This here is a banoffee pie as it should be – where the caramel infuses a baked custard filling and is then topped with bananas.
- 240 g (8½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 60 g (2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
- 2 g (1/16 oz/¼ tsp) fine sea salt
- 140 g (5 oz) unsalted butter, cold and diced
- 20 g (¾ oz) egg yolk (from approx. 1 egg)
- 50 ml (1¾ oz) cream (35–45 per cent milk fat)
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten, for brushing pastry (use the yolk for the filling)
- 500 ml (1 lb 2 oz) cream (35–45 per cent milk fat)
- 10 g (¼ oz/1 tsp) vanilla paste
- 150 g (5½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
- 30 ml (1 oz) water
- 3 g (⅒ oz/ ¼ tsp) sea salt flakes
- 80 g (2¾ oz) egg yolk (from approx. 4 eggs)
- 3 small bananas, ripe and fragrant
- 1 passionfruit, pulped (or 2 tsp orange juice)
- 200 ml (7 oz) cream (35–45 per cent milk fat)
- 5 g (⅛ oz/½ tsp) vanilla paste
- 100 g (3½ oz) crème fraîche
- ½ batch Chocolate rubble –milk chocolate (page 244)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Freezing time: 1 hour
Chilling time: 2 hours-overnight
1. To make the crust, put the flour, sugar and salt in a wide mixing bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients just until the butter lumps are the size of small peas and the flour has taken on a yellowy hue. When tossing through your fingers, it should feel like silky ground almonds with buttery lumps throughout. These small butter lumps are going to melt during baking, creating a little steam, which will help flake the pastry apart.
2. Lightly mix the egg yolk and cream together and then add to the buttery flour. Keep mixing with your hands, lightly squeezing the dough together. The mix will look crumbly at first and then will come together like playdough. Loosely wrap the dough in plastic wrap, then press the dough into a 2 cm (¾ in) thick disc, gently squeezing around the edge to smooth out any cracks. If the dough is not too warm, you can start rolling now. Or if it feels sticky, chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes – just ensure that the dough is cool and pliable before rolling.
3. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and press it out a little with the palm of your hand to ease it into the start of rolling. This helps to prevent large cracks. Give the dough one or two short pressured rolls with the pin before lifting and moving the dough 90 degrees, making the rolls longer as the dough circle widens. Dust underneath the dough at regular intervals to prevent sticking.
4. Roll out the dough to a 35 cm (14 in) circle, about 4 mm (¼ in) thick. Trim, then gently lift and flop the dough into the tin. Working in sections, tuck the dough right into the edge and against the side of the tart tin to prevent air pockets, then roll off the excess with a rolling pin. Freeze for at least 1 hour before blind baking.
5. To blind bake, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Cover the frozen dough with a piece of aluminium foil, tucking it snugly into the corner of the tin. Fill the lined tin with sugar and bake for 30–40 minutes until the crust is an even biscuity brown colour.
6. Preheat the oven to 120°C (250°F). Place the blind-baked crust, still in the tin, on a heavy baking tray. Soften a little left-over dough by massaging it in your hands and use it to patch any large fissures or breaks where the liquid filling is likely to escape. Don’t press the dough too hard or you risk making a bigger crack.
7. To make the filling, scald the cream and vanilla in a small saucepan over a medium–high heat. For ‘scalding’, what you are looking for is over half the surface of the cream to be eagerly bubbly. Remove from the heat and set aside. We want to use the cream while it’s hot so it will merge better with the hot caramel, so don’t delay the next step.
8. In a separate small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a fast boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Continue boiling, without stirring, until the caramel is medium brown. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the caramel to continue cooking from the pan’s heat. When it reaches your preferred caramel colour and smell, carefully pour half the hot cream into the caramel, taking care as it will spatter. Add the remaining cream and whisk in the salt.
9. Put the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl. Pour half the hot caramel cream into the yolks and whisk well before pouring in the remainder. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug.
10. Get the blind-baked crust ready. Brush the egg white to lightly coat the inside of the crust. Put in the oven for 5 minutes for the egg white to dry slightly and seal well. Don’t overheat at this stage as the egg white can cause the pastry to crack. Then, preferably while it’s still in the oven (it helps if there’s not a rack above your crust), carefully pour the caramel custard filling into the crust. The custard level will be slightly scant, as you need to leave room for the bananas and cream.
11. Bake for 25–30 minutes until the custard has a firm eggy wobble and a fine blistering across the top. We want the custard to be reasonably firm, to hold the topping. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
12. To make the topping, cut the bananas in half lengthways, then chop into small semicircles and put in a bowl. Scrape the passionfruit into the bowl and lightly mix to coat the banana.
13. Whip the cream and vanilla to medium peaks, then lightly whisk in the crème fraîche. This will soften the cream slightly to soft cloud-like peaks. Leaving the pie in the tin, strew the bananas across the surface of the custard and lightly press in. Pile the cream onto the middle and smooth it over to the edge of the tin with an offset spatula or long knife. Scatter over the Chocolate rubble. Return to the fridge to chill, then remove from the tin and serve. Keeps chilled for 2 days.
• Sometimes a few straggly bits of caramel stick to the whisk. I don’t worry about this. But if your cream has cooled too much and your whisk can feel (or show) big clumps of caramel, then put the caramel cream back on the heat to melt.
• To prevent the custard filling leaking out and baking between the tin and the pastry, don’t overfill and don’t let the custard slosh down between the crust and the tin while filling. If the crust is slightly uneven in height, fill only to the top of the lowest side.
• The acidity from the passionfruit (or use orange juice if preferred) will prevent the banana from discolouring. Lemon juice is a little jarring against the caramel custard.
This is an edited extract from Beatrix Bakes by Natalie Paull published by Hardie Grant Books (RRP $45.00). Photographer: © Bec Hudson and Emily Weaving