Desserts

Banoffee Pie Parfaits

The turkey has been served. Siblings came back from college in waves; facial piercings dangling, quoting Althusser and complaining about dining hall scrambled eggs. Grandma can’t get over how old everyone looks, and also wants to know who’s engaged yet. Our belts have been thrown into the closet, not to be seen again for several months.¬†It’s officially *that* time of year. Which means all the holiday movies are about to take over our lives. ARE YOU READY? I’m not, really.

Except in the case of one.¬†Love Actually.¬†If you haven’t seen it, you better get yourself a copy or rent it on demand or illegally download it or obtain the movie however you watch movies now, because this is¬†what you should do tonight. It’s one of those¬†movies that focuses around 107890 different storylines so you don’t get too bored/can get up for more pie or eggnog without worrying about missing much.¬†And Love Actually Day (five weeks before Christmas) was officially last Friday, so we’re a little late but that’s okay.

The point of those sentences is the first time I ever heard of Banoffee pie was in Love Actually. Kiera Knightly tries to win¬†Andrew Lincoln’s (who, incidentally, you probably know as that guy from The Walking Dead) friendship with banoffee pie. How freakin’ cute, amirite? I immediately looked up what the heck banoffee pie was, and got very very excited. It’s basically banana cream pie with dulce de leche. How had I not heard of this?!

There is, however, one HUGE error with this¬†otherwise flawlessly written rom-com-feel-good-“Holiday” scene: Kiera says she has terrible taste in pie.¬†Referring to the banoffee pie. What what what are you doing.¬†I made up my mind right then and there to make this pie asap and then promptly forgot until the next time I watched the movie about a year later and yelled at myself for my not having made it yet. And then forgot again. Fast forward to a few weeks ago¬†when¬†I was looking through my favorite vegan blog‘s archives instead of doing adulty things¬†and I saw a recipe for the pie. And then I was at my friend’s house and she reminded me that Love Actually Day was a week away.¬†It was fate. Spoilers: banoffee pie is fucking incredible and even if you don’t like bananas you will like this pie IT’S THAT GOOD.

Most recipes for this pie have a¬†nut-infused p√Ęte bris√©e pie crust or crumbled cookie crust, but you can make whatever your heart desires. *I* think the best possible choice is a¬†digestive biscuit crust. Digestive biscuits¬†were v hip and trendy for like a week on the food websites in 2014, but I think they deserve more than 15 minutes of fame. They’re so much more than something to bring out when having a British-theme night¬†or looking for a cookie made with whole wheat flour as an excuse to eat an entire sleeve-ful. They’re also not super sweet, which balances out the very sweet bananas and toffee.

ALSO: do you like to read other things on the internet? You should check out my beautiful friend Kelsey’s blog, Kelsey at the Movies. Kelsey’s a fantastically talented writer and a film scholarship grad student at NYU. Read her stuff!

ALSO ALSO: We’re getting close to my *200th* recipe post up in here! Any requests for what I should make will be appreciated~

Banoffee Pie Parfaits

20 digestive biscuits
5 tablespoons coconut oil, soft but not melted
pinch of salt

2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 bananas

1 cup whipping cream (or 1 batch coconut whipped cream with sweetener left out if you prefer)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)

Make the crust: Butter or oil any kind of¬†pie pan¬†and set aside.¬†It 100% doesn’t matter what you use here, as you will be destroying said crust upon its completion. Place biscuits and salt in a large food processor and pulse until you have fine, flour-like crumbs. Add the coconut oil and pulse until combined. Press into prepared pan and freeze for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, then bake crust for 8-10 minutes. Let cool¬†completely.

Make the filling:¬† Simmer the sweetened condensed milk in a medium¬†heavy bottomed¬†saucepan over medium heat until very thick and golden brown, stirring VERY frequently (about 25 minutes.) Do NOT walk away, as there is a strong possibility the milk will begin to burn on the bottom of the pan. If this does begin to happen and the burnt bits are only brown, you’re okay; you’ll just want to pass the milk through a fine mesh sieve when it’s done cooking. If this doesn’t happen, take pride in the fact that you’re better at cooking/have a superior stove than I. Remove from heat, transferring to a heatsafe glass bowl, and stir in the rum and vanilla extract. Let cool completely, then transfer to a jar.

