APPLE BANANAS rock!! It's impossible to munch one of those tiny, yellow, sweet, tangy, custardy little fruity fingers without emitting a meaningful 'mmmmmmm'.
I just know I looked like the cat who swallowed the canary yesterday morning as I continued to browse the stalls at the Keauhou Farmers Market swinging the slightly hefty bag of apple bananas that I got for a song.
The Big Island kicks the concept of farm-to-table to giddy levels of tropical deliciousness and with that market bag of goodies, I was armed and dangerous to make a dessert for tonight's special little dinner gathering that spoke sweetly of the local bounty.
At first I toyed with the idea of Banana Cream Pie, but then one thing lead to another and Eureka! I had it - Banoffee it would be. Oh yesssss!
Whether you call it cajeta or dulce de leche, when you smear that ooey, gooey, rich, caramely toffee on top of a butter- crunchy graham crust and crown the whole damn thing with Kona coffee scented, apple banana laden whipped cream and a generous, toss of tiny curls of milk chocolate you've got - Ta da! - Banoffee.
I had you at ooey gooey didn't I?
HOLUALOA BANOFFEE PIE
Lots of those cute little apple bananas with the smooth pinkish hued flesh grow upslope here in Holualoa, close to our happy vacation cottage. Lots of Kona Coffee too. We love Holualoa!
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
(you only need 1 1/2 cans ~ use leftovers to spread on pancakes, waffles or crepes - yummy!)
1 1/2 cups graham crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon very, very finely ground Kona coffee
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
8 small apple bananas or 3 regular bananas
1-2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice
1 - 2 ounces good quality milk chocolate (I used a 5-singles Dove bar), grated
Remove labels from cans of sweetened condensed milk and place unopened cans in deep pot. Fill with water 1-2 inches over top of cans. Place over high heat. Bring to boil. Reduce heat so that water boils gently. Cook cans 2 1/2 hours, replacing water as needed so that the cans are always completely covered with simmering water. (Maybe even a good idea to put your timer on every 35-45 minutes, so you can remind yourself to add water, because if these boil dry, there will be a stupendous, hot caramel explosion!) (Way back in about the summer of 1977, I can't even remember who's bright idea (Cliff? Mark? Roz?) it was to go out and play a few rounds of badminton while we waited for our caramel to be ready!!)
Remove cans from water. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Can be made ahead as 'caramel' will store well in unopened cans.
Preheat oven to 350F. Put graham crumbs in 9 1/2 inch springform pan and add melted butter. Mix to combine and press to form bottom crust and at least 1 inch up the sides of pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Open cans of caramelized sweetened condensed milk and scoop about 1 1/2 cans of the gooey 'toffee' evenly over the graham crust. Chill.
In a large bowl whip cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar, Kona coffee and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form. Slice 5 apple bananas, or 2 regular bananas and fold banana slices into the whipped cream. Scoop banana laden whipped cream onto toffee layer in crust. Chill
Slice 3 remaining apple bananas or 1 regular banana and gently toss with lime or lemon juice to prevent discolouration. Place banana slices randomly on top of whipped cream layer and toss with a generous sprinkling of grated milk chocolate. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight. Slice into small-ish wedges (that toffee is scrumptiously rich) and serve.