This banana pie is not just any ordinary dessert. Not because every bite you indulge will plunge you into in a symphony of flavours and textures. Nor just because of the way the sweet shortbread with its crumbly texture and buttery goodness melts in your mouth. Not even because of the fragrant banana liqueur, the bananas have been soaking in or the seamlessly way it all blends into a sensation both rich and intoxicating. Even the attraction of this dish – the rich velvety vanilla cream, creamy – isn’t what make it my favourite.
What makes this decadent delight so special to me, is the recollections that it brings back.
Memories of the most beautiful, generous, and caring couple I've ever met, Sharon and Oz. I still remember the day they arrived in Sydney, a young couple full of adventure.
They were so happy to have arrive in a country that they’ve been told is one of the safest countries in the world. They couldn’t wait to see the world-famous Bondi Beach so as soon as they landed they caught a cab straight to that renowned attraction where they were promptly robbed at knife point!
I met them a couple of days later when they moved into the tiny granny flat at the back of our tiny semi in Rose Bay. From the moment we met, we clicked like old friends. Sharon and Oz became a part of my immediate family and extended family, spending shabbat dinners, outings and birthday parties with us. They spent almost every day with me, my ex-husband and our four children. I cooked a lot and we enjoyed many nights together but none were as fun as the nights I made our favourite pie, which was at least two – three times a week. I remember we waited till the kids went to sleep and the four of us gathered around the coffee table, with Sharon and Oz complaining that I have to stop making this dessert because their pants don’t fit them anymore. as we devoured the pie, we told jokes, talked politics, played board games, chatted and laughed until late into the night.
Even after 22 years, I still cherish those memories and the bond we formed. We may not see each other often, but when we do, it’s like no time has passed at all. Last year, I was overjoyed that I could visit them in Israel after not seeing them for 17 years. I got to meet their beautiful children and this time they cooked an amazing meal for me and my family. It was a beautiful reunion, and we picked up right where we left off.
Sharon and Oz are still the same amazing people I met over two decades ago. They are smart, creative and kind-hearted, with a love for life that is infectious. This pie is for them, a symbol of the special moments we shared and a reminder of the love and friendship that will always endure.
Before you start:
You can use a biscuit base if you don’t want to do any baking.
Blind baking – is when you line the pie crust with baking paper and fill the crust with pie weights, uncooked rice or dried beans.
I made my own jam with chia seeds and strawberries, I chose to make it without sugar because I think the pie is sweet enough but you can add sugar to the jam according to your liking. I have included the recipe for the chia jam if you choose to make it.
Step 1 make the pastry
175g plain flour
20g almond meal
65g icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
100g cold unsalted butter
Lemon zest from 1 lemon
In a food processor, process flour, almond meal, icing sugar, salt, grated lemon and butter. Process until mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the egg until dough comes together into a ball.
Turn dough out onto a work surface and knead gently to bring together. Mould into a disc form. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until large enough to line a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin.
Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll onto the tart dish making sure the dough reaches all edges. Trim extra if necessary.
Pierce dough with a fork all over, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for an hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 170c
Blind bake for 12 minutes.
Uncover pastry, continue to bake until golden, in my oven it took 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely
If you are not making jam skip this part
Chia berry jam
500g mixed frozen berries or just strawberries or just blueberries, thawed.
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Place berries in a small pot over a medium-high flame, once it starts to bubble reduce heat to low. Place lid on top but leave lid ajar and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes before stirring in the chia seeds, cook for 20-25 minutes with lid ajar and don’t forget to give the berries a good stir every now and then to make sure they aren’t sticking to the bottom of the pot. Please note: If you choose to use fresh berries just add a couple of tablespoons of water when beginning to cook.
½ cup Banana liqueur
4-6 ripe bananas depending on the size (I use A LOT of bananas)
200 mls sour cream (you can use sour light cream)
300mls thickened cream
1 (25g) packet vanillin sugar
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4-5 tea biscuits
Good quality strawberry jam (optional) or make your own low sugar.
Slice bananas, place in a bowl and coat with lemon juice.
Pour lemon juice out of the bowl and soak bananas in liqueur. While the bananas are soaking, prepare the cream.
In a standalone mixer or a handheld mixer, whip thickened cream, vanillin sugar, caster sugar and two teaspoons of vanilla extract. Whip until firm peaks are formed.
Refrigerate the cream.
Pour 2-3 of tablespoons of the banana liqueur from the bowl that the bananas have been soaking in, into the bottom of the pie shell.
Spread 2 tablespoons jam on top.
Arrange layers of sliced bananas on top of jam until you reach ¾ of the side of the pie dish.
Spread sour cream on top.
Crush biscuits in a food processor or with a kitchen mallet and sprinkle on top of sour cream, creating a thin layer of crushed biscuits.
Place one layer of sliced bananas on top. Spread whipped cream on top decorate with dollops of jam.
Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.