For me, Banoffee Pie is a real treat, indulgent yet much lighter than many other rich desserts, so in the height of summer when 'Chocolate Fudge Cake’ seems far too stodgy, this delicious fruit, caramel and cream concoction is ideal.
METHOD - CRUMB BASE
1. Melt butter (either in a saucepan on the hob or using short bursts in the microwave), be careful not to burn it.
2. Crush the digestive biscuits - tip into a large mixing bowl and crush using the flattened end of a rolling pin, or, place in a food bag (secure the end to stop crumbs escaping) and roll over it several times with the rolling pin. Shake the bag and turn over once or twice to ensure all biscuits are crushed. The smaller the crumb, the more compact the base will be.
3. Tip the biscuit crumbs and chocolate chips into the melted butter and mix well. It’s worth spending an extra minute or two making sure all the crumbs and chocolate are coated in butter so the final base will hold together rather than crumbling upon cutting.
4. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin, level out and press firmly with the back of a spoon. Chill for at least 10 minutes. If needed, this can be made ahead of time and left in the fridge for 2-3 days maximum, then topped.
METHOD - CARAMEL
TIP: A heavy bottomed saucepan is best for making caramel as it can burn easily and become grainy when there are ‘hot spots’. Heat is distributed more evenly across a heavy base.
TIP: Continual stirring is also crucial to stop the mixture sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning, and although not essential, I find that silicone / heatproof spatulas enable better access to the inner edges of the saucepan base, where little bits of caramel can accumulate, than a spoon.
5. Melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan, add sugar, and stir continuously over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
6. Add the condensed milk, bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and stir constantly for a further 10-12 minutes until it thickens and remains away from the side of the pan when stirred.
7. Remove from the heat and pour over the chilled biscuit base. Leave to cool (approximately 1 hour).
TIME SAVER: The caramel can be made before the biscuit base and left to cool whilst the base is being prepared and chilled. Or, if made after the base, transferred from the saucepan to a shallow heatproof dish with a large surface area. It will solidify further, but should remain malleable enough to spread with a spoon / knife.
8. Once cool, spread 3 of the bananas on top of the caramel – these can be chopped, sliced or mashed according to texture preference.
9. Top with whipped cream and decorate using the last banana (sliced) and more chocolate chips (or good quality, grated chocolate). Chill before serving. Keep refrigerated.