Banoffee Pie

Banoffee Pie is the most stickily delicious way to round off a tasty meal. The combination of crunchy buttery biscuit base, golden caramel, and fluffy whipped cream, topped off with chocolate is so simple, and so so moreish. Oh yes, there’s some bananas in there too!

DSC_1241

It’s not a typical dessert for all those January healthy eating resolutions, but definitely perfect for those times when you’re feeling a bit lazy, a little sorry for yourself, and not willing to spend any longer than fifteen minutes flat assembling and eating your treat.

DSC_1233

For such a simple recipe, there’s a surprising amount of variation in what you do in a perfect banoffee pie. Apparently the original recipe also contained coffee! I go for the most streamlined version I know possible, and it definitely works for me.

DSC_1235

It’s not the easiest dessert to photograph, and certainly the wintry light doesn’t help, but the taste definitely makes up for it. I can’t imagine January being the favourite month of many out there, but this goes a long way to helping banish those blues! Second helpings all round.

DSC_1237

Not long till February…and then so so close til Spring!

DSC_1238

Banoffee Pie

  • 250g digestive biscuits, crushed into crumbs
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 1 tin carnation caramel
  • 2-3 bananas, sliced
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 Cadbury’s chocolate flake

Mix the digestive biscuit crumbs with the melted butter, and press into the base of a 23cm tart tin. Leave in the fridge for around 15 minutes until firmed. Then spread the caramel over the biscuit base, and lay over the sliced bananas. Whip the cream to soft peaks, then spread over the bananas, and sprinkle over with a crumbled flake. Return to the fridge to set for 30 minutes, then tuck in!

 

Advertisements

Caramel Banana Cake

Mornings are distinctly autumnal now, cold and crisp, with a haze of mist hovering over the seafront. I’m excited about blackberry picking, windfall apples, and cosy nights in.

I spent the weekend luxuriating in precious free time, and baked banana bread.

I’ve noticed my focus in baking has really shifted this year, and I haven’t had much time for complex French patisserie-style recipes, focusing instead on quicker, more familiar cakes and treats. I suppose I’m starting to think that those recipes aren’t worth all the effort and faff. The reward at the end is not necessarily equal to the work. Let’s face it, there are so many stunning patisseries out there, perhaps it’s time to let others do the hard work!

That’s not to say I won’t always have room for a home-baked cake, it’s just more likely to come as two layers rather than six, and one cream filling rather than three!

Anyways, this banana bread has already been baked in several incarnations. I baked one last weekend which was so popular at work I spend all week willing my bananas to ripen more quickly so I could bake another one. My first run was with all dark brown sugar which turned out quite treacly, almost like gingerbread. The second time I changed it to light brown sugar – both are really tasty.

P1060977

This version is mostly based on Mary Berry’s banana bread recipe, but I had some leftover caramel buttercream in the freezer so threw that in too, which added a whole extra level of caramel flavour and was scrumptious. Granted, not everybody has a handy spoonful of caramel buttercream lying about so you could probably substitute a spoonful of ordinary caramel without any problems.

Caramel Banana Cake

  • 100g butter/margarine
  • 175g dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp salted caramel buttercream
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Grease and line a loaf tin. Beat the butter, sugar, and salted caramel buttercream together until soft and fluffy, then whisk in the eggs followed by the mashed bananas. Sift together the flour and bicarbonate of soda, fold into the batter, then fold in the milk. Bake for around 45 minutes until risen and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool, and wrap up overnight. Tastes best the next day (if you can wait that long!).

Banana, Salted Caramel and Milk Chocolate Cake

I fancy that the majority of my bakes result from this “Waste Not Want Not” attitude I have towards leftover ingredients from other recipes. Whether it’s these almond slices, or these gorgeous brownies, I love that little bubble of satisfaction I get from using up leftovers, getting my creative side into gear, and getting something delicious out of it too!

So this cake was an invention which was purely a means to use up some leftover Stork, and a third of a jar of salted caramel leftover from these decadent brownies. I took them into work, and it was one of the most popular things I have ever baked!

P1060164

Banana and Caramel are a beautiful pairing, and with a sprinkling of milk chocolate thrown in the mix too, it’s a perfect sliced into lunchbox-ready squares, wrapped in foil. As with all bananary-bakes, it just gets better with time too.

Banana, Salted Caramel, and Milk Chocolate Traybake

  • 180g soft margarine/softened butter
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs (I was trying to use up a leftover egg white, so I used 2 eggs, 1 egg white, and a splash of milk)
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 190g self-raising flour (I used cake flour)
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/3 jar salted caramel
  • milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. I then stuck my unpeeled banana into the oven at this point – apparently it is a good way to enhance the banana-ry flavour when they aren’t super ripe yet.

Beat the margarine/butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Then whisk in the eggs, one by one, with a spoonful of flour if it looks like it is starting to curdle. Then sift in the remaining flour and bicarbonate of soda, and mix together to form a cohesive batter. Fold in the mashed banana.

Tip the batter into a prepared cake tin, smooth flat, then dollop small spoonfuls of caramel over the surface, and swirl into the mixture with a knife. Sprinkle milk chocolate chips over the surface and then put into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Banana Bread

This time last year I was in Australia.

DSC06045

Whether it was the experience of travelling, or the break from daily stresses, I came back feeling refreshed, and enlived with a new zest for living.

Yesterday, sat with fellow disillusioned companions, we discussed the pros and cons of emigrating Down Under in search of a better life. It’s not a straightforward process, and I don’t think I would find the move easy. Yet at times, the idea of escape is unbelieveably tempting.

There are beauties in the UK that I would certainly miss. Spring is a joyful season in England. It’s vivid, and amazingly cathartic. Everywhere, bluebells, clustered thickly under the dappled light-shade of English woodland. Bright green life springing up.

