to update an old Prairie pie that has a graham cracker crust. I think it needs a layer of chocolate :)

  6. i am right there with you in being annoyed every single year of all the detox this, skinny that in my feeds. boo. moderation and nourishment is good for body and soul. i am not one bit surprised that this pie disappeared quickly. i love bananas & you know your butterscotch pudding is one my favorites. hope you had a nice spa day!

    1. Yeah! I get a ton of traffic from your pudding post – thanks!! I'm so glad you're with me. And the spa was AMAZING. We should go when you're here in the spring!

  7. I am in love with the photography in this post (and the countertops!) and the tart is absolutely stunning. I know I would love making/eating this but I am indeed taking a bread from eating all things sweet for the time being! Pinned for a later day…

  8. your use of cacao nibs is always so spot on. i love that you use them to garnish often — as it should be :) your photography is always stunning and so is this recipe!!! my husband is a nut about bananas so I'll have to try this sometime — maybe for his 28th birthday. he would flip!

  9. Ha, I love the idea of a retox recipe! Especially when it contains such deliciousness as booze + butterscotch + chocolate. I think those are pretty much essential food groups for January…

  10. I love a good retox! My first baking adventure of the New Year was muffins and cupcakes…so, yeah, I'm on board for sure!
    I love combining buckwheat with chocolate. The flavours are so complimentary. My brother in law is a huge banoffee pie lover so he is just going to love this one!

  11. Inspiration and warmth, Alanna, abounds from your post. Since I've detoxed and retoxed and detoxed again, its time, gleefully, for a retox! Your cream tart has made my shortlist. All the components are shouting at me… and some of my favorite things are included… rum, nibs, chocolate, pudding, marscapone, whip… so much happening here; it's a party! Include my dear Claire cat at my toes and I'm in heaven! Thank you, Alanna!!

  12. I didn't even know I desperately wanted this tart until now. And I seriously, very desperately want this tart – all the flavors and textures, yes. Your recipes are always gorgeous and inspiring!
    Side note you might appreciate – we adopted a kitten recently and his utter cuteness while napping on or beside us keeps me from doing things like cooking or exercising. He's doing it right now, in fact, so that I haven't gotten up to roast some veggies for dinner. Maybe he's a re-tox cat?

    1. Thanks! I think either would work, just not quite as well. Cornstarch will probably make the crust more crumbly and delicate. Potato starch tends to get soggy after a little while so I'm disinclined to work with it. I'd probably go with corn out of the two. Let me know how it turns out!

  13. This banana tart made every tastebud in my mouth dance. I'm not usually a banana dessert fan, but this one is crazy delicious – especially when paired with the crispy chocolate buckwheat crust. Thanks for sharing a slice with me!

  14. *gasppp*!!!!! That buckwheat crust is heavenly, I just know it!!! And strangely enough, that picture of the sliced banana on the cutting boards is amazing. Something about the simplicity and lighting is so perfect. *thumbs up*

    1. Thanks! I love that stand, too. I found it at Crate and Barrel last year. I looked for the link, but it seems they don't carry it at the moment. If you search for "galvanized metal cake pedestal" on Google, some other (nicer!) ones come up. Good luck and let me know what you find! :)

  15. I attempted to make this gorgeous dessert last night but my pudding turned out very thick and slimy texture. What did I do wrong or how can I fix it? Thanks!

  16. Hi! I have made this filling twice now and it is the BEST tasting pastry creamI have ever made- however each time, it gets grainy after it cools. Any idea what I’m doing wrong? Its not curdling or separating during the cooking process….
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    1. I’m so glad you like it, but so sorry it’s causing textural problems. I’m a bit stumped as I’ve made versions of this dozens of times and have never had it turn grainy, but here are two thoughts: 1) I wonder if the butter is not getting fully incorporated, then congealing as it chills? or 2) is it not getting fully whisked so that the thickener is clumping up? Those are my best guesses. I hope you make it a third time and that it comes out flawlessly!

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