Oh my! It’s Banoffee Pie in trifle form! This was one of those desserts that surpassed all expectations! I’d done a fair bit of adapting and mixing recipe components and was a touch nervous that the result wasn’t going to quite gel. But, the first taste revealed it was a complete success and the blending of textures and tastes was absolutely perfect.
I borrowed from two recipes – the caramel custard from Michelle Keogh from her book ‘Trifle: Heavenly Layers‘ (and, may I say, it was the custard in particular that gave this dish the ‘wow’ factor). The butterscotch sauce I borrowed from Delia Smith.com – it’s ultra-rich and ultra-sweet, but it was the perfect complement to the custard and bananas and interestingly, the overall taste of the trifle isn’t overtly sweet. The sauce makes more than you’ll probably need, but you can keep any extra for pouring over ice-cream.
The only tricky component in this dish is making the caramel for the custard. It employs the dry sugar method, which I think is less fussy than the wet sugar method and more effectively ensures a darker caramel without burning. Having said that, you do need to have your wits about you and pull it from the heat the instant it’s ready. And you do need to take it to a deep copper colour if you want that gorgeous smoky caramel flavour – if you pull it off too early you’ll find the resulting caramel is cloyingly sweet. Practice makes perfect and if you’re not used to making caramel, it may take a few tries. And if you have the occasional burned result along the way, the way I see it is: it’s only sugar. Enjoy!
BOOZY BANOFFEE TRIFLE
- 3-4 medium bananas
- 12-24 Savoiardi biscuits (lady fingers), depending on size of serving dish (I used 12)
- 150ml (5 fl oz) liqueur of your choice (such as rum, brandy or Bailey’s Irish Cream, which I used)
- 150g (5 oz) golden syrup
- 50g (2 oz) butter
- 75g (3 oz) soft brown sugar
- 50g (2 oz) golden granulated sugar (or white)
- 150ml (5 fl oz) heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 85g (3 oz) caster sugar (super fine)
- 300ml (10 fl oz) heavy cream
- 300 ml (10 fl oz) milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 60g (2 oz) soft brown sugar
- 1 ½ Tbsp cornflour (corn starch)
- 300ml (10 fl oz) heavy cream
- 50g (2 oz) nuts of your choice (such as pecans, sliced almonds, or honey roasted peanuts, which I used)
- Drizzle of butterscotch sauce
- For the butterscotch sauce: Place the golden syrup, butter and sugars in a small saucepan. Then place over a gentle heat and allow to slowly melt and dissolve, giving it a stir from time to time, which will take 5-7 minutes. Let it continue to cook at a gentle simmer for about 5 minutes, then gradually stir in the double cream and vanilla extract until well combined. Take off heat and let it cool.
- For the caramel custard: Whisk together the egg yolks, egg, brown sugar and cornflour in a large bowl, until the mixture is smooth and well combined and put aside.
- Place the caster sugar into a medium sized heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. As the sugar begins to melt, use a heatproof rubber spatula or a metal spoon to drag it towards the centre of the pan. Continue to do this until all the sugar as melted and begun to colour. Keep cooking, swirling the pan to prevent burning, until the sugar turns a golden reddish-brown and just begins to smoke (about 3-4 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in the cream and milk (if the caramel seizes up, don’t worry – reheating it will melt any hard toffee bits). Place the pan back onto the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is scalding (not quite simmering) and the sugar has completely dissolved. Take off the heat.
- Slowly pour the hot cream mixture onto the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve back into the pan. Return the saucepan to a low heat and gently cook the custard, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon, until it thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Do not boil. Once the custard is cooked, remove it from the heat and pour into a clean, heatproof container (don’t worry if it still looks to be a rather thin custard; it will firm up once chilled). Cover the custard with cling wrap (lay it directly on the surface) and allow the custard to cool completely before using. If not using immediately, refrigerate.
- Assembly:* Dunk the lady finger biscuits into the liqueur, ensuring all sides are covered and place a third to half of them in the trifle dish (depending on shape of dish). I drizzled a little more liqueur over the biscuits when they were in the dish. Peel and slice the bananas into chunks about ¼ inch (5 mm) thick and place over top of the biscuits. Spoon some of the butterscotch sauce over top of the biscuits (how much you use is up to you – given how sweet it is, all up I probably only used half the amount the recipe made). Pour a third to a half of the custard in next. Then layer the remaining lady fingers, some more drizzled butterscotch sauce, and the remaining bananas and custard.
- Cover the bowl with cling film and let the trifle chill in the fridge to firm up, preferably for 8-12 hours so the flavours can amalgamate (I had mine in for 11 hours and it was absolutely perfect – the biscuits had the texture of sponge cake).
- When almost ready to serve, and if you’re using raw nuts, toast them in a dry fry-pan or in the oven, watching them all the time, as they burn easily. Whip the double cream to the soft peak stage (it shouldn’t be stiff), spread it all over the trifle, scatter the toasted nuts on top and serve (or, you can cover in cling wrap and put back in the fridge until ready to serve). You might like to drizzle a little more of the butterscotch sauce over top when you serve it.
*The size and shape of the trifle dish will determine how you split the ingredients during assembly. For instance, for a narrow based dish, you may want to start by adding in a third of the ingredients and then two-thirds for the second layer. Or, if serving in individual dishes, it’s probably best to do one layer.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting