Part of the reason people get so intimidated when making pie is the shortcrust pastry, which while utterly simple to make, can be a fiddly affair during the summers, particularly in the Mumbai heat. From experience, I tell you that I myself have opted out of making shortcrust and simply swapped to a biscuit base, just so I don’t have to chill, roll, patch up, and bake a tart shell blind. Obviously, I don’t want you to shy away from making a good pie during the summer and so I decided to make not one, but two tarts with biscuit bases that are also a doddle to make and don’t require any baking.
The first is a Miso Banoffee Pie with a digestive biscuit base. The miso filling I make uses a dark Shiro miso from Urban Platter because that intensely savoury taste cuts nicely through the toffee of the dulce de leche that would normally go into a banoffee pie filling. The Urban Platter Shiro miso doesn’t require any cooking for this dessert and merely whisking it into still warm dulce de leche is more than enough to get the required taste. Many will remember that a few years ago, for World Macaron Day at La Folie, I curated a Miso caramel macaron for the brand, and this is along the same lines really. If you’re looking for alternate ways to use this particular Shiro miso from Urban Platter, I suggest making my sweet miso sauce. For every 2 1/2 tbsp of miso paste, add a tablespoon each of Mirin, Sugar and Rice wine vinegar. It keeps very well in the refrigerator and you can brush it over aubergines to grill, mushrooms, fish, or with pork.
The final Banoffee pie isn’t as cloying as certain banoffee pies can be (my biggest grouse with the dessert), and a good grating of dark chocolate at the very end, simply with a vegetable peeler adds a final touch of bitterness, which is very welcoming. This pie is also eggless, and a non-dairy whip topping is perfect for the top, so you don’t have to fuss with dairy cream. Rich’s is my preferred non-dairy whipping cream.
For the second pie, I wanted a slightly more interesting take on a key lime meringue pie, and so I decided to work this one with a Monaco biscuit base for the salty crunch it lends. For the filling, I used Gondhoraj limes but you could just as easily use regular small green limes from the market. I made a lime curd, chilled it, then whisked it with equal parts condensed and coconut milks. This created an incredibly rich mousseline-like filling. The refrigerator did most of the work after that for setting the pie, while I proceeded to make an Italian meringue topping for the finale which would be blowtorched at the very end. An extravagant dessert with no need to turn the oven on.
Miso Banoffee Pie Recipe:
Miso Banoffee Pie
Unlike other super sweet banoffee pies, this one is perfectly balanced. The miso in the dulce de leche adds an incredible savoury taste to the generally cloying toffee filling, which is then made better with billowy whipped cream and a good grating of bitter dark chocolate to finish.
Digestive biscuits 400g
Salted butter 200g, melted
Condensed milk 800g (2 tins of Amul mithai mate or Milkmaid)
Shiro Miso Paste 1 1/2 tbsp (I used the Shiro Miso paste from Urban Platter)
Rich’s whip topping 400g, cold
Good Quality Dark chocolate 50g for finishing
Whizz the digestive biscuits in the jar of a food processor until it resembles fine sand. Drizzle in the melted butter and continue to blitz the mixture until the mixture starts coming up the sides. Tip the biscuit mixture directly onto a pie plate and work the mixture with your hands pressing to forming the pie’s thick outer rim first before attending to the base. Once you’re happy with the thickness of the base and the rim, use the back of a glass to press down on the biscuit base (not too firmly), moving it around to compact the crumb. Wrap your pie base in clingfilm and transfer to a refrigerator.
Make the dulce de leche in either a pressure cooker. To make the filling, in a large pressure cooker keep the tin of condensed milk tin lying on its side and immersed completely in water. Let the pressure build in the cooker. When you begin to hear sounds from the whistle, that is, when it is ready to whistle up, turn the heat down to low. We want the pressure to collect in the cooker, then cook it slowly. Let it sit on the hob undisturbed for 20 minutes. Then, unlatch the cooker and wait for it to open. Gingerly fish out the tin and open immediately. The dulce de leche inside will have to be whipped until smooth and caramel-like. If you’d like a deeper colour for your dulce de leche, that would take an additional 10 minutes in the pressure cooker.
