By Rachel Sircy
St. Patrick’s Day will soon be upon us and to tell the truth, there has only been one time in my adult (or really, semi-adult) life that I have celebrated this holiday. I was lucky enough to spend my sophomore year of college studying abroad in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was there that I found out that Lucky Charms is a purely American novelty (no big surprise there, but sometimes you don’t realize the obvious until you’re faced with it) as is the whole idea of Irish Cream. I tried to explain what Irish Cream flavoring was to my friend Debbie, who is a native Northern Irish woman, and she just looked puzzled and said, “I don’t get it. What makes cream Irish in the first place?” I said that I think it was supposed to taste like Bailey’s, but she said, “Why not just call it Bailey’s Cream?” Good question, Debs.
Anyway, my family isn’t Catholic, so to me St. Patrick’s Day has always been just a hokey day when people drink shamrock milkshakes from McDonald’s and dye beer green. Last year, my mother-in-law made corned beef and cabbage. It was the first time that anyone in our family circle had eaten corned beef and cabbage (which, believe it or not, is also an American novelty, not an Irish staple). Many people may enjoy this dish, but no one in our family has clamored for any since last St. Patrick’s Day.
Here’s my point in writing all of this: this St. Patrick’s Day, you could make gluten free cupcakes with gluten free buttercream frosting colored green by food coloring, and you could make corned beef and cabbage (I wouldn’t advise it, though).
However, if you choose to make those things, you probably won’t get the chance to make Banoffee pie. Banoffee pie is what I used to get as dessert whenever my friends and I went to this little pub in Belfast for Sunday lunch that year that I studied abroad. It’s a pie with a cookie crumb crust and thick caramel (or toffee) covered with sliced bananas and whipped cream. It is delicious, and it takes me back to Sunday afternoons in that little pub in Belfast. Unfortunately, after all that bad-mouthing I just did about American St. Patrick’s Day rituals, I have to admit, that the recipe that I’ll be sharing is something that I adapted from an American blog, saltandbaker.com. I seriously tried to make this as authentic as possible. I even pulled up a great gluten-free recipe for Banoffee Pie from Tesco, the grocery store chain I used to shop at when I was in Belfast. However, when I looked at the recipe, I remembered that I would have to convert all the measurements and oven temperatures from the metric system to (ironically) the English system that we use here in America. Also, I have no idea what “gluten free oat cakes” are. Anyway, here’s the recipe that I adapted from saltandbaker.com:
For the Crust:
- 1 1/2 cups crushed GF graham cracker crumbs (Schar is my favorite brand of GF graham crackers)
- 6 TBS unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 TBS granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
For the Filling:
- 1/2 c. butter
- 1/2 c. dark brown sugar
- 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 3 bananas sliced
- 1 1/2 c. heavy cream
- 2 TBS powdered sugar
- Chocolate shavings or cocoa powder for the topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place oven rack in middle of the oven.
- In a medium sized bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and cinnamon
- Spread crumbs in a 9-inch pie pan or tart dish. Press the crumbs evenly up the sides of the pan and along bottom of the dish. Bake crust for 7-8 minutes.
- To make filling: combine butter and brown sugar in a saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until melted. Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir continuously. Bring to a boil and boil for 3-4 minutes or until the mixture darkens in color and thickens. Remove from heat and pour over the crust.
- Chill the crust and toffee for 2 hours until firm.
- Whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.
- Place the sliced bananas over the cooled toffee and spread the cream over the bananas. Top with chocolate shavings or cocoa powder.
- Store pie in fridge, it will keep 2-3 days.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Enjoy!