Friday, April 1, 2011

Forbidden Fruit

Bananas are a thing of the past around here. Poor Henry used to consume one every morning along with his cereal and morning coffee (unlike me, he will not eat leftovers for breakfast) until I did a little research and discovered that bananas are extremely high in both sugars (28 g) and carbs (51 g). Now granted, they are a good source of fiber, vitamin C and potassium, so I don’t want to give them a bad rap but they no longer grace our breakfast table. Sigh.

Ah, but when we find ourselves on vacation, all bets are off.  Remember that trip we took recently?

We needed a quick get-a-way, so we headed for the Turks and Caicos. We had never been there, but it was a pretty straight shot from Atlanta (less than 2 hours on a plane, unless you travel in the midst of severe thunderstorms, which happened on the way back), we found a lovely, quiet place to stay (no big, all-inclusive resorts for us) and it looked like a good place for a five-day sojourn.

Indeed, it was. While Provo isn’t a hotbed of activity, it was lovely and easy to navigate. We spent time on the beach, kayaked, explored an iguana-inhabited island, relaxed and enjoyed some lovely dinners at local restaurants. As these islands are under British rule, this last one was a surprise!

Nonetheless, we found good food on the island. Our favorite restaurant was Coyaba which is helmed by Chef Paul Newman (I’m not making that up). We were lucky enough to meet him and he shared some insights as to the difficulties involved in running a successful restaurant on the island. Unfortunately he did not share his recipe for Banana Caramel Eton Mess, but I am determined to re-create it. Stay tuned.

The other memorable dessert we encountered was Magnolia’s Banoffee Pie. I stumbled across the recipe while perusing one of the local dining magazines and figured it was reason enough to have dinner there. Well, why not? We had to make up for our banana deficiency somehow, right?

BANOFFEE PIE  (adapted from Chef Matt Gaynor, Magnolia Restaurant, Providenciales)

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups dulce de leche (or salted caramel, which is what I used)
2 bananas, sliced
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

Place graham cracker crumbs in a large mixing bowl. Add melted butter and stir until combined. Press into a 9 or 10-inch tart pan, or 6 individual tart pans with removable bottoms. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until just set; remove from oven and set aside to cool.

When crust is cool, pour the dulce de leche over and smooth top. Place in the refrigerator to set up and cool completely.

Just before serving, layer banana slices over the caramel layer. Whip the cream to soft peaks with the confectioner’s sugar and espresso powder. Spread evenly over the bananas. Cut and serve immediately.

Serves 6 – 8

• I will admit that I am a snob when it comes to graham cracker crusts. I normally eschew them in favor of some other type of cookie, as you know from my prior cheesecake posts. But, since this is a traditional British recipe, I elected to just go with it and you know what? I liked it!

• I had some leftover salted caramel from making one of those Sweet and Salty Cakes so I subbed it for the dulce de leche. This was a good decision; so much so that if I make this again, I would venture so far as to make some salted caramel specifically for this dessert. Make your own choice: here are the links for both:

• F.Y.I., when I made this (for that potluck recently where I took the mac and cheese), I used an 11 x 7 ½ -inch rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom. Use whatever you have.

• Yeah, we had both mac and cheese and banoffee pie that night. What was I thinking????????


  1. this looks delicious! I am officially salivating over it now.

  2. ummmm.... Y U M M M M M !!!