Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bianca's Easy Banoffee Pie


We had cooking classes in school at which we learnt to make such useless things as fried rice, khandvi, and coconut laddoos and fudge with Milkmaid. I overcooked the fried rice every time (something that plagues me even today!), fudged the khandvi (not wholly my fault – we were four girls to a group), but could not ruin the coconut laddoos and fudge. Which has left me inordinately fond of Milkmaid. What’s not to like about sweetened condensed milk anyway? Except for the fact that I can’t afford to spread it on two slices of bread and eat it any more, and that Zach, in whom I try to cultivate such superior habits, finds it too sweet!
Anyway, this is a recipe for Banoffee Tart, which is always my favourite dessert – especially at Cafe Churchill or Mocambo in Bombay. It is from my darling Bianca – too far away Down Under – who made it for us for Easter when she was visiting two years ago. Bianca is Cordon Bleu trained and all that, but her recipes remain easy and fun to turn out. We took no prisoners photographs then – as usual, too busy eating  –  but I guarantee this is a dinner-party winner.
Incidentally, the boiling-the-Milkmaid-out-of-its-wits trick is really useful – you get this lovely caramelly toffee sauce that can be poured over ice-cream and used in other desserts.

Banoffee Tart

300 g can sweetened condensed milk
250 g flour, sifted
110 g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
110 g icing sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp cold milk or water
3 small bananas
½ lemon, juiced
300 ml thick cream
2 tbsp grated chocolate

Place the unopened can of condensed milk in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for at least three hours, topping up water when necessary. Remove from heat and allow the can to cool in the water. Refrigerate until needed.
To make the pastry base, place the flour, butter and icing sugar in a bowl. Very gently, using the tips of your fingers, rub the butter into the icing sugar and flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and cold water or milk and process until the mixture forms a smooth ball. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line eight 2 x 10cm round tart pans (or one large tart pan). Chill for a further 15 minutes. Line the pastry with non-stick baking paper and fill with uncooked rice or pastry weights. Bake blind in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and return to the oven for 15 minutes until crisp and golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
To assemble, open the can of condensed milk (which is now toffee!) and pour a little into each pastry shell, smoothing the top. Thinly slice the bananas, toss in the lemon juice, then place the slices in an overlapping layer over the toffee. Whip the cream and pile on top. Decorate with the grated chocolate.


PHOTOGRAPH: CATHY YEULET/ 123RF

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