While I’m here, how about an edible reminder of my Australian adventures? I realise Banana Bread is not Australian per say, but they seem to be big fans of loaf cakes Down Under. In cafes everywhere, slabs of thickly iced banana and carrot loaves behind the counter.

So here’s mine.

DSC07532

I’m generally not a fan of icing, so this cake remains resolutely uniced. Damp and thickly cut, deeply flavoured and wholesomely delicious.

DSC07542

Banana Bread

Adapted from Sophie Dahl’s recipe 

  • 75g salted butter, softened
  • 160g light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 bananas, mashed into a pulp
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 170g wholemeal plain flour

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Grease and line a loaf tin.

Beat the butter and sugar together til soft, then beat in the egg, vanilla extract, followed by the mashed banana.

Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder together. Add to the rest of the ingredients, and fold in with a spatula. Spoon into the loaf tin, and smooth the surface. Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden and springy. You might need to cover the top with foil 30 minutes into baking to prevent the top from burning. As with all banana breads, this is either best eaten straight out of the oven, or wrapped up for 1-2 days to let the flavour develop. Yummy 🙂

DSC07544

Banoffee Cupcakes

I find my job pretty hardcore, but I don’t think I could ever work with food professionally. The thought of the stress, and even earlier morning wake up calls is beyond hideous to imagine. However, whipping up a quick batch of cakes in my home kitchen, the radio on, and work behind me, now that’s a wonderful way to relax.

DSC07339

We are real banana fanatics in this house. They go so fast, you have to eat them green, or simply go without. I surreptitiously hid a banana behind some baking stuff to let it finally ripen into brown-speckled sweetness, purely so I could make these banoffee cupcakes.

DSC07350

Make sure the cakes are completely cold before filling them with gooey caramel. Otherwise the warm cakes melt the caramel, so it runs into the crumb of the banana sponge rather than staying put as a gooey blob in the centre. Not that I did this of course…

DSC07353

 

Banoffee Cupcakes

Makes 10-12 cupcakes

  • 110g soft butter/margarine
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1 small ripe banana, mashed
  • 110g self-raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 jar thick caramel sauce
  • 300ml whipping cream, whipped into firm peaks
  • 4 squares dark or milk chocolate, shaved into shards

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line a muffin tin with cupcake cases.

In a bowl, combine flour, bicarbonate of soda, and salt together. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then slowly whisk in the eggs. Beat in the mashed banana. Fold in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt until just combined. Fill the cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the cakes are golden and springy. Put on a cooling rack, and cool completely.

Using a sharp knife, carve out a circular hollow in the centre of each cupcake. Put a spoonful of caramel into the hollow. Pipe a whirl of cream onto the top of each cake, and toss some chocolate shards over to finish off.

DSC07349

Look at that caramel oozing its way out. Yum.

Bananarama Pancakes

As a change from my usual breakfast toast, I decided to make the Blogilates banana pancakes.

Attempt 1? Catastrophe. I think it was from using just egg whites and whisking in too much air, but my pancakes resolutely refused to flip and things got messy. They still tasted yummy though. But I wanted to have another go to get them just right.

On my second try I used one whole egg and one egg white, and beat the mixture together with a fork the bare minimum it took for them to combine.

Result? Perfection. They’re soft and fluffy, and taste great with only two ingredients!img-20120922-00246

Banana Pancakes

Adapted from Blogilates

Serves 1 (makes a small stack of 5)

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 whole egg and 1 egg white (or 2 whole eggs if you’re following the Blogilates recipe)
  • Spray oil

Mash the banana with a fork. Gently mix in the egg until combined. Put the batter into a jug. Heat up 2 non-stick frying pans on a medium heat, and spray with oil so the pancakes won’t stick. Pour a little batter into each pan to form your pancakes. Flip over gently once the top is no longer gooey.

Eat, whilst contemplating how your neighbour’s washing line  can consist entirely of neon pink boxers. Perhaps he looks like this Korean dude here.

Banoffee Pie made complicated

Phew it’s been absolutely boiling this weekend! I’ve had a great time with loads of stuff going on. Firstly we went out for afternoon tea for a friend’s birthday – which was absolutely gorgeous. I LOVED the scones, give me them over cake any day!

I also had a birthday request for a Banoffee Pie!

It was very straightforward, though I made things more complicated by a determination to use up the extra ingredients cluttering up the kitchen. The base was made from an oat biscuit mix, that I baked before blitzing into crumbs. The caramel part was a bit of a kitchen improvisation. I made a caramel by heating caster sugar and muscovado sugar together with some water, and when this started bubbling, added the best part of a packet of butter. Then I realised that by mixing some dried skimmed milk with a little of the caramel, I was making something that seemed remarkably just like condensed milk! So I made a paste from milk powder and caramel, then added this to the bubbling caramel mixture, along with a hefty squeeze of glucose syrup, and heated it gently. It was a bit lumpy with bits of undissolved milk powder and burnt sugar that had caught, so it needed a bit of sieving, but that worked a treat, and I poured it into the biscuit case.

2 bananas were duly sliced and arranged on top, it was left to set in the fridge again, and all that was left was to whip up some cream (I had some frozen away) and sprinkle chocolate on top to finish – hey presto!

The verdict on the pie was excellent. I also noticed that there are a lot of websites telling you how to make condensed milk yourself if you want to give it a go. It looks extremely straightforward and the method very similar to the one I used here.

I picked up some new books whilst shopping today. I really enjoyed reading the Hunger Games, so picked up Delirium, which is also set in a dystopian US society. To my delight, it is part of a trilogy so I’ll be picking the other books up soon! Phew, can’t wait for the next weekend!