‘I am the woman who believes most anything can be solved with butter and sugar’.
So begins an article in the latest edition of Made with Butter magazine written by Joy Wilson, a baker – aka Joy the Baker – who has taken the US by storm with her irreverent attitude, quirky charm, scrumptious recipes and ability to create sheer magic using such simple ingredients as flour, butter and sugar.
Quite apart from a string of amazing accolades, her own catering company and a cookbook coming out next month, the proof that Joy knows what she’s talking about when it comes to baking is really in the pudding. Her puddings to be more precise. If you’re not already familiar with her blog, I suggest you head over there now. We’re talking brown butter banana bread, double-dipped doughnuts, chewy molasses chocolate chip cookies and more incredible cakes and bakes than most people could make or eat in a lifetime. Although I’d be willing to take up the challenge on that one . . .
Where were we? Ah yes, butter. A baker’s best friend. An integral part of the alchemy of baking and something without which we would struggle to achieve the perfect flaky pastry, the silkiest of sauces or the depth of flavour we expect from a really good bake. Butter can be creamed and caramelized, gently melted or brought almost to the edge of burning in a nutty brown butter, whipped into desserts and frostings or simply spread on bread. I’m not saying that you should eat butter every day (despite what the contents of this blog might suggest to the contrary), but there are often occasions when butter – or baked goods involving its use – are quite simply the best (if not the only) solution.
The pudding I’m posting today can be made in a pastry case, but I prefer the combination of crushed biscuits and butter which creates a lovely crunchy, buttery biscuit base – something I now find impossible to make without thinking of 2011’s surprise YouTube sensation, Masterchef Synaesthesia. For my international readers (or any of you Brits who have been living in a pop culture-free cave over the last six months) this is Swede Mason’s Masterchef mash-up, a very silly clip of baking backed with beats that has clocked up an incredible 4 million YouTube hits to date and was their sixth most popular video of 2011. If you don’t watch Masterchef you probably won’t get it, but if you do, click the link above and have a little look. It makes me giggle just thinking about it.
Anyway, I digress. The recipe I’m posting today is a twist on the classic banoffee pie. That’s not to say it’s a replacement – banoffee pie is far too fabulous a dish to ever be replaced – but if you’re looking to try something a little bit different, I think it’s a lovely variation. Asian flavours provide inspiration, with a fiery kick of ginger in the base and that classic combination of bananas and coconut on the top. I’d never made whipped coconut cream until I discovered a recipe making use of it on this beautiful blog, but now I can’t get enough of the stuff. I’ve added a little double cream to the mix as I found the coconut cream didn’t quite hold the consistency I wanted on its own, but it still tastes seriously good.
I’d originally planned to infuse my dulce de leche with a little chilli to really bring the thing to life, but after tasting some of the buttery biscuit crumbs I decide that it would be one step too far. The ginger is pretty fiery on its own but if you fancy giving it a go I’d love to hear how you get on.
The recipe below serves six but if you have fewer mouths to feed it might make sense to halve the quantities as banoffee pie is best eaten the day it’s been made. And if the idea of ginger and coconut is just one little step too far, simply swap in Digestive biscuits in place of the Ginger Nuts and up the quantity of double cream to 150ml and you’ve got a classic banoffee pie.
It’s not going to solve world peace, but this lovely combination of butter, biscuit, caramel and cream is a pretty good place to start.
Ginger & Coconut Individual Banoffee Pies
250g ginger biscuits (I used Ginger Nuts)
1 x quantity dulce de leche (I use David Lebovitz’s recipe here, using 1 x 397g can of sweetened condensed milk)
3 x medium bananas
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
100ml double cream
50ml coconut cream
Chocolate shavings and/or cinnamon to finish
Blitz the biscuits in a blender or crush in a small plastic bag with a rolling pin.
Line six metal dessert rings with baking parchment then place them on a tray (if you don’t have dessert rings you could make these in little ramekins, glasses or even one big dish).
Melt the butter until it starts to bubble and brown – this gives the base a lovely nutty flavour but be careful not to burn it. Mix the melted butter and biscuit crumbs together and divide equally between your rings, pressing down into the base and sides. Pop in the fridge to firm, about 20 minutes.
Once your bases are firm, divide the dulce de leche between the rings – a good couple of big dollops each. Slice the banana and toss in lemon juice. This works nicely with the kick of ginger in the biscuit base and also stops the bananas from discolouring. Lay the banana slices on top of the dulce de leche and return to the fridge while you whip your cream.
Place the cream and coconut milk in a large clean bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Then whip it a tiny bit more and you should be done – you don’t want the cream to run out of your pies, but be careful not to over-whip as the texture isn’t as nice. Remove your pie bases from the fridge and spoon or pipe the cream over the top.
When ready to eat, carefully lift off the dessert ring and remove your paper lining. Decorate with chocolate shavings or a sprinkle of cinnamon and serve.