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10 July 2019

When I was at school, the lunch menu was a slow rotation of all the school dinner stalwarts: stodgy crumbles, sponge cakes and fruit pies, all served with a lot of vivid yellow custard. This was all well and good (I love all of these things - even the Birds custard), but very occasionally we'd see two words on the lunch menu - tacked to a burgundy pin board and monitored scrupulously - that would cause pandemonium. Banoffee. Pie.

The pie itself was - on reflection - not worthy of such excitement, but back then a slightly dry biscuit base, tinned caramel, sliced banana, shavings of cooking chocolate and a mountain of whipped cream was enough to send us wild. All these years later, I think back to that teenage euphoria every time I see it on a menu.

I wanted to translate those nostalgic flavours into a bar, and so it was that my banoffee blondies were born. I've added pecans to replicate the crunch of the pie crust, and swapped out the dark chocolate for white - although you could use whichever chocolate you prefer.
250g unsalted butter
175g white chocolate
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (optional)
75g dark brown sugar
75g light brown sugar
130g plain flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
75g pecans, toasted
2 small ripe bananas
100g salted caramel sauce
Pinch flakey sea salt

Heat the oven to 170°C and line a 20x30cm tin with baking paper. 

Place the butter in a saucepan with 75g of the white chocolate, and place over a low heat to melt. Once the butter has melted, remove from the heat - the residual heat will melt any unmelted white chocolate pieces. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs, vanilla bean paste and sugars for 2-3 minutes until pale, foamy and doubled in volume. Add the melted butter and chocolate and mix to combine, then add the flour and salt and fold together. 

Roughly chop the remaining 100g of the white chocolate and the pecans, then fold through the blondie batter. Pour into the lined tin, and level the surface with a palette knife. 

Slice the bananas lengthways, then gently place on the surface of the blondie batter. Don't press them in - they will naturally sink when baking. Drizzle the salted caramel over the top, and sprinkle with a little flaky salt. 

Bake in the heated oven for 25-35 minutes, until the surface is golden brown and the mixture has lost any wobble when lightly shaken. Allow to cool full before slicing.

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