Banoffee What?

Anyone know the movie “Love Actually”?  For the few of you that may not know it, it’s a 2003 romantic comedy with a bevy of English actors.  It intertwines eight, varying stories of love during Christmas..

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Some of my girlfriends and I can probably act out the movie for you, but I would highly recommend watching the original, not that we wouldn’t be entertaining but we may not give it its true justice.

Not all of the story lines end happily, such as the story of unrequited love of a guy with his best friend’s wife.  There’s a moment in the movie where Keira Knightly (object of guy’s affection but married to the best friend guy) asks guy played by Andrew Lincoln, if she can look through the video that he took of their wedding cause her wedding video didn’t turn out well.  In an effort of self preservation he gives her the impression that he really can’t stand her.  Keira shows up at his door with…Banoffee Pie to ask him if she can look through his videos and be friends with him.

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There is way more to this story and all of the others in the movie but the important part here is…Banoffee Pie.  For years, my American self and friends were puzzled by what is a Banoffee Pie?  We couldn’t even figure out how to spell it or imagine what was in it?  It sounded made up, a fictitious pie altogether!

But, with the magic of the interwebs, I looked up several recipes and attempted a simple one.

Once I knew that the pie was toffee and banana, hence Banoffee, I wasn’t sure that combo sounded delicious to me?  I decided to make it for friends and to test it at a recent trip to Palm Springs.  (And yes, we were back in Palm Springs again!)

It’s a pretty simple recipe that I cut corners on cause I was in Palm Springs and lacking supplies like a pie pan and a double boiler.

Ingredients

4 bananas

1 graham cracker pie crust.  You can definitely make your own with graham crackers and melted butter but I didn’t have a pie pan.  I decided to buy the premade pie crust already in a pie tin.

1 can sweetened condensed milk  (note:  there’s another version where you boil the can of sweetened condensed milk without stirring and labor, but I’ll have to try that next.  It sounded like a magic method and I didn’t trust it but I’ll attempt it with the next pie)

heavy whipping cream and sugar to taste

I started by slicing three of the bananas and layering them in the pre-made pie crust.  Then I found two pots that I could improvise as a double boiler.  I placed water in the bottom pot and brought to a boil while I had the condensed milk in the second pan, stirring constantly.  You want the condensed milk to get thicker.  It’s obviously the toffee portion of the pie.  My double boiler didn’t seem to be doing the trick so at some point I just eliminated the water pot but my toffee was lumpy and had problems for sure.  Since I was convinced that this was a throw away pie and it was just to appease a very long obsession with the “made up pie” in the movie, I decided lumps were acceptable!

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So, I thickened the condensed milk to the best of its ability in my borrowed Palm Springs kitchen and poured it over the bananas in the pie crust.  It still didn’t appeal to me and I didn’t take pics of too much of the process cause I was a disbeliever in Banoffee Pie.

Next, I whipped the heavy whipping cream and added some sugar.  I didn’t add a ton of sugar as the toffee and bananas were already very sweet.  I also only had raw sugar which was pretty granulated so there was texture for this whipped cream, haha.  All in all, I was executing a pretty bad pie at this point with brown bananas, lumpy toffee and gritty whipped cream in a store bought graham cracker crust.  Yum!

I decided to just put the whipped cream on top, garnish it with sliced bananas from that fourth banana and cover it up and present it for dessert later as just a joke for the movie reference.

I knew the pie would create excitement from my friends that knew the movie, but I came armed with the disclaimer that we can try it but let’s not think we’re going to like it!  I had low expectations.

The pie presentation was a hit!  Everyone was impressed that I attempted the unknown movie pie and was eager to try this concoction.  I had guinea pigs.

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I sliced into it and served small servings due to my lack of confidence in this creation.  As we ate it, I didn’t detect the toffee lumps or anything wrong with it?  It was surprisingly and happily delicious!  Who knew that Banoffee Pie was sooooo good?  We Americans had no idea what we were missing out on?  As the rest of our party showed up through the weekend, each partook in a slice and each one ended up liking it.  Comments such as “This is how I want banana cream pie to taste” and “My new favorite pie” solidified that I will be making this pie again.  I might try the pie with a crust from scratch and use an actual double boiler next time.  There weren’t any leftovers of this one!

I think the upcoming holiday season just became a bit sweeter for me as I’ll be watching Love Actually and making Banoffee Pie!

Let’s Roll!

My apologies for a lapse in the cooking and blog writing.  My family is a bit under the weather this holiday season.  I’m recovering from surgery.  I had a little cancer that had to be removed, so my doctor successfully removed my thyroid and some lymph nodes.  They say that I won’t even miss them!  It turned out to be a couple of types of cancer with one rare type called medullary.  My family and friends have been calling me an overachiever!  I’ll be just fine but have some healing to do, so I’ve been taking it easy.  Not an easy thing for me to do, but necessary.

My uncle had knee surgery, my aunt is not feeling well, my parents decided to get a bad cold…so needless to say we’re all not celebrating as usual this year.   We will all get together in the new year and have a redo on Christmas.  For now, we’re all going to focus on healing.

I learned last night that part of the healing process should include making cinnamon rolls on Christmas Eve with my good friend Debi!  I unexpectedly decided to bring her lunch that afternoon and then stayed to help her make four types of cookies and cinnamon rolls.  She did most of it, but it was a great time hanging out as we listened to holiday tunes and chatted about how funny I was on drugs from the surgery.

Cinnamon rolls for her family is a holiday tradition.  The recipe comes from their church cookbook.

Disneyland Cinnamon Rolls (from Sarah Judkins)

1/2 cup warm water + 2 Tbsp. yeast (mix and set aside)

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1 (One) 3 oz. package of instant vanilla pudding mix

2 (Two) cups milk (microwaved to take the chill off)

2 (Two) tbsp. sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 (Two) eggs, slightly beaten

1 (One) tsp. salt

8 (Eight) cups flour

In a large bowl, mix the pudding with the milk.  (This pudding is going to be thicker than normal as we are not making it to the package specifications on the box)  Add butter, eggs and salt.  Mix well.  Add the yeast mixture.  Mix well.

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Gradually add flour and knead until smooth.  image

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Put in a large greased bowl.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in size.  Handy tip:  warm a wet kitchen towel in the microwave.  Cover the bowl with the towel and set in the microwave.  Do not turn your microwave on!

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Punch down, cover and let rise until double in size for a second time.  The recipe calls to do this twice but we did this about four times and Debi says she usually does it more.  It can take 8 to 10 hours.  We did a faster version in about 5 hours last night.

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Roll dough on a very large floured surface to a long rectangular shape, approximately 34″x21″.  We split the dough in half to do this.  It would have rolled out to the entire surface of the table if we didn’t split it!

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Spread:  the recipe suggests the following

1(One) cup butter, melted

2 (Two) cups brown sugar

2 (Two) tbsp cinnamon

Brush on melted butter.  Mix brown sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle over top.

We did ours with a minor modification.  We mixed the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon to make a spreadable paste.

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Roll into a jelly roll.  Measure every two inches and cut.  Handy tip:  use clean dental floss to slice!

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Place in a greased pan, gently pack them so they stay together, and allow to rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.  We placed our pans on top of the stove cause the oven was warm from baking cookies already.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.  Frost while still warm.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (One) 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 (One) tsp vanilla

3 (Three) cups powdered sugar

2 (Two) tsps milk

Mix well in a bowl until creamy and smooth.

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Hope you enjoy your holiday with family, friends and warm cinnamon rolls!