Friday, May 20, 2011

Banana Toffee Pie With A Side of Almond Coconut Gelato

Last Saturday my aunt graduated with her Bachelor's degree (along with many of my friends!). For such a special day we absolutely had to have a celebration, and because it is such a wonderful accomplishment I told her I would make her any dessert that her heart desired -- anything from simple to incredibly difficult. I will make anything! We both came up with options -- she scoured the internet, and I perused my books. She wanted something tropical, fruity. She found a recipe for Almond Coconut gelato, and since gelato is not substantial enough for a dessert I found a recipe for Banana ToffeePie. She liked the combination, and it was a go! 
It was a touch wet on graduation day.
 This was all arranged a week before the big day, and I was so excited about making these decadent desserts. The week had other plans for me though. I had thought of making the gelato and pie on Thursday, but I really like my desserts to be freshly made--the closer to the day needed the better. I personally couldn't make anything on Friday because I had to work (pesky transfer students!), and then I had a wedding to attend Friday evening. This left no time! After consideration mom and I decided that the pie absolutely needed to be made the day before and not a second earlier -- bananas, people! They can get slimy, brown, and just plain gross.

Sweet, sweet caramel!
 Mom, bless her heart, was left to make absolutely everything completely on her own. This wouldn't be an issue except that she enjoys making tried and true dishes whereas I'm always picking out recipes that I have never made before, and they are generally a little more complicated. They might just have steps that we have never done before -- and this Banana Toffee pie was filled with that! And so was the gelato. Sigh. She, like the trooper she is, agreed to make everything regardless of how intimidated she might be by the complicated steps in the recipes.

The pre-baked crust of the pie is made with graham crackers, butter, and a variety of spices. Then there are a couple of layers of banana slices, and topped with caramel. My. God. I cannot even describe the heavenly deliciousness that is the caramel. The way it's made: three cans (which was actually one can too many) of sweetened condensed milk. You put the cans in a vat of boiling water making sure that the cans are completely covered. Then either simmer or boil (I, erm, don't remember which...) for two hours. This loose milky substance, after two hours in a wonderful bath, turns into this thick, creamy, smooth, caramely caramel! I am not a milk person, and even though I knew it was sweetened I was wary of tasting it for fear of vomming everywhere, but I took a spoon to the silky decadence.....and went to caramel heaven. Holy hell. Even if you are not making this pie, you should make this caramel. Just do it. You can put it on anything -- pie, ice cream, your body. It can't be wrong. Anyway, this caramel tops the bananas, and that is topped with chocolate shavings. Then cream is whipped into submission (I think this might be a Julia Child quote), and then is topped with more chocolate

An incredible Banana Toffee Pie.
shavings. Delicious. Utterly spectacular.This is one of the most amazing pies I have ever eaten. If you come to my bakery I will make it for you. Or, just give me a call and I'll make it for you!

I was not terribly impressed with the gelato. Mom did an excellent job, but I think the recipe was kind of crappy. It did not call for putting the gelato in an ice cream maker (which is what makes the cream so smooth). Mom followed the directions and put the cream in the freezer just like it calls for.
Almond and Toasted Coconut gelato
It turned out crystal-y, and I wasn't terribly impressed by the flavor. Or maybe it was just that I was having a relationship with my pie.It looks pretty and decadent. Next time it will definitely go in the ice cream maker! Only smooth, luscious gelato!

So, thanks mom, for making everything, going out of your comfort zone, and for making delicious treats for us...especially after I said I would do it mom is the best.

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