As easy as pie…

So we’ve been having polo at our club everyday for the last two weeks.  Polo?  Our club?  Hmmm I guess I should step back a bit.  So the hubby is a professional polo player, he and my brother- in-law UD run the Haryana Polo Club just outside delhi.  Go to their website, check it out.  If you want a holiday in India and to learn to play polo you should come visit us, we have two beautiful guest rooms, 26 horses and beautiful grounds.  Go check it out here.  And if you come visit you get cakes specially baked by me :-)!!!  Yeah so when there’s polo at the farm little old me bakes cakes, after all when 16 strong, hard, sweaty men (stop drooling…I will post pictures later!)  finish a polo game they want nothing better than hunks of carrot, lemon and chocolate cake and ice-cold beers to wash it all down.  Its fun!  Most days I love sending cakes, it makes me feel all domestic and maternal.  But then somedays I have a Marie Antoinette moment and and feel like tossing my royal ringlets, sweeping up my skirts and sending the husband to the closest store to buy (oh god how awful) store bought cake!!!

So the last time I had one of these fits instead of  getting the cream filled concotions you get in bakery’s in India I decided to make something else….But what to make?  It needed to be sweet, it needed to be easy (since I do have a regular non-cake making job as well) and most importantly it needed to satisfy my husband’s tough talking, hard riding, polo buddies.  No tarte tatin here!  And then it struck me…the easiest peasiest (do people still say that?) pie on earth – it was so easy it wasn’t really a pie.  It was just four ingredients layered one on top of each other. BANOFFEE PIE!  Bananas, toffee, digestive biscuits, cream (chocolate optional).

Now as an aside.  Don’t tell anyone.  But I HATE Banoffee Pie…its all those bananas.  I just can’t stand it.  But for some reason everyone else I know just loves it.  I have a friend, who I supplied with Banoffee Pie’s all through her second pregnancy.

But it didn’t matter, I wasn’t going to be there, I would be safely esconsed in my office while my husband and his friends chomped through slices of Banoffee Pie.  Everything was going fine till I spoke to my mother, “Banoffee Pie” she said (extremely quizzically), “for tea!” (Now you’d have thought that I was about to commit some sort of cardinal food sin here).  But then I rationalised…I was after all the mother who allowed her daughter to eat apple pie for breakfast (it has fruit and wheat and oats!!!) and scrambled eggs for dinner (mmmm….breakfast for dininer the best thing EVER) so really dessert for tea was not a big jump.

If you do search for Banoffee Pie on the internet, you’ll come across hundreds and thousands of recipes all claiming to be THE definitive one.  I guess I’ve never been one for definitions…if it tastes good and everyone else likes it then whats the big deal?

Thats the finished Banoffee Pie sitting on my dining table...it took a lot of convincing to stop Vava from eating it right there and then!
Thats the finished Banoffee Pie sitting on my dining table…it took a lot of convincing to stop Vava from eating it right there and then!

So here’s how you make it….

BANOFFEE PIE (the indefinite version)

You need:

300 gms Digestive biscuits (or you can even use Chocolate Hobnobs – very yummy)

150gms Butter (unsalted preferably)

2 Tins Condensed Milk

250 ml Heavy Cream

3-4 Bananas

1 Bar of  Milk Chocolate

What you should do

1. Fill a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan with water and place the UNOPENED tins of condensed milk in them (trust me!).  Bring it gently to a boil and let it boil for 2 and 1/2 hours.  I know this sounds crazy but you really really do need to boil the tins of condensed milk.  Nothing untoward should happen.  Just make keep checking that the water in the saucepan does boil off, keep topping it up every once in a while and when you’re done you’re going to have the most amazing deep caramel coloured toffee/dulce leche/boiled condensed milk!

2. While your condensed milk tins are bubbling away undergoing the magical transformation from boring old condensed milk to heavenly caramelly toffee you need to make the base for the pie.  Crush the digestive biscuits into what looks like coarse meal.  You can use a food processor or just dump the biscuits into a ziplock bag, close tightly and bash away with a rolling pin – immediate crumbs!

3. Melt the butter gently and then mix in the crushed biscuits.  Press the mixture into the base and sides of a 9 inch spring form pan or pie plate and put it into the fridge to set. It takes about 2 hours.

4. Once you’ve boiled the tins of condensed milk, remove them from the water and let it cool.  Once the tins are cool enough to handle, open them and spoon all that lovely gooey caramelly toffee into your pie base which should have set by now.

5. Slice the bananas and layer them on top of the toffee.

6.  Whip the heavy cream to about the soft peak consistency and layer that on top of the bananas ( you can mix a tspn of coffee powder or kahlua or vanilla essence or caster sugar into the cream when you whip it – whatever gets your pulse racing)

7. Grate the chocolate on top as desired.  And serve!

I don't know whats more delectable...the finished pie or Vava's eyes just begging for a piece!
I don’t know whats more delectable…the finished pie or Vava’s eyes just begging for a piece!
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