Put it all together: locate four or five glass jars or parfait/sundae glasses. Whip cream, syrup, and vanilla together until peaks form. Remove crust from tart pan and crumble it up completely. Slice bananas thinly. Spoon a thick layer of crust crumbles into the jars, then a layer of toffee, then a layer of bananas. Repeat until you’v filled the jars or used up all your ingredients. Dollop a final smear of whipped cream over the bananas, then top with a sprinkle of crust. Consume immediately if you so choose, but the flavors combine fantastically after sitting in the fridge for a few hours. Dessert will last for a few days in the fridge.

 

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Drinks

174

Tahini Date Shake (V, GF)

If you didn’t already know, I’m a big tahini fan. It’s basically¬†grownup peanut butter and it just adds something a little more special¬†to recipes that call for nut butters. Now, I’m not quite ready to whip up any tahini and jelly sandwiches, but I’m very into adding spoonfuls of it to cookie dough, dressing, hot chocolate, and smoothies/shakes! Since it’s now officially summer, I think it’s high time to spend any free moments sitting outside and drinking cold drinks. And that often means cool and creamy tahini shakes. Basically a milkshake for breakfast everybody, get excited! I’ve made a pact with myself to take¬†fifteen minutes every morning to drink one of these (or these) and read a few pages of very important literature¬†and not think about anything else. And then those precious minutes are over and it’s back to writing cover letters and freelance article pitches and crying being excited by the challenge of not knowing what’s ahead.

In other news, Emily and I are currently up to our ears in blue¬†frosting and chocolate chili cupcakes because we got a catering gig! And I must admit, getting paid to chop cilantro and whip buttercream and marinate shrimp is not at all a bad thing. In fact, it kinda really rocks. So general announcement, if you ever are in the market for someone else to make your food for you, drop me a line here because we’re a bargain and the food is slammin, if I do say so myself. And now for some links that made me smile:

A breakfast sandwich crawl sounds like my kind of adventure.

Goals

Food52 featured my Minty Orange Gimlet in a cocktail roundup to toast summer hooraaaay~

Co-owner of Tartine Chad Robertson’s ideas for the future: eco-robotic bread baking. ‚ÄúYou can source your grain from a regional economy, you can fresh-mill it, and you can bake 20,000 loaves using robots.‚ÄĚ yes ok.

The other owner of Tartine (incidentally, Robertson’s wife) Liz Prueitt has some pretty fucking fantastic things to say about women who want to work and have a family and not be questioned about how they “do it all.” She does not mention robots.

I can’t stop watching this video idk idk idk.

O’Neill’s rant about red velvet cake on OITNB was probably the funniest thing that’s ever happened on the show.

Someone buy me tickets to the Saveur cookout for my birthday even though my birthday isn’t for five months plz?

ps- Happy Father’s Day to any dads out there! So glad mine was happy to take me back in after graduation (although I have a sneaking suspicion it’s mostly because I make dinner every night…)

Shake (serves 1)

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup date water)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon tahini
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pitted deglet noor dates
1/2 frozen banana
ice
1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional, for added energy boost)
1 shot rum or kahlua (also optional, you might not want to have it for breakfast with this addition) 

Soak the dates in hot water for ten minutes and chia seeds in warm water for five. Combine everything in a blender and really let it rip for a while to break up the dates (unless you’re super lucky and own a Vitamix, in which case the whole thing will take about 20 seconds.) Consume solo or with your favorite breakfast cookies (pictured: Laura Wright‘s Ultimate Breakfast Cookies!)


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Breakfasts, Drinks

151

Energizer Smoothie II [veggie edition]
(V, GF)

 

I used to hate to exercise. I’ve always been the person who picked the couch over the treadmill (and with fairly good reason, treadmills kinda suck); I was not a member of any sports teams following the age of nine, after an unfortunate season with the¬†town softball league. Throughout high school and most of college I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the gym: I tried cardio kickboxing, the elliptical machine, the rowing machine, Pilates, “boot camp”, even a treacherous yoga endeavor where I managed to accidentally give myself some kind of semi-serious wrist injury that still hurts four years later. Each of these activities ended somehow: I was¬†bored with staring at red numbers on a screen, it got too cold to walk to the gym, the list goes on.

