Love Actually - the recipe edition

Sunday, January 31, 2016
I've always told my family that the best Christmas gifts are experiences. Some of my most treasured gifts have been stories, poetry, a handmade recipe book, and lyrics and music for a song. You just can't buy that kind of gift in a store.

In that vein, I was thrilled to receive a Christmas gift from my youngest daughter promising a Love Actually party. We'd watch the movie together, and she'd serve a meal complete with food mentioned in the script. Could anything be more fun than that?

There aren't a lot of food references in the movie - just two (unless you count the lobsters in the Christmas play). First are the chicken kebobs that Liam Neeson's character offered his stepson, when he was too busy practising the drums to eat. My daughter's kebobs were terrific, and hopefully I'll blog about them sometime soon.

The second was the banoffee pie that Keira Knightley offers her husband's best friend in exchange for the wedding video. After he turned it down, she said, "You would've broken my heart if you'd said yes." No spoilers here on whose heart is broken in the movie, but I can tell you my heart would have broken if I'd never tried this spectacular dessert.

For those of you who aren't familiar with banoffee pies (a group which would have included me, before Christmas), they're made of a graham wafer/cookie base, covered with layers of dulce de leche, sliced bananas, and whipped cream. I wondered if it might be overly rich. But my daughter and I found this recipe and collaborated on this wonderful pie, whose richness was cut a little by the squeeze of lemon on the bananas.
Two outermost rows of banana slices, covering the dulce de leche

Ready for the whipped cream!
Oh, and the party? It was amazing! All four of us enjoyed the meal, but Andrew declined the movie with (not so many) regrets. However, as the evening wore on, he joined in, and even admitted by the end that it was "sweet." Just like this delightful banoffee pie.

Banoffee Pie
(inspired by this recipe in the Guardian)

For the base
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

For the filling
7 Tbsp unsalted butter
7 Tbsp brown sugar
14 ounces dulce de leche (homemade or store bought)
½ tsp salt

For the topping
About 20 pecan halves
1 tsp icing sugar
4 ripe bananas
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 cup whipping cream
2 tsp Kahlua

Lightly butter a 9” tart pan with a removable bottom.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter. Chop the pecans coarsely, either with a knife or in a food processor, and add them to the graham cracker mixture. Press the mixture into the tart pan to line the base and sides. Chill.

Melt the butter and sugar over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the dulce de leche and the salt and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until smooth. Pour over the pie crust and chill for an hour or more.

To prepare the pecans, preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put pecans in a bowl and sprinkle with the icing sugar, then spread on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, shaking occasionally. Let them cool before using them. (The pie can be made up to this point up to 48 hours in advance.)

Thinly slice the bananas and toss with the lemon juice. Arrange on top of the cooled caramel in overlapping circles.

Whip the cream into soft peaks, and stir in the Kahlua. Spread on top of the bananas. Arrange the candied pecans on top and serve.

(Note: If you wanted the dessert a little sweeter, you could add a touch of sugar to the whipping cream.)


This has nothing to do with banoffee pies, but I couldn't let a Love Actually post go by without one more quote:

Jamie: (in English) It's my favourite time of day, driving you.
Aurelia: (in Portuguese) It's the saddest part of my day, leaving you.


Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Hi beth, I have heard of the banoffee pie, looks delicious, love dulce de leche. Sounds like your daughter is a real treasure.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I've never heard of this kind of pie but it sounds delicious. Your daughter is so sweet. What a great present!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

A banoffee pie is new to me but boy does it sound delicious.

Velva said...

What a great gift! Love it.


Julie said...

What a wonderful gift! One to truly cherish!

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Such a lovely, thoughtful gift! You've raised such terrific girls. I've never eaten this pie---but now I need to find an excuse to make one :)

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

How lovely! Well, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree as they say...

grace said...

i love that movie! pretty fond of banoffee pie too. i've never made a satisfactory one myself, but i've eaten many a delicious slice. :)

Angie's Recipes said...

I too adore Banoffee pie!! Your turned out so beautiful and inviting, Beth.

Gloria Baker said...

I love Banoffee pie !! Look delicious !!

DMS said...

I have seen the movie and enjoyed it. I have never had that kind of pie- but it does sound tasty. I love that you had a movie/food theme going! So fun!

Monica said...

You and your daughters are amazing! This gift from your youngest daughter put such a smile on my face. It's beyond a special idea and I can't think of a more fun way to spend time together. The movie sounds great and the food even gift ever! :)

Tricia Buice said...

We are a movie family and have a hard time not quoting at least one at every gathering. Such fun! Love banoffee pie! Yours is gorgeous.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Add me to the group that doesn't know banoffee pie. Well, now I do know about it, so I have no excuse not to make it I guess. :-) This does look terrific -- thanks.

Katerina said...

I agree with you experiences are one of the most important things in life! Your banoffee tart looks so decadent and delicious!

Bonnie said...

Beth, it sounds like a wonderful evening. And, the pie...oh my!

Claudia said...

My family watches that movie yearly and I have always wondered about that pie. (At least you didn't use the appetizers served at the wedding that were supposedly terrible.) I have filed this away. Although I don't know that I can wait until next December when we watch the movie to try it!

Beth said...

Claudia, I forgot about those appetizers! You're right - I think we were much better off with our chicken kebabs and banoffee pie.

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Beth, truly a gift to cherish and truly a wonderful recipe to keep in mind!
Loved that post of yours, recipe and story and pictures and all!
All the best!

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