Oh Banoffee pie.

If I could count syllables accurately, I would write a sonnet to thee.

As much as I think Valentines Day is bloated with commercial trollop; when The Hungry One surprised me four days prior with an impromptu dinner at Tabou; waiting with a bunch of bouvardia at the table in the window, I was guzumped.

Reciprocity calls; best to try return the sweetest gesture with another within the week.

Bring on an ‘act of service’. Bring on dessert. And, the only person I know who loves Banoffee pie more than me, is he.

For The Hungry One (aka the King of Textures)- it’s all about the layers. It’s the crunchy and dense base made from biscuit rubble. The blanket of stickily dark dulce du leche. Some waifish slices of just ripe banana. A hug of whipped cream, and then a sprinkle of dark chocolate.

And there are very few things in this world that go better with a ristretto.

So, instead of running off to Sopra (again) to hoover more of their fine fine specimens down, I took a bash in the comfort of our own home.

Here’s where the learnings emerge. And these are more about me than anyone else.

1) I’m a little bit of a coward. I don’t like to watch disaster films because I’m pretty sure if the end was nigh, I wouldn’t be pluckily swimming through tunnels and using my small digits to turn life saving screws, but rather, huddling in a corner under a table, resigned to my imminent fate and having a little whimper. So when I heard about the risk of condensed milk cans exploding with shards of tin and molten caramel while making dulce du leche I walked away.

2) Owing to a little deviation through in MBTI classifications– thank you ABC-W, it turns out I’m more of a try first, research later kind of girl. So I dimly remembered reading something about the ease of making the divine sticky South American caramellised-milk centre that does the heavy lifting in banoffee in a saucepan.

So off I merrily go on a jaunt of ignorance and arrogance, flushed with love and start methodically stirring a jar of condensed milk that I’ve emptied into my non stick saucepan.

Oh Tori. Such a ninny. So after twenty minutes I have something that can only be identified as granular silly putty. You could seal windows with this stuff. You could play handball with this stuff.

You can make dulce du leche in a saucepan. But it’s got nothing to do with condensed milk. For those who research first, then try- the source is here.

So, shamefaced I toss my puck of sweet grainy muck. I chalk it up to an important learning, swear a couple of times and then like all cowards revert to a cheats option.

In the scary dark part of my cupboard is a tin of ‘pre made’ dulce du leche bought by someone during a kamikaze Coles trip. It’s for those who are too chicken to try.

So I open that, decide the obvious granules of crystallised sugar are pretty nasty, but nevertheless push on.

In it goes into my cleaned saucepan, with a good pinch of salt and a slug of milk. I stir and stir and stir and it starts to taste and look a little better. A little runnier than I’d like, but the right toasty, fawn shade that spells sugar-goodness.

In it goes to the freezer to chill.

Then it’s about taking my latent frustration out on a plastic bag filled with ten digestive biscuits- and adding two tablespoons of melted butter to them.

The cheesecake base gets padded into little tart tins and put in the freezer to harden too.

Then ontop goes the caramel. Then some whipped cream. Then some banana slices in a pretty pattern. And then some grated valhrona.

It was in fact a pretty lame interpretation, and one that I attempted to apologise for a couple of times.

If this was a hard cover children’s book, it would go a little like this.

‘That’s not my banoffee’.

The base is too crumbly. The caramel is runny. The cream is too fluffy.

Yet, love apparently means never having to say your sorry.

And, this Valentines season I’ve discovered it also means learning the bits about yourself which are pretty ridiculous ( like not looking up a recipe before starting, and being too afraid to boil a can)- and thanking the significant other in your life for dealing with them on a day to day basis.

And in our house, it also means making enough of the sweet things so there’s leftovers for Monday night.

Makeshift Monday-night banoffee trifle

Take a glass.

Take some dulce du leche (submerge a can of condensed milk three quarters of the way in water. Put a tea towel over the top to keep it down. Put a lid on. Boil for three hours. Let it cool. Open. Add some salt for zing).

Take some smashed Digestive biscuits. Put a layer of smashed biscuits, then two spoonfuls of glorious caramel goodness. Then put a layer of thinly sliced, only just ripe banana. Then some whipped cream and grated chocolate.

Repeat until the glass is full.