I’ve never been a fan of banoffee pie (wait, wait) because I find the textures all wrong. It’s all soft and crumbly and airy and mushy and I just don’t get it. What I do get, however, is that bananas and toffee get on like a house on fire. On top of the digestive biscuit pastry sits the pièce de résistance: banana toffee. This stuff just hits the spot, I mean, all the spots. I actually ate a good amount of it on it’s own, but on top of the digestive base and beneath the whipped cream it is divine! One quick note, the caramelised banana slices don’t stay good for too long so if you plan to make this recipe in advance, save caramelising the bananas until you are about to serve.
for the digestive pastry
- 40g plain flour, sifted
- 90g wholemeal flour
- 75g butter, chilled and cubed
- 15g porridge oats
- 30g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon cold water
for the banana toffee
- 200g caster sugar
- 100ml double cream
- pinch of salt
- 80g peeled banana, mashed (about 130g unpeeled)
for the decoration
- 200ml double cream
- 20g icing sugar, sifted
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10 thin slices of peeled banana
- caster sugar, to sprinkle
Make the digestive pastry: place the plain and wholemeal flours in a medium-sized bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs then stir in the oats and sugar. Use a palette knife to cut in the water then press the mixture together to form a ball. Flatten the pastry into a disc, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 15 minutes, to relax and firm up.
Grease four 8cm round rings (2cm deep) and a baking tray, then arrange the rings on the tray. Roll the pastry between a sheet of non-stick baking paper and the cling film to 3mm thick. Use clean scissors to cut the pastry ‘sandwich’ into four quarters. Remove the paper and the cling film from one quarter of the pastry and use to line one of the rings. Repeat with the remaining pastry and rings. Place the tray in the freezer for about 10 minutes and preheat the oven to 190°C (180°C fan)/375°F/gas mark 5.
Trim the edges of the frozen pastry in line with the sides of the rings and prick the bases with a fork. Carefully line each pastry case with the used non-stick baking paper (this is easiest to do after scrunching up the paper and flattening it back out) then fill with baking beans. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes before removing the beans and paper then bake for a further 5-10 minutes, until brown and cooked through. Leave the pastry cases to cool in the rings before removing.
Make the banana toffee: place the sugar in a saucepan with 100ml water and stir over a medium heat, until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring and increase the heat. Bring the syrup to the boil and cook until it turns an amber caramel (this will take a few minutes). While the syrup is boiling, gently heat the cream and salt in a small saucepan until it boils, then remove from the heat.
Once the syrup has turned to caramel, remove from the heat and pour in the cream. Take great caution as the mixture will splatter. As soon as it settles, stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in the mashed banana and heat until the mixture turns a shade darker, stirring constantly. Pour the banana toffee into a heatproof bowl and leave to cool.
Assemble the tarts: half fill each pastry case with the cooled banana toffee. Whisk the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla extract until it holds its shape then spoon over the toffee and smooth the surface with a palette knife. Place the banana slices on a heatproof tray and sprinkle with the caster sugar. Use a blow torch or hot grill to caramelise the sugar on the banana slices. Allow to cool for a few minutes before using the best eight to decorate the tarts. Serve immediately.