Banoffee Crepe Cake

09 Feb 2016

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I am delighted to announce the five recipients of my upcoming book, The Farmette Cookbook, Recipes and Adventures from My Life on an Irish Farm: Debra Dorn, Jen Kohan, Martha Bernie, Emily Grace & Sally Savage. Thank you all for your lovely comfort food comments, I had so much fun reading them all! I may be doing another giveaway in March, so stay tuned.

I have also updated my events page with some upcoming book & workshop dates, so please do have a look, we hope to see you around. I will be adding Ireland and UK book event dates very soon, promise!

Now, allow me to introduce this decadent Banoffee crepe cake. Absolutely overly indulgent, somewhat time consuming to prepare, and yet, oh SO necessary on Pancake Tuesday, an Irish holiday for which I am eternally grateful. A celebration that never fails to warm my heart and tickle my tastebuds. This recipe makes the perfect pan(cake) to be enjoyed with family and friends gathered around our table. I hope you enjoy it too.

Banoffee Crepe Cake
Serves 10
Makes about 20 crepes (depending on thickness and diameter)
1 cup plain all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
6 eggs
3/4 litre/21 fl ozs milk
Butter for frying
350ml/12 ozs caramel, toffee, or milk jam
1 tablespoons rum (optional)
300ml/10 fl ozs. heavy dairy cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, sliced into coins
For the crepes:
Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a large bowl with a spout whisk the eggs and milk together until combined. Make a well in the center of the flour and salt mixture and gradually whisk the egg and milk mixture into the flour until thoroughly mixed.
Heat a frying pan on low to medium heat and add a little butter to the pan. Pour a ladle full of batter to cover the bottom of the pan. Don’t get anxious if there are holes or your crepes aren’t perfect-they stack on top of each other. When one crepe side is cooked, gently flip it over. Stack the crepes on top of each other. Cover and cool completely.
Whip the cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form and set aside.
Loosen the caramel with the rum or with a little of the cream if it is too stiff until it is a spreadable consistency.
Assembly:
Spread one crepe with the caramel and then place another on top and place banana slices on top, place another crepe on top and spread that with the whipped cream, and keep alternating until you are on your last crepe.
Scullery notes: you can make the crepes up to two days in advance, or you can buy pre-made crepes if you are short on time.

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Slan Abhaile,
Imen

Photos and styling by Imen McDonnell 2016. 

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Baby Banoffees

14 Jul 2011

Banana + Toffee = Banoffee

Banoffee is {but, clearly, should not be} one of my besties.

I can explain. You see, the supreme flavor combination of banana and toffee draws to mind a very distinct memory of having the most wonderfully romantic dinner with my father as a small girl. We were eating at one of those old fashioned ‘supper clubs’ whereby my dad would order an old-fashioned for himself and a kiddy cocktail for me in the lounge as we awaited our table in the –highly upholstered- dining room. We had a lovely meal and when it came time for dessert, a handsome man in a white coat and special shiny cart promptly arrived at our table.

Through my little girl wide-as-pie-eyes, what happened from there appeared to be like a fantastical scene out of Willy Wonka. As the man calmly and professionally sliced up fresh bananas, whipped, poured, stirred and magically created a flame of blue fire, he described each detail of his process with humour and prose. In the end, he eloquently presented each of us with a piping hot, creamy, caramel-y Bananas Foster on silver plates. The aroma and flavor were like heaven on earth. *Unforgettable*

Fast forward to 2005. I walk into an Irish café and see the Banoffee in the dessert case onnnnce again {it’s everywhere} and decide to dive in and give it try. The banana + dulce de leche flavor sends me right back to being daddy’s best girl all dressed up at a supper club on a midsummer’s night. Instantly, I am committed to Banoffee.

Banoffee can be found around Ireland at most cafes’ and on the dessert menu at many restaurants, but, in fact, as I researched for this post, I discovered that this pie originated in England.  As the story goes, the cake’s invention is claimed by Ian Dowding and Nigel Mackenzie at The Hungry Monk restaurant in Jevington, East Sussex. They developed the dessert in 1972, having been inspired by an American dish known as “Blum’s Coffee Toffee Pie”, which consisted of smooth toffee topped with coffee-flavoured whipped cream. Dowding adapted the recipe to instead use the type of soft caramel toffee created by boiling a can of condensed milk, and worked with Mackenzie to add a layer of bananas. They called the dish “Banoffi” and it was an immediate success, proving so popular with their customers that they couldn’t take it off the menu.

Yes, the recipe calls for boiling a can of condensed milk. Yes, it works. But go on, give it a try because I know you just want to see for yourself. It’s a fun and easy no-bake treat to make with children. You can prepare one big pie or a few baby sized like I did.

…and if you can get farm fresh cream, even better.

Banoffee Pie

For the toffee sauce:

1 (405g) tin of condensed milk

For the Base:

350g of digestives or tea biscuits of your choice (in the USA, graham crackers

would work)

150g of butter, melted

300ml whipping cream

3 bananas, sliced

Cocoa or choc shavings (optional)

To make the toffee sauce, remove the label of the condensed milk and immerse it in boiling water. Boil the tin for 2 – 3 hours. The longer you boil it, the darker and thicker the toffee will be. Make sure that the tin is FULLY immersed in water at all times, otherwise, the tin could explode.  (You can also buy pre-made caramel in tins or make the dulce de leche from scratch like this )

For the base, crush the digestives and mix it with melted butter (you can blitz in a food processor as well). Using a pestle or back of a spoon, press the digestives into a 9″-diameter tart base with a removable bottom (or 4-6 mini tart tins). Chill the crust in refrigerator for at least one hour. Meanwhile, whip the cream until it’s stiff.

Fold sliced bananas into whipped cream. Spread a layer of toffee and top with the banana cream. Sprinkle with cocoa or dark chocolate shavings.

Slan Abhaile,

Imen

Photos and styling by Imen McDonnell. Assisted by Master Geoffrey McDonnell

 

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