Yes, We Have No Bananas

We’re talking pie today, specifically of the banoffee variety. Often regarded as a ‘retro’ dessert, the banoffee pie is something of a British classic. With a crumbly biscuit base, silky dulce de leche, sliced bananas and softly whipped cream, this dessert is one for those with a serious sweet tooth. After trying various combinations of ‘toffee’ and fruit, Nigel Mackenzie, the man we need to thank for this glorious dessert, decided on bananas. When you catch them at the perfect stage of ripeness, they offer a subtle sweetness which doesn’t overpower the other vanilla and caramel flavours present throughout the other layers. Anyone looking for a stunning yet simple showstopping dessert, look no further.

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The first step to creating the masterpiece is the biscuit base. Some people prefer a pastry base, which is totally fine too but with this base (and the addition of the pecans), the crunch beautifully complements the velvety soft filling. I used a loose bottom pan just to make things easier to get each slice out, but if you have a pie dish that has been stashed away for years then this is the time to let it shine.

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Next: dulce de leche. Widely available ready-made (near the canned condensed milk in supermarkets) dulce de leche is the star of the show for this dessert. If you wanted to go one step further and make some yourself then there is a cracking recipe from the food network website which gives you exactly the right amount for this recipe (don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?).

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As long as you have caught the bananas at the right time, you can’t go wrong. Slightly turning brown but still relatively firm is just right. This way the majority of the sugars have been released and the texture is not as fibrous as earlier in the ripening process. Thinly sliced and generously layered is how you want your pie to be. It’s is the name, so you’ve got to go big or go home.

And lastly, the whipped cream to finish. It may seem excessive but the cream tends to cut through the sweetness of the dulce de leche and provide the satin smooth texture which is nothing less than heavenly. A crumble of digestives or some shavings of dark chocolate are also great additions but truth be told, to simply serve it up and dig in is the best way to enjoy.

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THE RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 200g Digestive biscuits/graham crackers
  • 50g Pecan nuts
  • 100g Melted butter
  • 1 Cup of Dulce de Leche
  • 4 Small bananas
  • 300 Double cream
  • 1 tbsp Caster sugar

Method

  1. Crumble the biscuits into a blender, add in the pecans and blitz until you have fine crumbs.
  2. Add the melted butter and pulse again to combine.
  3. Press the mixture in firmly into your chosen tin/pie case and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
  4. Spread the caramel over the base of the tart.(If you are preparing this dessert ahead of time, stop at this step and pick up from step 5 just before serving)
  5. Thinly slice the bananas and arrange a layer on top of the caramel.
  6. Whip the cream until is has just reached soft peaks and dollop on top to give a pillowy effect.

Notes: Adapted from Cupcake Jemma’s Banoffee Pie recipe

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