One of the most decadent of British desserts, this delicious combination of fresh whipped cream, sticky toffee and sliced bananas, all layered over a crumbly biscuit base, is a favourite of anyone with a sweet tooth!
Thank you to Kim Davis at Cinnamon and Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder blog, who helped me test the recipe and provide the American measurements – and for letting me share her gorgeous photos!
MUFFINS AND MOURNING TEA is even better than the last book in the series, which is saying a lot since I’ve loved each and everyone of H.Y. Hanna’s books. She makes you feel like you’re actually visiting Oxford and participating in the May Day celebrations and sipping tea at her Little Stables Tearoom. I loved the bits and pieces of history that she provides about the area and the traditions. It adds to the book without detracting from the story. Be sure to read through to the back of the book for the Glossary of British Terms, which is entertaining reading on its own.
The plot has a good flow to it with lots of interesting suspects that kept me guessing until the very end. But once again, it’s the characters that have me coming back and eagerly waiting for the next installment! Without a doubt, the Old Biddies steal the scenes they are in and they create many laugh out loud moments. Adorable Meuseli is a cheeky little tabby that will win your heart. Gemma’s relationship with Devlin seems to be at a turning point while her friendship with Cassie provides a sounding board. They all combine to create a story where I wish I could hang out at Little Stables Tearoom and take in the gossip and atmosphere while Gemma solves her cases!
H.Y. Hanna also provides a recipe for Classic Banoffee Pie at the back of the book. When she asked me to test the recipe I’ll have to admit that while I had heard of this dessert I had never tried it or even seen a recipe. Thank goodness for Wikipedia and Pinterest 🙂 According to Wikipedia, “credit for the pie’s invention is claimed by Nigel Mackenzie and Ian Dowding, the owner and chef respectively of The Hungry Monk Restaurant in Jevington, East Sussex in 1971.” They combined the the words banana and toffee to create Banoffee which is amazingly rich and decadent! The pie isn’t difficult to make but the results are quite elegant and I think I just about licked the plate clean! In fact, the toffee sauce is so easy I’ll be making it for ice cream sundaes instead of purchasing the jarred caramel sauce. Thank you, H.Y., for allowing me to share your delicious recipe!”
(Recipe from the back of MUFFINS AND MOURNING TEA (Oxford Tearoom Mysteries ~ Book 5): )
(U.S. measurements are in brackets but be aware that results may vary since the recipe will not be as accurate as weighing the ingredients.)
For the base:
· 100g butter, melted (7 tablespoons)
· 250g digestive biscuits (2-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs in the U.S. can be substituted)
For the topping:
· 1 tin of sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces) eg. Nestlé Carnation or Eagle Brand
· 100g butter, melted (7 tablespoons)
· 100g dark brown soft sugar (1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
· 3 tablespoons water
· 300ml whipping cream (1-1/4 cups)
· 4 small bananas (this can be increased or decreased according to taste)
· Grated chocolate
+ Approx 9 inch loose-bottomed cake tin, greased
1) Crumble the digestive biscuits (or graham crackers) in a food processor until they become fine crumbs. Pour in the melted butter and combine well, until the crumbs stick together when pressed.
2) Press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of your cake tin. This is the base of the pie. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
3) Melt the dark brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of water in a non-stick pan, over a low heat, stirring continuously until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add the remaining butter and condensed milk and bring to rapid boil, for at least 1 minute. Stir continuously until the mixture forms a thick, golden toffee sauce. (This step is important for creating a delicious, thick caramel / toffee)
4) Remove the toffee sauce from the heat and spread most of it over the pie base (reserve a small amount to keep at room temperature for drizzling over the pie at the end). Refrigerate for at least an hour – until the toffee is semi-firm. (It can be kept in the fridge until ready to serve)
5) Beat the whipping cream using an electric mixer, until it is very thick and forms soft peaks.
6) Carefully remove the pie base from the cake tin and place it on a serving plate.
7) Slice the bananas thinly. Arrange them on top of the toffee sauce in the pie, followed by a layer of the whipped cream (alternatively, you can fold them gently into the soft whipped cream, then spoon the mixture over the toffee sauce). Keep a few slices back for decoration on top.
8) Decorate the top of the pie with the last few slices of banana and sprinkle with grated chocolate. You can also drizzle some more toffee sauce on top (you may need to rewarm it slightly if it has thickened too much to drizzle)
Thoroughly chill the mixing bowl and beaters before whipping the cream.
Use a vegetable peeler to make chocolate curls. Drag the peeler across the edge of a chocolate bar.
(© copyright H.Y. Hanna)