Sunday, August 8, 2010

Banana + Toffee = Banoffee

Banoffee Pie, which combines bananas with a sticky toffee filling and a cream topping, is an English dessert, and not a very subtle one. I’ve eaten it a few times, and liked it, but had never made it, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. Turns out, it’s very simple to make. Yes, the dulce de leche takes 2 hours to caramelize, but it’s just 

baking time, not active-kitchen-labor time, so that doesn’t really count. The crust can either be made from cookie crumbs or pastry. I opted for crumbs, because I like the textural contrast between the crumbly crust and the creamy filling. The toffee filling is really a 

dulce de leche, and can either be made by heating the can in water on the stove or by baking it, covered, in a waterbath in the oven. Once that’s done, it’s just a matter of slicing up a couple of bananas and topping the whole thing off with whipped cream.  The finished pie was 

sweet and rich, but in a good way. It’s a messy sort of pie, with cookie crumbs and drippy toffee and cream spilling out all over the place. Next time I would add some coffee flavor to it, probably in the cream, to tone down the overall sweetness and give it an earthy note. 

P.S. I’d like to thank my friend Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice for her lovely post about this blog. For those of you who haven’t visited her own exceptional blog, go there now!!

Banoffee Pie

Makes 8 servings

Toffee Filling:
2 cups sweetened condensed milk

Chocolate Cookie Crust:
2 ¼ cups chocolate wafer crumbs (plus a few extra crumbs for garnish)
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 large ripe bananas
Juice of ½ lemon
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the Toffee Filling:
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Pour the condensed milk into a 9-by-12-inch glass baking dish (a glass pie plate will also work). Cover the baking dish with foil, sealing the edges, and place the dish into a larger roasting pan. Pour hot water into the roasting pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake for 2 hours, until the condensed milk is a deep golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven, but leave the oven on. Cool the toffee completely.

Make the crust:
2. Combine the cookie crumbs with the butter and press it onto the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan (alternatively, you can use a pie plate). Bake for 8 minutes. Cool completely.
3. Once the toffee is cool, scrape it into the cooled crust, spreading it evenly. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Make the topping:
4. Slice the bananas ¼-inch thick, sprinkling them with lemon juice as needed to prevent them from turning brown. Arrange them on top of the toffee layer, covering it completely, and reserving a few banana slices for garnish.
5. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla at high speed until firm peaks form. Scrape the cream over the bananas, spreading it decoratively with a spatula. Sprinkle some chocolate cookie crumbs on top and garnish with a few banana slices. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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