Thursday, 7 May 2015

The Alternative Banoffee Pie

Time for something a little different. Here is my latest experiment. A variation of the classic banoffee pie - traditionally a biscuit base, coated with a thick layer of caramel (usually dulce de leche), topped with bananas and then whipped cream.
This recipe encompasses a pastry base with a salted caramel and very experimentally, a banana curd layer.

The result is a great balance from the sweetness of banana, the saltiness of the caramel and the crispness of the base.

Try it out and let me know if you would have it over the traditional pie :)

Makes four 10cm tartlets


For the base:
  • 125g plain flour
  • 65g softened butter, cut into 1cm cubes
For the caramel sauce:
  • 50g light soft brown sugar
  • 20g butter
  • 30ml double cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the banana curd:
  • 2 bananas
  • 60g butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 1/2 lemon, juice and grated rind
  • 2 eggs
To assemble:
  • Sliced bananas

1. Make the pastry base. Rub the cubed butter into the plain flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. "Rub" means pressing the butter and flour between your fingers and thumbs, essentially breaking down the butter.

2. Add one tablespoon of cold water and mix with your hands to form a ball. Cover in cling film and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

3. Preheat your oven to 200c/180c fan/ gas mark 6. Grease the bases of 4 loose-bottomed 10cm tartlet tins.

4. Once the dough has chilled, take out of the fridge and roll out to approximately 1/2 cm thickness. The easiest way to do this is to roll out the dough between two sheets of cling film. Use one of the removable bases as a guide when cutting the dough - make circles of dough roughly 3 cm larger than the base.

5. Line the tartlet tins with the dough. Prick the base with a fork.

6. Line the base with greaseproof paper, and fill with baking beans. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove the baking beans/paper and bake for a further 5-10 minutes, until the sides of the pastry look very slightly golden. Take out of the oven and leave to cool.

7. Whilst the tart bases are baking, make the caramel sauce.  Place the brown sugar in a pan, making sure an even layer of sugar coats the base. Heat on a medium heat until the sugar is a caramel colour (this will take from 3-5 minutes. It will take longer if you have an electric hob).
The sugar, when cooked to a caramel colour, pre-addition of butter and cream
8. Add the butter and double cream, and whisk vigorously. Be careful as the mixture will bubble up a lot! Heat for another minute then take off the heat, add the vanilla and salt, then leave to cool.

Caramel sauce after the butter and cream addtion
9. The banana curd is more time-consuming, but well worth the effort. Mash the bananas to a pulp (this can be done with a masher or in a food processor). Heat the sugar, lemon juice, lemon rind, eggs, butter and banana pulp in a medium pan. Put this on a very low heat! Heat for around 5 minutes, until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.

10. Due to the bananas pulpy texture, the curd may look like it has curdled but don't worry! Strain the curd through a sieve into another bowl or sterilized jar, and leave to cool for 20 minutes, before putting in to the fridge to set.

After cooking, the curd coats the back of a spoon and a trail is left when
a finger is run through it.

10. To assemble, spread a teaspoonful of caramel sauce on the base of the tartlet. Cover with the banana curd (about 3 tablespoons per tartlet), then cover with more caramel sauce. Top with the sliced bananas and serve.

Note: These tartlets will keep for 2 - 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Don't add the sliced bananas until just before serving.
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