So here is the truth..I had never eaten dulce de leche or a banoffee pie ever before this. Only heard people swearing by this sticky sugary caramel which is a gift to the world by the Argentinians. Food connoisseurs rate this at par with Belgian Chololates, Austrian Pastries and Italian Tiramisu. Legend says that it was found by mistake by a woman who forgot about the milk and sugar on gas and when she returned, it had turned into a sweet caramalised mixture, now called dulce de leche…what a sweet mistake!
 
What you need is only a can of condensed milk and some patience. I was thrilled to see the result and it was some sort of magic as to how a can of condensed milk transforms into this delicious dessert on its own, as a topping for a toast, dipping sauce for fruits, to make shortbreads, cookies, or to make toffee sauce for desserts..absolutely amazing!


After finishing most of the dulce de leche, licking straight from the jar with a spoon, it was time to make the second amazing dessert which I heard a lot about..a banoffee pie. I am wondering, inspite of having a massive sweet tooth, how come I never came around eating this. The word ‘banoffee’ actually came about from a combination of banana and toffee..I didn’t know that either.
 
This is also a no bake version which means there is no rolling pastry and preparing ahead of time. It can be assembled in literally no time, if you have dulce de leche made ahead or store bought. By the way, dulce de leche could be made months in advance as long as you don’t open the cans and store them as it is. After some months sugar crystals begin to form in the toffee and you get crunchy banoffi – mmmmm.
 
The crunch in the pie comes from the biscuit base. This adds a welcome texture to the rich sweet caramel and the fluffy creamy softness of the whipped cream.
 
For the topping, I dusted the pie with cocoa powder but I couldn’t resist but add lots of shavings of dark chocolate which not only made it look pretty but indulgent too. Initially, I thought of sprinkling nutmeg and cinnamon with some chocolate but in the end just went with only chocolate and lots of chocolate. Saved the option of nutmeg and cinnamon for some other time. May be with a base of chocolate bourbon biscuits instead of digestive biscuits which one of my friend suggested. Another lovely variation!
 
So, next time you want to make a indulgent dessert, impress your better half or entertain guests at home, try banoffee pie. You would not be disappointed. And, do share your version if you have any. Would love to hear.
 

Shopping List
Makes one 23 cm pieFor the Crust
250 gm digestive biscuits
125 gm unsalted butter melted
 
For the Toffee Filling
125 gm unsalted butter, diced
75 gm dark muscovado sugar
400 gm jar sweetened condensed milk can
1 tsp vanilla extract
 
For the Topping
2 large bananas, peeled and finely diced
a squeeze of lemon juice
1 gelatine leaf cut into broad strips or 1/2 tsp powdered gelatine
2 tbsp strong black coffee, hot
275 ml double cream
 
Dark Chocolate shavings and Cocoa Powder for dusting
 
1. For making dulce de leche, just boil the can without opening in a pot filled with water for 3-4 hours. This is the simplest method and does not need any direct supervision. This can be made before hand and stays at room temperature in an airtight jar for a couple of days. Tip: 1. Make sure the cans are submerged in water at all times. This is to avoid any risks of explosion. 2. If you are short on time, see the link above for other methods, which are faster but needs some supervision. 3. To make slightly runny dulce de leche, boil the can for approx 3.5 hours. To make it more thick, boil it for around 5-6 hours. Longer the time, thicker it will be.
 
2. Whizz the digestive biscuits in a food processor or just break them in a plastic bag with a rolling pin. Add melted butter and press the mixture onto the base and sides of a 23 cm/ 3 cm deep tart tin. Keep in the refrigerator until required.
 
3. To make the filling, melt the butter with the sugar in a small non stick pan. Add the dulce de leche and vanilla extract and bring it boil, stirring constantly. Whisk, if required, to get a smooth consistency.
 
4. Pour this mixture over the biscuit base. Cover with a clingfilm and set aside for 10-15 min until the toffee mixture cools down a bit. Then put back in the fridge to chill.
 
5. Toss the banana slices with the lemon juice to coat them and then arrange them in a single line or the way you like it on top of the toffee mixture.
 
6. For the whipped cream, place the gelatine in a medium bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak for 5 minutes, then drain. Pour over the hot coffee and stir to dissolve. Stir the cream into the gelatine mixture, a tablespoon at a time to begin with. Whip the cream with an electric whisk until soft peaks form. Spread on top of the bananas, taking it up to the sides but not covering them. Dust the pie with cocoa powder and then with chocolate shavings. I like a chocolate explosion! Chill for couple of hours. This stores in the fridge upto 48 hours. Great dessert for a party ya?

Happy Days!!

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