05/04/2006

Banoffi Pie

(to serve 4-6)

Base:
175g/6 ounces digestive biscuits (US: graham crackers)
85g/3 ounces melted butter margarine

Centre: (use one of these options)
Easy method:
420g/14oz can sweetened condensed milk, previously boiled (see below)

Second method:
420g/14 ounce (large) can sweetened condensed milk
175g/6 ounces butter
175g/6 ounces sugar

Topping:
2-3 bananas
lemon juice
200ml/5 fluid ounces whipped cream to decorate (optional)

Method:
Crush the digestive biscuits and mix with melted butter; press onto the base and sides of a 20cm (8-inch pie) plate or flan tin.

For easy method, simply open the can of boiled condensed milk (so long as it is cool!) and scrape out the contents into the base.

For second method, pour unboiled condensed milk into a non-stick saucepan with the butter and sugar. Stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves, then boil for about five minutes, stirring constantly, to make a light golden caramel. Wait until the colour changes, but do not over-boil! Pour into the crumb crust and leave to cool. (If you didn't boil for long enough, the mixture will stay rather runny, and will be messy to eat but still delicious!)

For the topping: slice the bananas and sprinkle the slices with lemon juice, so they won't go brown in the air. Arrange over the toffee centre. Decorate with whipped cream if liked. Refrigerate before serving.

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Banoffi pie is one of the easiest desserts to make, relying on store-cupboard ingredients and bananas. The easy method for the centre relies on previously-boiled cans of condensed milk, which will keep in your cupboard for several months.

To boil a can of condensed milk, place on its side in a large saucepan, with water to cover. Bring to the boil, then put on a lid and simmer gently for about three hours, adding extra water as necessary to ensure that the pan does not boil dry (this is important!!).

When finished, cool to room temperature before opening, as the contents will be extremely hot. The condensed milk will have turned to soft toffee. I usually do about three cans at a time, and then label them, since they will keep for several months in a cupboard.

The second method is not quite so straightforward, but is a great deal quicker if you don't have a previously boiled can of condensed milk, and don't have time to boil and cool one.

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