As I got a bit older and found myself outgrowing Roald Dahl, I went in search for books that still held onto the magic of childhood but that also depicted the grittier side of life that my eyes were now being opened to. I discovered Philip Ridley. I was instantly won over and quickly worked my way through almost all of his books, but the first one that I read and was completely mesmerised by was Kasper in the Glitter (1994). For those of you who have not yet experienced the delights of this book, Kasper in the Glitter is a tale of young Kasper, a peculiarly dressed boy who lives alone with his sparkle-obsessed mother who won't let him so much as step foot beyond the front garden on his own. When Kasper discovers a boy stealing the roses from his front garden, he gets dragged into a world he has never before experienced; a world of intrigue, excitement and danger where Kasper must survive on his one and only skill: his ability to make the most delicious banoffi pies in the world! Kasper has perfected his banoffi pie making skills after having made hundreds over the years in order to cheer up his rather emotionally unstable mother, but it is in The Glitter that he finds himself really under pressure to keep recreating these scrumptious pies, as he must continue to do so in order to prevent the terrifying King Streetwise from giving him and his new friends black eyes.
This is the first time I had ever come across banoffi pie and after all the talk of it throughout the book I was eager to get my chops around some. For those of you who may somehow have got thus far in life without ever having encountered a banoffi pie:
Banoffi is one of the most delicious pies ever invented. It’s made with sliced bananas, gooey toffee, and topped off with coffee-flavoured cream, chocolate granules, and a large dollop of marmalade. The marmalade, to be honest, is Kasper’s own particular addition to the recipe. He says it gives the dish a much needed tang, And he should know. (7).
To fulfil my dream of tasting a real-life banoffi pie, my sister went about helping me to make one. Rather than searching through cook books to try and find a recipe, we used descriptions from Kasper in the Glitter, piecing together various descriptions of Kasper making the pie to create our own recipe. I was not disappointed as I had been with peaches after having read Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach. How could I be? Banana’s, toffee, cream: what’s not to like? From then on banoffi was my firm favourite dessert and on the rare occasion that my sister took me out for dinner and we found banoffi pie on the menu, that’s what we would both order, comparing the taste of each one to the original recipe we had created from the book like banoffi connoisseurs. Even today, some twenty years on, I still think of Kasper in the Glitter when ever I come across banoffi pie.
Keep an eye out for my next blog post in which I will be recreating the very same banoffi pie from the book, along with a recipe so that you can sample the delights at home too!
Ridley, Philip. Kasper in the Glitter. London: Penguin, 1995.