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Banoffee pie

Makes 1 pie or enough to serve 10

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
20 McVities Chocolate Hobnobs (or substitute plain Hobnobs or chocolate or plain digestive biscuits, or even graham crackers), crushed to make 1 1/3 cups crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 bananas
1 pint heavy cream
Chocolate syrup for garnish (optional)
1. Caramelize the sweetened condensed milk by using one of several methods. You can immerse the unopened can in a saucepan of boiling water for 3 hours. Keep an eye on the pan and make sure the can is always covered with water, adding water as necessary. (Do not leave the kitchen.) For the microwave method, pour the sweetened condensed milk into a 2-quart glass bowl and cook on 50 percent (medium) power for 4 minutes, stirring briskly every 2 minutes until smooth. Cook on 30 percent (medium-low) for 12 to 18 minutes or until very thick and caramel-colored, stirring briskly every 2 minutes until smooth. On the stovetop, pour the sweetened condensed milk into the top of a double boiler; place over boiling water. Simmer over low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until thick and caramel colored. Beat until smooth. Check the water in the bottom of the double boiler to make sure the pan is not dry.

2. Have on hand a 9-inch pie pan.

3. In a bowl, combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter. Use a spoon to blend well. Press mixture into the pie pan; refrigerate until ready to use.

4. If you've caramelized the sweetened condensed milk in the can, let it cool to room temperature. Open the can carefully. If the caramelized sweetened condensed milk is too thick to pour into the crust, beat it until it is smooth. Whatever method you've used to caramelize, pour the caramelized sweetened condensed milk into the chilled crust.

5. Slice the bananas and arrange them on top of the caramel layer. Whip the cream and top the pie with it. Drizzle with chocolate syrup, if you like.

Jane Dornbusch

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