Banoffee Cream Pie

20120528-100907.jpgDo you ever wish you lived in a different country? Sometimes I do.

Sometimes I like to think I could live in Paris and bake French pastries in some little shop owned by a little fat french man who swears in French and constantly seems bothered by something, but really he likes me and sends me home with goodies daily.

Sometimes I wish I was born in Canada, if only for the health insurance.

Sometimes I imagine I live in the English countryside, in a big old brick house like Jamie Oliver’s, filed with beautiful children who help me tend our immense garden and take care of our chickens.

For now I’ll just make myself an English pie. My take on Banoffee pie that is. Banoffee pie is just what it sounds like. Bananas and toffee. It’s a very British thing, and very tasty. Sweetened condensed milk is cooked down into a thick creamy carmelly toffee. It’s layered with bananas in a pie crust and topped with loads of cream. I decided to throw in a custard and make it a Banoffee cream pie.

20120528-101012.jpgI also made my own sweetened condensed milk, as things that come in cans tend to freak me out a bit these days. Making the milk was ridiculously easy, although next time I think I’ll try a different method of caramelization. I did so on the stove top and almost burned it. Most recipes call for doing so slowly in the oven.

I also threw some grated chocolate among the layers of this pie, and honestly you could probably even give it a layer of peanut butter if you want to go all out.

For now, while I’m still living in the Midwestern United States, this pie will have to do until I get rich and buy a country house in Europe.

Banoffee Cream Pie

Adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook and http://www.kitchenstewardship.com

Condensed milk toffee (Dulce de Leche):

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 unrefined sugar
3 Tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla

Crust:

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter

Filling:

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ripe bananas
Grated chocolate

Topping:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Grated chocolate

1. In a small saucepan mix all ingredients for the toffee. Heat over medium until simmering. Continue to simmer stirring occasionally for approximately 1-2 hours until thickened and caramelized. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the crust. Melt the butter and mix with graham cracker crumbs. Press into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake for approximately 12 minutes until slightly golden. Allow to cool completely.

3. Pour half of the toffee into the crust. Arrange a single layer of banana slices on top of the toffee. Pour remaining toffee over bananas. Grate chocolate over the top. Put aside to set.

4. Prepare the filling. In a medium saucepan combine the milk and cream, over medium heat. In another bowl mix sugar, cornstarch, salt and egg yolks. When milk mixture is hot slowly add to egg mixture to temper. Continue to add milk until fully combined. Strain mixture back into pan and return to heat. Stirring constantly heat until thickened. Remove from heat add butter and vanilla, strain into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

5. Pour half of the custard mixture over bananas into pie pan. Top custard with another layer of sliced bananas. Grate more chocolate over the top. Pour remaining custard over the top.

6. Whip cream and powdered sugar in a mixer until slightly stiff peaks form. Dollop onto pie. Top again with grated chocolate. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Pie tends to be soft so a half hour in the freezer before cutting will make the slices come out cleaner. Will last refrigerated about 3 days.

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The summers first salsa

20120515-160709.jpgIs it okay to call it summer yet? It’s 84 degrees here in Wisconsin today, which is about 12 higher then I like so I’m going with summer. There are a lot of lovely things about summer.

Sunshine, farmers markets, my own produce right from my backyard, refreshing cocktails which I sadly will not be indulging in this year. There is one thing, which you may already know, that I hate about summer.

The heat. I can’t stand being hot. I’m paler then pale and that’s how I intend to stay and my fair skin burns immediately. I over heat in an instant.

Monday was beautiful. It was in the 70’s, it was breezy and I bought a bunch of vegetables. On the whim of my husband I made a mexican inspired chicken dish complete with homemade salsa. The first salsa of the season.

20120515-160957.jpgTomatoes meet corn, onions, peppers, garlic and cilantro. The corn mellows out the spice and adds a hint of sweetness. We ate it with chips and we ate it with shredded chicken stewed with some of the salsa and spices, on tortillas with spinach. It was pretty darn good.

20120516-104220.jpgIf we hadn’t devoured almost the entire jar in one night I’m sure it would have been even better after having time to sit and marry its flavors. I may just have to make another batch of it tonight!

Summer Corn Salsa

Makes one medium jar

Ingredients

2 medium tomatoes
1/4 of a large red onion
1/4 of a red pepper
1/4 of a green pepper
1 ear corn
jalapeño pepper to taste (I used about 1/4 of one pepper, I could have done more)
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Chop tomatoes, onion and red and green peppers into a small dice. In a large bowl stand the corn upright. With a large knife strip the kernels off of the cob. Mince jalapeño pepper and garlic until finely chopped. Chop cilantro. Add all ingredients to a jar, adding salt and pepper to taste. Shake vigorously until well mixed. Set aside until ready to use.