I have a reputation amongst my family and friends for having a bit of a sweet tooth. It shouldn’t matter to me – but it does. It’s not that it should matter to me- except that it does. I associate sweet toothed people as those who sprinkle sugar on their Weetabix, spoon honey into their tea and who turn their nose up at the thought of cheese for dessert. I’m not in denial- I’m just not that person.
I know where it’s roots lie- the way my eyes light up when I’m presented with a pudding menu, the way I go soft and gushy at the offering of chocolates, my constant baking for therapy, the way I stop to gaze into the windows of bakeries oh and my habit for eating ice cream alone for dinner really throws people a loop. I get it. Most of Don’s friends and colleagues know my cakes before they know me. I had a proposal for marriage last night in a roomful of 1,000 people, by a woman whom I’d never met- all because I sent Don to school with some of my rocky road. Every time I go home my family moan that they’re going to get fat from all my treats.
With those kinds of credentials, this sweet tooth rep is a hard one to brush away (pun intended). And I know that my recipe index alone has a bias for sweet endings but I assure you this is nothing to judge me by. I actually have a surprisingly sensitive sweet tooth- not only is it fussy in it’s selections and mostly disappointed in restaurants but it also hates things that are too sweet. The only things I crave are red meat and cheese. I prefer my chocolate bittersweet, my cream, yogurt and porridge unsweetened and most cookies and cakes I buy make my tongue feel like it’s burning. It’s true that I adore to bake- it’s like therapy with a tasty reward at the end of each session; but, if you’ve tried any of my sugar-laden recipes then you’ll know that most of them don’t taste all that sweet.
Banoffee pie (made correctly) checks all the criteria for my ideal pudding. The salty/sweet mix of digestive biscuits, a light creamy filling sweetened with fruit and a little caramel and topped with a dusting of chocolate. Most of us are familiar with Eton mess, broken meringues mixed with cream and strawberries and this is just a a take off of it and it couldn’t be simpler. It also happens to be perfect for any level of sweet tooth- sweeten the cream and add more caramel if you want, or go with less. Either way its a bowl full of happiness. And it’s perfect for someone like me with semi-sweet tooth (just for the record).
Strawberry banoffee mess
You can mix up the biscuits‘ should give you some sort of indication of what it should look like!, sweeten the cream, use more or less caramel change the fruit. The word ‘mess’ gives you so much artistic liscence.
Serves 2 generously, 4 meagerly
Diet facts: sweet tooth not required
1/2 cup banoffee toffee or dulce de leche or 1 can of condensed milk
125ml/ 1/2 cup double (heavy) cream
225g/ 1 cup greek yogurt (non fat, 2% or full fat are all fine)
1 medium-sized banana
4 large strawberries, hulled and sliced
4 digestive biscuits (or graham crackers, carrs whole wheat biscuits or shortbread)
1/ If you need to make your own toffee sauce, peel away the label on your condensed milk, fully submerge the unopened can in a saucepan of water. Bring to the boil, cover and let simmer very gently for 3 hours- making sure that it remains fully covered for the entire time. After 3 hours, drain and allow to cool before removing the lid. If you have dulce de leche or banoffee tofee go straight to step 2.
2/ Whip the cream to medium peaks. In another bowl, gently beat the yogurt until smooth. Fold together with the cream. Peel the banana and slice (about 1/2 cm/1/4 inch thick). Add to the cream mixture along with the strawberries and break up the digestives in your hands into the mixture. Add 2 tbsp of the toffee and gently fold this all together.
3/ Place 1 Tbsp of toffee sauce into the bottom of 2-4 shallow glasses or bowls. Top with the cream/fruit mixture and finish with an extra drizzle of sauce before serving. You can make these a couple of hours ahead of time and store in the fridge.