If you want to make this filling in the oven, empty the contents of both condensed milk tins in a glass pyrex bowl that’s transparent so you can make out the colour as it changes. Cover this with aluminium foil. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Make a Bain Marie setting with hot water in an oven tray coming up the sides of your pyrex dish. Once the oven is hot, cook the condensed milk in the oven for 1 hour or more, depending on how deep of a colour you want from your dulce de leche. My ideal colour would be of a blonde caramel. Make sure to top up the water halfway through the process.
Once your dulce de leche is ready, add the Urban Platter Shiro Miso Paste to it while still hot and whisk the filling till smooth. Cool this for a few minutes and pour the filling onto the refrigerated pie crust, smoothening it out with an offset spatula if required.
Now I do a strange step which a lot of you would frown upon, but to me, I think it adds a lot to the final pie. I chop up a third of the banana into round coins and dot the surface of the banoffee pie, then allow it to set in the refrigerator for an hour at least (and sometimes more) before finishing with the remainder of the chopped bananas. For me, this layer lends its banana-ness to the filling as the bananas start to turn to mush in the filling as it sits and the bananas’s juices are released. If you want to skip this step, just add the chopped bananas half an hour before serving. This would also be the time you finish with your whipped cream.
Using a hand mixer, mix the still-cold whip topping to soft peaks stage and dollop it over the bananas. This may look messy, but you already know it’s going to taste incredible. Allow the pie to rest for half an hour in the refrigerator before serving with lots of grated dark chocolate on top.
Gondhoraj Lime Meringue Pie With A Monaco Crust Recipe:
Gondhoraj Lime Meringue Pie With A Monaco Crust
A creamy Gondhoraj lime curd filling with a salty Monaco pie crust and scorched peaks of Italian meringue come together to make an extravagant dessert that doesn’t require you to turn on the oven for anything. You can swap out gondhoraj limes for regular small green limes if you like.
For The Crust
Monaco biscuits 225g
Caster sugar 110g (1/2 cup)
For The Lime Curd
Gondhoraj Lime juice 60g
Butter 100g, at room temperature
Egg yolks 3
Condensed milk 120g
Coconut milk 100ml
Egg whites 3, at room temperature
Water 1/4 cup
Whizz the monaco biscuits and sugar in the jar of a food processor till it’s sandy. Drizzle in the butter with the processor still running and let everything start clumping up. Tip the biscuit mixture into a pie dish and press it down using your hands, up the sides first, and then the base. When everything is evenly pressed down and there aren’t any gaps, use the back of a glass to firmly pack the crumbs by running it around the pie dish. Clingfilm the pie base and keep in the refrigerator for an hour at least.
Whisk together the egg yolks and cornflour in a bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the lime juice and sugar together till the sugar has melted and the mixture has almost come up to a boil. Take the pan off the heat and drizzle in a third of the sugar and lime syrup into the yolks and cornflour mixture whisking away as you do, then add this mixture back to the saucepan. Turn the heat down to low and whisk till the whole mixture has thickened and the yolks are cooked. Do this on and off the stove periodically because you don’t want this mixture to come up to a boil at any time because that would cook the yolks.
When the lemon curd is thick and ready, take it off the heat and add the butter and whisk again till smooth. Cool the lemon curd and keep covered in the refrigerator till it is time to assemble the pie.
To the cooled lemon curd, add the condensed milk and coconut milk and whisk it all again till it resembles a thick and glossy filling. Pour this mixture into the refrigerated pie base and even it out spreading it to the corners and transfer to the refrigerator again for at least half an hour to set while you get on with the meringue.
Transfer the room temperature egg whites to a bowl of either a stand mixer or in just a regular metal bowl and a hand mixer on the side. Start mixing the egg whites with the hand/stand mixer on low speed, going faster as you go till it reaches a soft peak stage (when lifted, the mixture forms a bit of a peak that collapses into itself almost immediately). With the mixer still running, drizzle in the syrup carefully and in a steady motion, and after all of it has been added, turn the mixer speed up to high and keep whipping till the bowl is cool to touch and the mixture is glossy, thick, creamy-looking, but not too stiff. You want it to reach a stage just before stiff peaks form.
Transfer to a piping bag with a large round nozzle and pipe little kisses on top of the set lime curd mixture. Using a blowtorch, work your way round the meringues, colouring all of them as you go. Serve immediately.