Banoffee Pie with Dulce de Leche
I have stumbled upon a winning formula for baking. While it is so winning that it doesn't really belong under the banner of "Can't cook, Will cook", here I am. Said formula? Invite a baking goddess into your home, pass her all the ingredients, take photos and voila, you have yourself a delicious banoffee pie with dulce de leche sauce and your troublesome hands haven't gone anywhere near the recipe, so it is free of disaster!
I spent the weekend with my new friends Mila and Annie, two yogis I bonded with in Portugal. Annie runs her own blog, aptly named Cakes and Travel, for she loves to do both these things. Luckily for me she travelled to my house and happily obliged when I trapped her in the kitchen and asked her to make a cake.
Annie liked the look of the dulce de leche recipe in Vegan Kitchen - currently my favourite recipe book. Somehow I've got this far in life without even knowing dulce de leche exists. Oh christ on a bike, it is the sweet candy of milk! Seriously - that's the literal translation. Traditionally made by cooking condensed milk, Vegan Kitchen have a simple way to veganize the badger.
Annie and Mila, like the wondrous legends they are, arrived bearing a homemade vegan hamper for Gaz and I, which is the fast track way into our hearts. How adorable is this?
Blink and you might miss the Lotus in the hamper. For t'was in this hamper that they introduced us to this:
I've written about how much I love Mila before, but now she's brought this into my world I'm having to recalibrate my love levels to new unforeseen heights.
It's one of those 'accidentally vegan' products which is so delicious I need to go and put a dollop in my mouth right this moment, so difficult as it is to write about without running to the kitchen to mainline it.
Ah, that's better.
If you miss spoon-feeding Nutella straight from the jar, this is better. It's biscuits. It's caramelly. You can go smooth or crunchy, like peanut butter. Good luck fitting into your size 10s once you've got this in your cupboard!
While flicking through recipe books, Mila, Annie and I agreed that when it came to cakes and bakes, you have to follow the rule of the recipe. Unlike savoury food, which allows for a bit of experimentation and flair, you have to abide by the delicate balance of ingredients in baking recipes.
Once we'd agreed on that, we threw out the recipe books and freestyled our own banoffee pie, complete with Lotus biscuit spread as a gooey bed to lie the bananas in, those lucky bananas. Screw you rules!
So far in the life of Can't Cook Will Cook, not following recipes has been to my detriment, but there's someone else in charge today and I'm just here to be enthusiastic and lick spoons. We have stumbled upon a marvellous pie.
For the base - whizz up your choice of nuts with a handful of dates and desiccated coconut. Like this:
Flatten that mix into a cake tin. Leave in the fridge while you crack on.
Banana Bed - stir Lotus spread with some plain or coconut vegan yoghurt. Like this:
Pour that sumptuous mixture over your nut base from earlier, like this:
Chuck that bad boy back in the fridge.
Slice bananas and arrange in a fancy way. Like this:
Now if like me you have two other people in your kitchen, one can be making the pie while one takes photos (hello) and the other stirs the dulce de leche. Enter, Mila:
Drizzle dulce de leche over bananas, then add some lightly toasted pecans (which we sprinkled with cinnamon for extra yum). Like this:
Here are the chefs! Well, two chefs and one enthusiastic photographer...
Mmmmmmm. We polished our banoffee pie off in one sitting. No leftovers, save for some dulce de leche, which I took no time to demolish once the guests had gone. It's best I wasn't witnessed, for I was channelling Gollum and his precious ring, but with gooey goodness instead of a magical bit of jewellery.