Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Made a wee bit of banoffee, so I did!

If you're not from that lovely, brilliant, verdant place called Norn Iron (pronounced Northern Ireland by those of us not lucky enough to be from there), then you probably have no idea what the title of this post means.  

But this picture should give you (& your stomach) a healthy curiosity!  Banoffee is the sublime pairing of bananas and toffee, layered on a crunchy biscuit (graham cracker for us Americans) crust, topped with fluffy whipped cream and chocolate.  It's a very popular pudding (dessert for us Americans) that I was fortunate enough to have several times while living in Belfast.  And it's really very easy to make.   

Take one can of sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk) and peel the label off of it.  Resist the urge to open the can, grab a spoon and go to town...if you wait 'til later, it gets even better.  I promise.

Place the unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a large pan covered with water and boil gently for 2 hours.  I know it's a long time, but you could use that time to clean your closet.  Or watch back to back episodes of NCIS.  (I'll let you guess which I prefer.)  You do need to be sure that water is always covering the top of the can, though.

During a NCIS commercial break, ahem, I mean a break from cleaning your closet of course, you can make the simple graham cracker/biscuit crust.  Across the pond, they don't tend to bake theirs, but just let it chill well to firm up.  I like mine really crispy, so I bake it.  Preheat the oven to 350ºF/176ºC.  Take one sleeve of graham crackers (or one sleeve of biscuits I suppose)...

 ...break into pieces, put in a food processor...

 ...and pulse until finely ground.

Add 1 T of sugar. (Because clearly there's not enough sugar in this recipe.)

Melt about 5 T of butter in a microwave for 20 seconds or so and mix well into the crumbs.

I'm making mini banoffee pies, so I used a non-stick (mmm hmm...you'll see later) muffin tin and used about 2T of the crumb mixture for each pie base.  I also used an old rubber wine cork to press the bottom and sides into place.  That is, of course, the only reason I happen to have wine corks around.

I made nine mini pies in total, but if you wanted to make one large one, just press the crumbs into a large pie tin.  Bake for 10 minutes, then let cool.

Has it been two hours yet?  Got that closet looking resplendent?  Time to check out that terrific toffee.  Take your pan of water and pour out the hot water and then let cold water flow over the toffee can to cool it down.  Open carefully, and you'll see that golden, sweet caramelized toffee.  (If you need to grab a spoon at this point, I won't judge.)

Take one large banana and put three slices of banana in each little pie crust.  (If making a large pie, just put one even layer of banana on the crust.)  I like to put the bananas down first because the toffee covers them completely and they don't turn brown.

Spoon that amazing toffee into each little pie.

I had a small amount of toffee left over...which of course I saved in the fridge to become phenomenal ice cream topping or fruit dip when I need it (and I imagine, at some point, I will!).  Put the little pies, still in the muffin tin, in the fridge and cool for 45 minutes to an hour.  The longer you chill it, the more they will stay together.

 Once they're chilled, whip some cream and add a bit of sugar (because again...not enough sugar going on.)

Use a butter knife to loosen the pies from the tin and ease them out.  No pretension here, folks.  This did not go so well for me.  But, as they say in Belfast, no worries, love.  (I just wondered why I didn't use paper muffin liners.  That would be a great idea.)  I added a generous dollop of whipped cream on top and topped that with shavings from a bonafide Cadbury bar from my mates Neil and Ruth who keep me well supplied with proper tea and chocolate.  I only add the whipped cream and chocolate right before I'm going to eat it, so any leftover pies (and no, I did not eat all 9 myself) can be put in the fridge without the cream and chocolate on them.

Gooey, decadent, sweet, crunchy, creamy.

Well moreish, so it was.


  1. Whitney, love the photo rich recipes - even I (Greg) can follow them! Alison was making a large Banoffee Pie and a Carrot Cake for deserts to celebrate installation of Rev. Adrian Green tomorrow night at Mount Merrion - he was (technically may still be) our curate at Willowfield. Only difference in approach, McVities Digestives as biscuit base, and she batters them with a rolling pin rather than go for the high tech approach!
    Otherwise, equally delicious!
    Whitney, keep up these blog posts, I'm tempted to have a go at the Swedish Spuds - Cheers from Belfast, Alison and Greg

  2. Hi Greg and Alison! Great to hear from you. I bet Alison's banoffee was gorgeous. And there's no better way to celebrate an installation than lots of puddings! No McVities here (though I've found Hobnobs before so perhaps if I hunt, I'll find them). Just had myself a wee cuppa and a leftover banoffee and it was like being in Belfast. Except that it's not raining (not even close) outside! I'm deeply shocked that you're eager to make potatoes. How counter-cultural of you ha. ;) They are really good. And I have a Swedish friend who confirmed that he grew up eating those posh potatoes! All the best, Whitney

  3. Hi friend - just a note to let you know I sometimes find McVities at the grocers here, and they often have them at World Market . . . so keep looking they are on this side of the pond!

  4. I love you and hate you all at the same time. This seriously looks delicious. Yum!!!