They said certain scents can trigger your memory.
You link it to a person, a thing or a moment. Your brain connects a link between the smell and a memory; associating the smell of roasted chestnuts with Christmas or rubbing alcohol of hospitals. The smell is imbedded in you. When you encounter the smell again, it is ready to evoke a memory or a mood. Food works the same for me. Familiar food that I grow up with gives me comfort. Banana bread reminds me of my mom. Chicken macaroni salad reminds me of childhood friendship and snapping wishbones. However, there is some food that I refuse to even look at. Like the squid dish my dad used to cook all the time after my mom passed away.
Food is essential to life therefore make it good.
When I was in the Philippines taking care of my brother, cake and pie became my escape. They took me to a place where there was no illness, no hospital smell, no IV fluid, no lab tests, no dying brother. It was just me and my cake or pie or both. It became my happy place. I had the ultimate, indulgent Devil’s Food Cake from The Chocolate Kiss; the luscious Almond Choco Sansrival and insatiable Mango Bravo from Conti’s; the sumptuous Mango Bene and highly enjoyable Chocolate Mousse of Mary Grace. When I look back now and remember the cakes I had, it makes me feel grateful that I am home. Because for every bite I took, I thought about my husband and how much he would have loved it too.
One of the desserts I enjoyed the most was the Banoffee Pie.
Banoffee Pie and I became best buds. It soothed me; it brought back good memories of my childhood when one of the mothers would make us Banana Cream Pie which is the cousin of Banoffee Pie. Banoffee pie is a dessert pie made from bananas, cream and toffee (made from boiled condensed milk, or dulce de leche) on a graham crust pie. I would get my fix of this dessert pie from Banapple or the mini pie version from Starbucks. It was scrumptious. I enjoyed all the layers of this pie from the crust to the chocolate shavings on top. I didn’t shy away from the thick layer of whipped cream. No sir I did not! I took pleasure in it. I appreciated all the hard work that was put into making every piece I devoured.
I only have a handful of good memories from my last stay in the Philippines…
…so to pay homage to this memory and to celebrate 6,728 days of togetherness, I decided to make my husband a Banoffee Pie. As mentioned above, one layer of this dessert is a can of dulce de leche (or toffee) which is made by boiling a cup of condensed milk for 3 hours. You have to make this ahead of time. Also remember when the can is punctured, the boiling hot milk oozes out. Please handle with care.
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 bananas, sliced
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Dulce de leche/ Toffee:
In a sauce pan, boil a can of condensed milk for 3 hours. Monitor the water closely; make sure there is always water in the pan. Remove milk from heat and let cool.
- Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter until they are well blended.
- Press mixture into a 9 inch pie plate. Cool in refrigerator.
- Open can and pour dulce de leche/toffee into pie crust.
- Slice bananas over dulce de leche/ toffee.
- Whip the cream and scoop it on top of bananas.
- Refrigerate before serving.
- Top it with instant coffee granules and cocoa or shaved or grated dark chocolate.
Don’t let the few steps hinder you from trying this recipe.
Happiness is homemade after all.