Last friday, we held one of our infamous pudding parties. These nights are always such a big hit among our group of friends, and this time we enforced a 'no pudding, no entry' policy - it made for a huge variety of dessert goodness but also more leftovers than we could have guessed. Who'd of though that no-one can polish off the equivalent of a whole pecan pie to themselves?!!
Our selection this year included eton mess (amazing!!), banana bread, various pies, brownies, some indescribable pudding made of sponge, baileys and chocolate (dessert of the night!) and Benedict's Gin and tonic jelly, that had so much gin it blew you away - good in theory, execution needed improving.
So to the point of the post: pudding goodness.
Here are two very simple recipes for two of my favourites: pecan pie and banoffee pie. The pecan pie recipe in particular has been through a lot of tweaking in recent months, i think i've finally got it just right. The original recipe can be found here.The Banoffee is just so simple, it barely requires any thinking, and no baking (what a plus!)
Chocolate Pecan Pie
80g of chocolate (40g milk, 40g dark). Broken into tiny pieces.
You could use all dark, but it's too bitter for my tastes.
45g unsalted butter.
160g granulated sugar.
230 ml golden syrup.
3 whole eggs.
1.5 tsp of vanilla extract
180g pecans, chopped. Leave a few pecan halves for decoration.
I must confess, i am normally pretty lazy when it comes to this recipe and use pre-made pastry. (a life saver when you don't have the time to spare to be fiddling around with dough!). Sainsbury's fresh shortcrust pastry is the best and biggest sheet for your money, with Jus-roll a close second (though i find the sheets a little too sticky and square for this recipe).
1. Two hours or so before you're ready to make the pie, line a pie tin with the ready made pastry sheet, cutting off excess. Prick base several times with a fork, and leave in the fridge to chill until you are ready to make the filling.
See how easy that step was?! ;)
2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heat proof bowl over boiling water, until a smooth runny texture. Stir continuously to stop the chocolate from burning. Set mixture aside to cool.
3. In a separate saucepan, combine the sugar, golden syrup and bring to the boil. Again stir continuously until thin in texture, and all lumps of sugar have melted. Set aside to cool.
4. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, then combine with the cooled chocolate mixture. And continue to beat in the golden syrup mixture, until thoroughly combined and think in texture. Add in the chopped pecans (be careful when chopping, i sliced open a thumb - not fun!) and vanilla essence.
5. At this point i filled the pie crust with filling and left the whole thing in the fridge to cool. You could alternatively, cool the mix before pouring it in the base, but either way should work fine.
6. Bake the pie for 20 mins, at 210'C. At 20 mins, lower temperature to 180'C and bake until the crust is golden and the filling is firm when prodded.
If, like me, this process has made you hungry take this opportunity to make yourself some lunch. Heres mine:
7. When baked, take your pie out of the oven and enjoy. Amazing, with creme fraiche (especially for breakfast :) or vanilla ice cream.
Digestive biscuits, crushed.
A knob of butter.
1 can of condensed milk.
2/3 Bananas (the riper the better), sliced into circles.
250ml of double/whipping cream.
1. Melt knob of butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add crushed digestive biscuits and stir together, until a crumbly paste has formed.
2. When combined, pour into a pie dish to form a biscuit base. Put pressure on the mixture with the back of a large wooden spoon, until the base is very firm and evenly spread. Chill in the fridge for a minimum of two hours.
3. Put the can of condensed milk in a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the can is completely covered and boil for 3.5 hours, regularly topping up the saucepan with water. Do not let the water line fall below the can. This isn't as mundane as it sounds, just check every half hour.
Alternatively, you could miss out this stage by buying a can of prepared caramel. However i am a firm believer that the taste is nowhere near as good as the condensed milk - for me, its worth the extra effort.
4. When ready, pour your new caramel into the pie base and spread evenly with a knife.
5. Cover caramel layer evenly with banana pieces.
6. Whip cream in large bowl and generously spread over the banana layer of the pie. The more cream, the better.
7. Finally, grate chocolate on top of the pie, and if to your taste sprinkle coffee granules.