This week, The Co-operative challenged me to use Fairtrade products to create a classic dish in celebration of Fairtrade fortnight (23rd Feb-8th Mar 2015).
The Co-op was the first major retailer to champion Fairtrade, which guarantees a better deal for producers and workers in developing countries. They stock a range of Fairtrade products in all their stores, as well as a number of projects that have gone Beyond Fairtrade, providing extra support to producers to help improve their livelihoods further.
Spotting sugar, bananas and chocolate on The Co-op’s list of Fairtrade products meant just one thing to a sweet-toothed girl like me: sweet and fresh banoffee pie, generously topped with whipped cream!
Here’s how to make my easy banoffee pie, which avoids the pain of boiling a can of condensed milk for several hours with a quicker method that gives a fudgy, thick caramel.
For the base:
- 200g digestive biscuits
- 75g slightly salted butter
For the filling:
- 100g slightly salted butter
- 100g Fairtrade demerara sugar
- 1 tin (approx 400g) of condensed milk
- 3 medium Fairtrade bananas
For the topping:
- 400ml whipping cream
- 1 square of Fairtrade dark chocolate
- Whizz the biscuit in a food processor until you have an even crumb, then melt the butter, add to the biscuit crumb and pulse briefly to combine. Line a loose bottom sandwich tin with clingfilm (not essential, but helps avoid it sticking and refusing to come out later) and then tip the biscuit mix into it. Press the biscuit mix into the bottom and up the sides to create a case, then cover loosely with a little more clingfilm and chill for at least hour or overnight to get it nice and firm. It’s crucial that your biscuit is cold enough to hold it’s shape.
- Carefully release the pie from the tin by standing it on a large can so that the sides drop away. Now gently slide the case onto a plate – you can use a spatula to help. (Or wait until the last step after the filling, if preferred, but I suspect it’s easier to transfer the case to a plate before it’s full)
- To make the caramel, put the butter and sugar in a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat, stirring often until the sugar has mostly dissolved into the butter. Pour the condensed milk into the pan and stir until it thickens and all the sugar grains have gone. Do not leave it during this process or it will burn. When it’s thick enough to hold a little shape as it’s stirred, it’s ready. Carefully tip into a bowl to cool completely – be careful, it will be very hot.
- To assemble, unwrap the case, pour in the cold caramel and level off. Cut the banana into 1cm thick slices and place on top of the caramel in a single layer. Whip the cream into soft peaks and layer up on top of the banana generously – you might not need it all. Grate the chocolate on top to give an even covering.
- It’s ready to eat. Keep it chilled – it won’t last long!
There are plenty of ways you can support a fairer deal for food producers all over the developing world. Check out the Co-op’s Fairtrade hub for more information.
This is a commissioned post for The Co-operative