Something changed this past summer. There was a consistent gnawing in the pit of my stomach. Something that made me feel wobbly and frustrated and disorganized. I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with this feeling and they combat it in various ways. I’ve heard driving can really help, but I while I do technically possess a driver’s license, I’m not what one would call “experienced” behind the wheel. I think the last time I parallel parked was my driving exam; I have yet to drive on a highway outside of rural Vermont. This is a long way of saying that this summer I started running. It was probably one of the best¬†things I’ve done in a while, amid a whole host of unhealthy choices I pretty much consistently make. In all honesty, running is hard.¬†Usually I forget how recently I’ve eaten and start the first ten minutes or so of the run with weird stomach cramps. I definitely broke my toe at one point in July (I honestly don’t know how, I should really wear shoes in my house) and didn’t realize, then ran on it for a while. But other than these tiny issues, running actually feels great. Maybe it’s the wind on my face or the music or the control I feel while speeding (a relative term) down the street.

On Thanksgiving morning¬†I ran an 8K (because apparently runners live in Canada and still use metric?) and I finished the race. It wasn’t about seeing how fast I could go, or to get a big “congratulations!!!” from anyone who heard what I’d done that morning. It was just a thing I did. To see if I could do it. It was exhilarating, and in that moment jumping over the finish line I felt really happy. A huge part of my world kind of crumbled after that day, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about feeling good from a healthy activity. Feeling good from something I do 100% for and with myself, which is actually a tall goddamn order. Can you count more than five things you do for and with yourself that are completely productive? I’m not sure I can. Regardless, every time I finish a run, I kick off my shoes, peel off the six shirts I have to wear to be outside without risking hypothermia -New England in December, anyone?- and make this green smoothie. Whether you’re a runner or a Netflix-watcher or a math major, I guarentee it will make your brain feel good. But¬†if you’re really not into green things, try my first energizer bunny smoothie¬†.

Smoothie (serves 1)

3/4 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or whatever milk you like)

1/4 c pineapple coconut water (I use this)

1 medium frozen banana

1/2 c frozen chopped spinach or 3 spinach ice cubes*

2 tsp date cream, agave syrup, maple syrup, or honey

1/2 tsp ground ginger

If using a normal blender, treat it gently by first blending milk, coconut water, and banana until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and liquify. If you have a Vitamix or Magic Bullet (lucky you) just throw everything in all at once!

* How to make spinach ice cubes: wash a large container of fresh spinach, roughly chop, then place in a blender and liquify. Pour mixture into ice cube trays and freeze completely. Store in a freezer bag pretty much indefinitely.

 

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Breakfasts, Drinks, Snacks

139

Energizer Bunny Smoothie (V, GF)

This is a drink for those days that seem to go on forever. Y’know, those days where you have six hours of¬†class and three hours of work and 80 pages of reading? Yeah, this is a drink for those days. Everything in here is packed full of serious nutrients that keep your body alert and satisfied. Down one of these at noon and I can assure you you’ll be ready to go. You no longer have to worry about those¬†incredibly elegant 3pm stomach¬†grumbles that always seem to happen when the entire class is quiet. Also it’s probably the prettiest color I’ve ever seen. To fully convince you of this smoothie’s real potential, here’s the breakdown:

Almond milk: fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, manganese, zinc, potassium, iron, phosphorus, tryptophan, copper, and calcium (BAM)

Blueberries: vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, low glycemic load, antioxidants, fucking beautiful color

Banana: vitamin B6, soluble fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and potassium

Coconut oil: medium chain triglycerides (aka *good* fats), vitamin E, vitamin K, and iron

Flaxseed: protein, dietary fiber, omega-3, vitamin B1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, vitamin C

Honey: obviously a sweetener, but does actually contain several compounds than can function as antioxidants including vitamin C, B2,3, 5, and 6! That’s sure better than Splenda, amirite?

Dates: calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K.

Smoothie (serves 1-2)

1 1/2+ c unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 frozen banana

1/2 c frozen blueberries

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp ground flaxseed

1-2 tsp honey OR 2 pitted medjool dates, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes

banana chip (optional)

Place banana and almond milk in blender and blend well. Add remainder of ingredients and blend until well combined, pausing to stir and add more almond milk if the blender gets stuck! Garnish with a banana chip and feel incredibly heathy for the rest of the day!

 

 

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