Oh, I know. I disappear for months without a trace or even a hint of a a recipe, not one little blog post, and now I return here to you with..........banoffee pie? But just bear with me! It's going to be good.
Those of you reading this from North America may have never experienced the charms of banoffee pie; you may never even have heard of it. Let me briefly enlighten you. Banoffee (one of those delightful food-name portmanteaus, constructed from 'banana' and 'toffee') pie is a quintessentially English dessert, like trifle or sticky toffee pudding. It is a sticky, sweet, rich slice of creamy heaven. And it's even better when you top it with caramelized nuts.
It's also traditionally made by boiling an unopened can (yikes!) of condensed milk until the contents transform into a sticky brown caramel sauce known elsewhere in the world as dulce de leche. Right away, I knew that I would be deviating from tradition for three excellent reasons:
- One, that boiling a sealed can of anything for hours and hours until it either reduces and become delicious or, alternatively, explodes violently in your face in an eruption of molten liquid and shrapnel, killing you very much dead.......scares the living daylights out of me.
- Two, that I've actually heard that the dulce de leche base is a touch too thin for proper pie filling, resulting in fruit slices that sink to the bottom. And while that still sounds delicious, it's somewhat lacking in presentation appeal.
- And three, I had just discovered a recipe at one of my favorite cooking blogs, The Smitten Kitchen (I owe her so much!), for caramel pudding. Which is most likely what put the idea of banoffee pie into my head in the first place. Soft, yielding, puddingy, but stiff enough to stand up to a mound of banana slices and whipped cream--it sounded like the ideal middle layer for the pie of my dreams.
The crust is a simple crushed graham cracker crust, my favorite choice for creamy desserts like pudding-filled pie or cheesecake (versus say, a fruit pie, for which a pastry base is the only logical choice). Crumbly and delicious. The pudding, I have to say, is delicious. I added a touch more salt than Deb's original recipe calls for because I am a sucker for that 'salted caramel' flavor. I also have to say, because I feel somehow obliged to disclose it.......that this pudding is too thick and gelatinous for me, as pudding. I say this having made it twice now, it takes most of its texture from the six (six!) tablespoons of cornstarch that get stirred into the mixture. The end result is quite stiff, almost bouncy, and I just can't imagine sinking a spoon into it and eating a cup of it on its own as pudding. As banoffee pie filling, however, its very stiffness is its best feature, making for a gorgeous and easily sliced pie that holds its shape perfectly.
My husband, who has never understood the proud & historic cuisine of the British people, unreasonably insisted that we try putting sliced strawberries on the pie instead of the traditional bananas. I gasped and clutched my pearls. I told him that such a thing would be a crime against decency and Mother England, if not an abomination before humanity itself! But because I love my husband senselessly, even more than I love banoffee pie, I agreed to the compromise you see above.
And okay. Actually, it was delicious. Listen to your heathen husbands once in awhile. Only......what should we call it? Strawbanoffee pie? Banoffeeberry pie?
Top with fresh whipped cream, and a handful of nuts if desired. I recommend that you toss them lightly in a pan with some butter and sugar to glaze them, then let them cool before sprinkling them on top.
Graham Cracker Crust:
Orange & Salt's Banoffee Pie
Graham Cracker Crust:
1.5 cups crushed graham crackers (I ended up using about half a box)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
6 T. melted butter
Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients together in bowl, add butter and stir or blend with your hands until the mixture resembles wet sand. Press well into bottom and sides of tart pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Here's a link to the excellent caramel pudding recipe over at Smitten Kitchen. Enjoy! (Don't forget to let your pudding base cool in the fridge after you've cooked it and spread it in the tart crust base, so as not to melt the whipped cream all over the place)
One perfectly ripe banana (and some ripe strawberries, if you're making Strawbanoffeeberry Pie, you weirdo you)
Half pint of whipping cream
Half pint of whipping cream
Sugar (enough to lightly sweeten the cream, plus a little extra for the nuts....maybe a few tablespoons in all?)
Chopped walnuts (pecans would also be awesome here)
Small amount of butter
Slice fruit thinly, and place in an even layer over pie base (crust & pudding mixture, cooled). Whip cream and sugar (to taste) with electric mixer or whisk until it holds soft peaks. Spread over pie base, chill in refrigerator until ready to eat.
Heat a small amount of butter (very small, like half a tablespoon) in a skillet over medium high heat. Add chopped nuts and sugar, toss to coat. Cook until nuts are glazed with browned sugar, immediately remove from heat. Let cool, then sprinkle on pie.
Do it for England. :)