I eat delicious vegan things and so can you, Berlin part 1: the banoffee

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If you’ve ever had the misfortune of talking to someone who went to Berlin for a few days, or god forbid who lived there for some time, you’ve heard all kinds of praise about the city. Sometimes even for things you wouldn’t necessarily praise anywhere else for: “It’s so dirty, it’s like real you know.” If you’ve got ears and eyes — or both — you’ve heard about Berlin’s great music scene, amazing clubs no one’s has ever gotten inside of, the art, the coffee, the food. This series, as you might have guessed from the title, is about the latter. Specifically, vegan food.

For a while now, Berlin has been dubbed the vegan capital of Europe. After spending a few days in the city, I can attest to this very official title. I went to many great restaurants, cafes and places too cool to have a descriptive title but I’m not going to give you a list of places and names of dishes. Because one, there are approximately a million “vegan in Berlin” guides on the internet, most written by people who know the city much better than I do. And two, what’s the point of talking about food if can't have it. Instead, this is a “what I ate in Berlin and how can you make dupes at home” guide. Just like a functioning adult, we start this off with breakfast.

 The Banoffee pie donut at Brammibal’s Donuts

This was the first thing I ate in Berlin and it almost brought a tear into my eye. Because it was so good and also because it reminded me of playing in the snow and coming back home to drink gluhwein and eat banoffee pie (and pass out from a sugar overdose). Upon becoming vegan I thought I could never have banoffee pie again, which is stupid in retrospect because everything can be veganised, but here I was having a banoffee pie donut. It was as delicious as I remember banoffee pie to be and less sickening. If you’re ever in Berlin make sure to pass by Brammibal's but otherwise here’s a recipe to quench your banoffee cravings.

Making a donut at home is a bit of a hassle and I’m too clumsy to handle scorching hot oil so I decided to go for the easiest banoffe related dessert I could think of. I give you the no-bake vegan banoffee pie.

 What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of nuts (the recipe called for walnuts but I didn’t have that much so I did half almond half walnut)

  • 3 cups of nice and soft dates (obviously take the pits out)

  • 3 cups of coconut yoghurt (the recipe said coconut cream but yoghurt was what I had at home and it worked fine)

  • ¼ cup nut butter (I used almond, guess why)

  • 3 bananas

Here comes the pie:

 Mix the nuts and a cup of dates in a food processor until it gets all sticky and resembles some sort of dough. Press this dough into the container you want to use. I used a glass oven dish but you could use anything since this isn’t going in the oven. Use 500 bottle caps for all I care. Put your oven dish or 500 bottle caps into the freezer to set as you prepare rest of the pie.

If you have a microwave nuke the remaining two cups of dates for a little while until they get real soft. You don’t have to do this step but it makes the rest of it easier and easy is what I aim for in cooking/baking/life.

Hope you’re not a neat freak and didn’t already clean the food processor because we’re mushing dates again. When you first start processing the dates you will think you did something wrong and the whole thing is ruined. Don’t fret, just process them for a bit longer until they break up and start sticking to the sides of the processor.

Slowly add one cup of coconut yoghurt. We’re going for a thick caramelly texture so if you achieve that before the cup is empty, stop. Add your nut butter and process some more. Think about what caramelly texture means for a while. Google caramel texture, look at images. Warning: do not go to videos. It adds 30 mins to cooking time.

Take the 500 bottle caps out of the freezer and spread the caramelly goo inside. Return to the freezer.

Take the coconut yoghurt and whip it real good until it resembles, well, whipped cream.

Slice your bananas evenly. The recipe said to brush them with lemon juice so they don’t go brown but honestly who has time for that. Take everything out of the freezer and put a layer of sliced bananas on top of caramel goo. If you’re still following the bottle cap joke, you can put one slice per cap. Add the whipped coconut on top and a final layer of bananas and TA-DAH you’ve got your banoffee pie. Now go roll-around in snow before you come back to eat it.

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