There are those desserts that simply satisfy a mild hankering for something sweet, other desserts that aim to placate the unadulterated palates of hungry diners after a savoury meal…then there are those desserts capable of delighting even the most discriminating of guests, capable of spell-binding those amongst us who crave as much beauty in our desserts as we do flavour; desserts whose mere presence will bring cachet to any dinner party.
My devout readers: you may have noticed that I’ve recently been on a short hiatus from my food blog. I recently organized a wedding show (‘Bliss Wedding Show’ in Toronto – see and “LIKE” our new page at www.facebook.com/blissweddingshowgta) where I was also a featured vendor showcasing the sweet creations such as dessert and candy tables and other beautiful desserts, of my company, “Frost Confections” (see www.frostconfections.com | www.facebook.com/frostcupcake). Well, you can imagine that between all the organizing and preparation for the show, my blog, regrettably fell by the wayside, but I am back, armed with dozens of delicious and unique recipes slated for release in the coming weeks! Forgive me my recent otiosity, but once you try this recipe, I’m certain I’ll be awarded a hero’s welcome back into the food blogosphere to catapult me back into your good graces.
To that end, I could not think of a better recipe to post returning from my short leave, than this visually stunning and sinfully delicious Banoffee Pie. “Banoffee” is an amalgamation of the words “banana” and “toffee”, two ingredients that come together to make a wildly delicious and decadent pie. The graham cracker base is buttery and wonderfully crumbly and the whipped topping is airy and light in contrast to the sweet stickiness of the filling. If you want to impress your guests with a memorable and gorgeous treat without slaving over a hot oven for hours upon hours to create a sweet masterpiece, this is the pie to make. I recently made this pie for an intimate dinner hosted by a dear friend of mine, Mariam. No sooner did I cross over the threshold of her front door to hand the pie over to her husband who greeted my husband and I at the door, did he utter with a spritely tone in his voice: “Is this banoffee? I love banoffee pie!” A sentiment that I share and one that I am certain you will be in agreement with upon tasting this delicious, and decadent pie!
I used dark Lindt chocolate to make my tuiles. If you have some experience with chocolate, I would advise using a good quality chocolate bar such as this. However, if you lack experience with tempering chocolate, you would be better suited at melting good quality chocolate chips. Chips are coated with a substance to prevent them from melting easily (which explains why when you bake cookies with chocolate chips the chocolate remains in its shape rather than melting out on the cookie). Although a desirable quality when making cookies, chocolate chips tend to have a thick texture even when melted. Good quality chocolate bars such as Lindt chocolate, melt to a complete liquid which is harder to handle and which needs to harden a few minutes before pouring into the pastry bag, so you if you have little experience with tempering and handling such chocolate, defer to using chocolate chips which produce equally beautiful tuiles. The chocolate can be piped into any shape, but be sure to overlap your strokes and lines to offer strength to the structure of each piece. The chocolate tuiles should be prepared first before making the rest of the pie to allow the chocolate to harden. The process can be expedited by sliding the parchment which contains the piped tuiles on to a lip-less baking sheet and refrigerating for a few minutes until they harden. If you prefer to forego the handmade tuiles, you can simply grate some chocolate shavings over the top of the pie for garnish.
Most banoffee pies call for you to place unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk into a pot of boiling water for 3 or so hours to turn the condensed milk into a dulce de leche of sorts or a luscious toffee. While the finished product is certainly worth the wait, there are times when I can’t bear to wait the 3 hours it takes for the toffee to prepare itself just to make a pie which, counterintuitively, takes mere minutes to put together! I developed this recipe for toffee so you can forego the hours long alternative of boiling your way to a smooth and silky toffee.
Allow the toffee to cool enough that it is not runny, but not so much that it is tough and too thick to smear on the delicate graham cracker crust. If the toffee is difficult to handle, simply dip a spoon into a cup of hot water and use the back of the spoon to smooth the toffee out on the crust. The toffee is poured in two parts to allow the banana slices to be encased in the toffee filling to prevent the bananas from browning and drying out.
I opted to use a tart pan with a removable bottom to easily release the pie from the pan after it is prepared. The crust, even after baking, is quite delicate and crumbly (it is the same crust used for cheesecakes), so handle it gently and prepare this pie in either a pan with a removable bottom or a traditional spring form pan (although with the latter choice, you won’t get the beautiful scalloped edges). Use your hands to begin pressing the crust evenly on the bottom of the tart pan and press the crumbs along the sides of the pan, packing them tightly. You can also use the flat bottom of a glass to smooth out the crumbs to ensure the crust is tightly packed. Be patient: this may take a few minutes to come together but the finished product is a beautifully packed crust which will retain the shape of the tart pan perfectly.
Should you choose to forego the use of the pastry bag and flower tip, you can simply smooth the whipped cream on the pie artfully, using a spatula to create waves and peaks for effect.
4 ounces chocolate
1 cup (250 grams) butter
1 cup (250 grams) brown sugar
2 cans (300 grams each) sweetened condensed milk
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup (125 ml) butter, melted
2 cups (250 ml) 35% M.F. whipping cream
2 tablespoons icing (powdered) sugar
4 medium-sized bananas
Prepare the chocolate tuiles: Melt the chocolate over a double boileror in the microwave at 10 seconds increments (mixing in between to prevent burning) for 30 seconds or until the chocolate is melted. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly to thicken up. Pour the melted chocolate into a small pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. Tape a large piece of parchment paper to your counter top. Pipe the chocolate in large overlapping swirls. Allow the tuiles to cool while you prepare the pie.
Prepare the toffee: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the brown sugar until the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. The mixture will start to foam up and bubble. Add the cans of condensed milk and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to simmer and continue stirring for 5 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken. Allow the mixture to cool slightly. It will thicken as it stands.
Prepare the crust: Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C). In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter. Press the mixture into a 10″ tart pan with a removable bottom. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until the crust is golden and fragrant. Do not allow the edges to darken too much. Set the tart shell aside and allow to cool completely.
Prepare the whipped topping: Place the whipping cream in a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip the cream for a few minutes before adding the icing sugar. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Place the whipped cream in a pastry bag fitted with a flower tip. Place the pastry bag in the refrigerator until you are ready to decorate the pie.
Assembling the pie: Pour half of the cooled toffee on to the bottom of the cooled pie shell. Slice the bananas and arrange them artfully around the pie starting from the edges of the crust and working your way in until the surface is covered with one layer of bananas. Repeat the process with a second layer of bananas. Top with the remaining toffee. Transfer the pie to the fridge and allow to cool for 30 minutes to allow the toffee to set up. Remove the pie from the fridge along with the chilled pastry bag filled with whipped cream. Pipe rosettes or swirls around the top of the pie. Remove the tuiles gently from the parchment (they should slide right off) and garnish the top of the pie. Keep the pie refrigerated until serving. Refrigerate leftovers promptly.