Ah, Edinburgh. Suddenly it was winter, although the calendar claimed to be August. Lies. I wore a coat and scarf. Boots every day.One pub night in Montpellier, Georgia and I randomly decided that we were going to go to Fringe for a week in August. I think my flight was seven pounds. (Why don't we have Ryanair-or something similar- in the States? It boggles the mind.)
My strongest memory of Edinburgh is the night we arrived. Georgia and I were little bundles of excitement. We went to the pub where Georgia's friend Floss was working, so we could pick up her keys to drop our luggage off. A man came out of the pub, saw us outside with our cases and handed us £10.
"Welcome to Edinburgh! Enjoy your time in my beautiful city."
We tried to give it back to him, saying we couldn't take it, but he waved us off, and disappeared back into the pub with a smile.
And what a magnificent city it is. I am sure I didn't see the "real" Edinburgh, as it is an entirely different place the other eleven months of the year, but I got a wonderful taste. I also was lucky enough to be staying with Floss, who lives there year round and brought us to plenty of fantastic places off the festival track.
The morning after we arrived, Georgia and I set out to see some shows, but decided to get lunch first. We found a great deal- lunch for £10 a piece, with a free beer thrown in too! For dessert, we each had a slice of Banoffee pie. I'd heard of it, but barely. Georgia, who's English, and therefore familiar with how incredible it is, urged me to try it and...sigh. Banoffee pie.
The version I made the other night was absolute perfection. It came from BBC Food, and I wouldn't change a damn thing.
It is almost entirely sugar and butter, so not exactly something I'd recommend making on the regular, but next time you're going to a party and need to bring a dessert, give this a go. It takes under an hour, no baking is required (although you do make two kinds of caramel) and everybody will go crazy for it.
100g/31/2 oz. butter
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
100g/31/2 oz. caster sugar
150g/5 oz. English digestive biscuits (you can find these in a number of import or gourmet markets, Whole Foods, or sometimes just your local grocery store. Or you can substitute Graham crackers, but try for the digestives! They're great!)
230g/8 oz. pecans
75g/3 oz butter, melted
3 large bananas, chopped
250 ml/101/2oz. double cream, whipped until relatively stiff (again, you can find double cream at gourmet or import stores- I got mine at Whole Foods- and it really is different from our heavy whipping cream, so if you can, use it!)
Cocoa Powder, for dusting
125g/4 oz. butter
124g/4 oz. light brown sugar
125ml/4 fl oz coconut milk
PreparationCrush together your digestives and half of your pecans. Pour over melted butter and pack into a pie dish. This will be your crust.
Make your filling: in a large, preferably nonstick pan, melt your butter and sugar over low heat. Once melted, add your condensed milk and stir constantly, slowly bringing to a boil. Eventually, after boiling, the mixture will thicken, be a light golden and will smell sweet. Remove from heat, taste to make sure, and let cool slightly.
Stir your bananas into the caramel and pour into your crust.
Cover and refrigerate for about a half an hour.
Meanwhile, make your caramel sauce. Pour your coconut milk, butter and brown sugar into a small, heavy bottomed pan, and stir constantly over medium heat. It will come to a boil, keep stirring for a couple minutes, until it is slightly thick (but still saucy) and a beautiful caramel. Never stop stirring, and be sure the heat isn't too high. Caramel can turn on a dime. The coconut milk is great- lovely touch, BBC. When it's just right, remove from heat. Set aside.
Remove your pie from the fridge. Spread your whipped double cream over, then cover with remaining pecans (or to taste.) Dust with some cocoa powder, if you'd like. You can either pour the sauce all over (I did) or keep on the side and pour over individual slices.
Enjoy every bite....