Friday, April 26, 2013

Banoffee Pie

You may not have heard of Banoffee Pie. I have only once or twice, and only recently. And I honestly couldn't tell you the source. It's a weird enough name for a pie (although, I'd call it a tart, but maybe it's just me) that I should remember though, right?! Here's what I REALLY have to say on the topic: Great Britain--you need some help with naming foods. I could win this argument by presenting only one piece of evidence, without commentary:

But I'd like to present this evidence as well (used to make the crust of this pie/tart):

An online description goes as follows:

"Arguably the UK’s favourite biscuit the McVities Digestive is famed for its sweet, wheaty taste, crumbly texture and renowned suitability for dunking. A bona fide legend in the world of biscuits. Whilst the name ‘digestive’ comes from the antacid properties that the biscuit was thought to have when it was first made, McVities Digestives no longer claim to deliver this benefit – they simply offer an unrivalled taste that is loved by millions."

The name alone made my children sore afraid. Turns out, they're not that different from graham crackers. In fact, I liked them as a pie (tart) crust MORE than graham crackers. They weren't quite as sweet, which made the crust a part of the overall flavor without adding so much of its own personality. Anyway, McVitie's, if they no longer have this digestive "benefit", why not change the name? To something that sounds delicious? Sweetie-Wheaties? Dunkers? Or how about just "McVitie's"? I have the same beef with "Banoffee Pie". Not a successful portmanteau, IMO. Because it's a food, and one has no idea what is in store if one orders/buys it. "Banana Toffee Tart"? Now, THAT sounds delicious, order me one! Or better yet, I'll make one at home!

Here's the recipe I used. Everything about this was unexpected. The individual elements are just slightly odd. But they come together to make a pie (TART) that is smooth and creamy and tasty and simple and really delightful. The toffee layer could not be easier to make (and this is coming from a person who is caramel-challenged). And it has the perfect consistency--just slightly gooey when you cut into the pie (TART!), but soft when you fork into it and not tooth-sticky at all as you eat it.

And the bananas. I mean, on the one hand it's obvious (Bananas Foster), that caramel and banana go together, but it took a stroke of genius to put them together in a pie (!TART!).

I put some toasted coconut on top of mine instead of shaved chocolate, for a little extra tropical flavor, and I quite liked it.

TGIP Rating--KEEPER. And as much as I thought all the elements played perfectly together, there's a part of me that wants to mess with this. Maybe give it a regular pastry crust and make it an ACTUAL PIE. Maybe make the bananas into something like bananas foster before putting them on top? Or add some rum to the whipped cream? BANANAS FOSTER PIE?! Will ponder some more.

Next up: A field trip. Actually two fieldtrips. To a local bakery and a local parking lot. Intriguing, right?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Aunt Sassy (cup)Cake

These were delicious. The cake is really nice, I love the texture that the crushed pistachios gives. And the frosting is yummy, like honey butter, but better.

So, I made a couple of changes; one purposeful, one not. I decided to make cupcakes instead of a full-size cake because I wanted to share some of these and cupcakes are just easier to transport. I used the same trick the BAKED boys suggest in their Whiteout Cake recipe--added an extra egg yolk for cupcake stability. It worked out perfectly. They were still tender but not too much so.

The inadvertent change I made was using salted instead of unsalted butter. I know. That's kind of a big change (although a quick google search tells me salted butter generally contains only 1.6-1.7 percent salt--which doesn't seem like very much at all). I accidentally bought salted and then once I realized it, there wasn't enough time for me to run to the store AND make the frosting in the small baking window I had left myself. What's interesting is that I kind of liked the change for this. When I think of nuts, I think of saltiness. So, to use unsalted pistachios as the garnish on top seems a little...unsatisfying? Because I wanted a salty flavor? I don't know. But it didn't taste salty, it seemed, rather, to have quite a good balance of salty and sweet. Not that I would ever do that again, because I can't control the salt when it's already in the butter. I would probably just use unsalted nuts in the cake and salted on top.

I did, once again, have a little problem with the frosting texture. That happens occasionally with the BAKED boys buttercream. And I have yet to figure out the reason. It seems to have the same sensitivity to external moisture and temperature (yesterday was a wet morning) as bread does. But the taste always conquers all, even when the texture isn't perfect.

TGIP Rating--KEEPER--Next time I make it as a full-size cake. Much more impressive presentation.

Next up: I want to make a Banoffee Pie. I've never eaten one. I'm just intrigued by it. I mean, there's nothing about that idea that sounds bad, right?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Coconut Bread

I have nothing to say about this. Recipe is perfect. Easy. Delicious. Moist. Flavorful. Go make it.

This is a picture of the bowl I almost stuck my head in to get to all the batter. 

This is a picture of the most beautiful loaves of sweet bread in all of space and time.

TGIP Rating--Coconut Bread--KEEPER. Okay, maybe I do have one thing to say: Additions to consider: toasted, chopped almonds; chocolate chips; lime zest (not all at once).

Next up: Aunt Sassy Cake from Baked: Explorations. I've been wanting to make it forever, and it just happens to be on the Baked Sunday Mornings schedule for this weekend. I might make cupcakes instead of a full-size cake. I love a real CAKE cake as much as the next person, but sometimes I need to take treats to other people and cupcakes are easier to transport. Forgive the blasphemy, BAKED boys.