Sunday, January 12, 2014

Birthday Banoffee and Downton Abbey

Tonight, PBS Masterpiece Theater aired the second episode in the fourth season of Downton Abbey.  It was also my birthday.  Ordinarily, I would expect to have some decadent chocolate cake with chocolate frosting but that wouldn't be very British, would it?  To celebrate my XXth year (Tsk. Tsk.  You thought I was going to tell you!) and the latest in the Downton saga, I prepared a banoffee pie.  A WHAT, you ask?  Banoffee Pie!  Yeah, I didn't know what it was either but it is British and I have to stick with my Downton Abbey tradition... birthday or no birthday.

Prior to tonight, I had never tried banoffee pie.  Heck, I didn't even know it existed.  BUT according to Saveur, it sounded like a decent birthday cake alternative.  I pretty much followed the Saveur recipe... with a change or two.

Banoffee Pie



     Crust -
     1 stick unsalted butter, melted
     10 oz McVities digestive biscuits, crushed

     Filling -
     1 stick unsalted butter
     1/2 cup dark brown sugar
     1 - 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
     4 bananas, sliced
     Heavy cream
     grated chocolate, cocoa powder, or cinnamon

For the crust -
Measure out 10 ounces of McVities digestive biscuits.

Pulse in a food processor until finely ground.

Transfer to a bowl.  Add 1 stick melted butter and combine until even dispersed.

Press mixture into a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom.  Be certain to press it up the sides.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  I chose to use a deep dish pie plate since my tart pan was much larger and I was making this pie for the first time.

For the filling -
Melt 1 stick of butter in a saucepan with brown sugar.

Add the condensed milk and bring to a boil for a couple of minutes, or until the mixture begins to darken.  Stir constantly.
Other recipes do not use the sugar and butter to make the toffee.  Merely submerge the can of sweetened condensed milk in water and boil for two hours.  Cool completely.  Although I did choose this style, it is certainly worth a try!

Pour onto crust.  Refrigerate for another hour, until the caramel is firm.

To serve -
Remove the tart from the pan to a serving plate.  Allow to warm up a bit so the toffee layer softens a bit.  Slice bananas and place in a single layer over the tart.

Whip the heavy cream and spoon over the tart.  Sprinkle with chocolate, cocoa powder or cinnamon.  I chose to do a dusting of cocoa powder and cinnamon.  Perfect!
The resulting pie is not as sweet as one would imagine.  The crust is not sweet, nor is the whipped cream.  A special treat!  (Oh, and I just figured out where it gets its name... BANana tOFFEE PIE!!  Yes, I am quick.)

Happy birthday to ME!!

So, what was your favorite moment in tonight's episode?  I cannot get enough of the gorgeous scenery.  This shot of Lady Mary riding a white horse was as delicious as the banoffee pie!

By the way, my 4-year old decided she needed to blow out the candle.  I feel like Lady Edith getting upstaged by her sister Mary.  I guess there is always next year!

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