Change is good. Change is great. Humans need change in order to evolve and grow. But there are exceptions to that rule, as the chefs at Fratelli Fresh’s Café Sopra (now closed) will attest to.
The Banoffee Pie, a layered combination of buttery crushed biscuits, toffee-coloured sweetened condensed milk caramel, sliced banana, whipped fresh cream and shaved chocolate held a place on the menu at Café Sopra for over a decade, even though the dish “doesn’t have a lot to do with Italy,” as Barry McDonald, owner of Fratelli Fresh admits.
“When we first opened, it was a favourite of one of our chefs,” says McDonald. “It soon became a customer favourite and whenever we take it off our menu we get loud protests from our customers, so it’s been a staple on the dessert menu for 10 years now.”
Without further ado - the recipe for Café Sopra’s Banoffee pie:
2 x 395g cans of sweetened condensed milk
180g unsalted butter, chopped
375g digestive biscuits, halved
600ml thickened cream
2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped out
75g icing sugar, sifted
30g dark chocolate, finely grated
Place cans of condensed milk in a large saucepan of water and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 hours, adding water if necessary to ensure cans remain covered, remove cans and cool in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Meanwhile melt butter in a small saucepan, and then cool slightly. Using a food processor, crush biscuits to fine crumbs, add the butter and process briefly to combine. Press crumb mixture over the base of a greased 28cm loose based tin then refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm the base.
Open cooled cans of condensed milk and spoon caramel evenly over the biscuit base and refrigerate overnight to firm.
To assemble pie: Using an electric mixer whisk cream, vanilla bean seeds and sugar to stiff peaks. Cut bananas into thin slices. Remove pie from tin, loosen base and place on a plate. Spoon or pipe half the whipped cream over the caramel filling, then place bananas in an overlapping circle working from the outside in. Top with the remaining cream and sprinkle with grated chocolate.
Cut into slices with a hot dry knife and serve immediately.
Tip: To stop noise of cans rattling in the saucepan, place a folded tea towel in the base before adding the water.