So here I go from posting about pizza made with local strawberries to a dessert made with biscuits from over 4000 miles away. I made this pie two weeks ago for Easter and for some reason have been struggling to write about it ever since. Was it gross? No, quite the opposite! Was it complicated to make? No way! Do I want to keep it all to myself? Well, it’s not like I made it up…
Basically, I wanted to address my Anglophilia along with this pie since it’s partly my preoccupation with the British that led me to the recipe. It’s just that I have so much to say about the subject (Doctor Who! castles! moors! Jane Austen! Radiohead! Benedict Cumberbatch! tea! Hot Fuzz! the BBC! Harry Potter! accents! humo(u)r! Irn Bru! Monty Python! etc.), but not in a very coherent way. Indecision and procrastination, I shake my fist at you!
Ironically, I’ve never been to the UK even though I have a small handful of friends scattered throughout, from London to Glasgow. Whenever I do go, I’m making a beeline to the Royal Albert Hall for a photo op. It’s a name thing that makes me feel like we’re related.
If you’re unfamiliar with banoffee pie, chances are that you’ve heard of it before, but maybe without realizing it. In Love Actually (yes, I love it), it’s the kind of pie that Juliet (Keira Knightley) offers to Mark (Andrew Lincoln) as a bit of a bribe to get him to show her the video that he took of her wedding.
It features one of my favorite combinations: bananas and caramel. That’s right – those cheeky Brits named it by combining ‘banana’ and ‘toffee’. Oh, how I love a good portmanteau! If I had a food version of a soul mate, I think this would be it.
It’s so simple to make too, and could almost fall into the no-bake category, though I baked the dulce de leche and the crust. By the way, there’s a story of how this pie evolved in 1972 and the chef responsible claims to hate biscuit crumb crusts. I happen to prefer them with creamy pies which is why I made one!
Banoffee (Banoffi) Pie
If you want to make a pie more true to the original, you can find the recipe here. Aside from making a traditional pie crust, the main differences are that he pours the toffee into the crust first, then arranges lengthwise-sliced bananas over it, and whips instant espresso into the cream. My family isn’t into coffee like I am, so I just dusted cocoa powder on top.
3 bananas, peeled and sliced into coins
dulce de leche*
optional: cocoa powder or instant espresso for dusting
Layer the bananas in the crust. Evenly pour the dulce de leche over the bananas, smoothing around if needed. Spread whipped cream over the top, then dust with cocoa powder or instant espresso. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.
To make the crust:
1 package Hobnobs or digestives
1 stick butter, melted (I used unsalted, then added a few pinches of salt)
Preheat oven to 350F. In a food processor, pulse the Hobnobs into crumbs. Pour in the melted butter, then pulse until incorporated. The mixture should resemble sand. Press into the bottom and sides of a pie dish, then bake for about 15 minutes. The crust will puff up while baking but will settle back down as it cools. Let cool completely.
To make the toffee/dulce de leche:
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 425F. Pour the condensed milk into a pie plate or other similar-sized, oven-safe dish and cover with foil. Set this dish in a larger one or roasting pan. Pour water in the larger dish/pan until it reaches halfway up the smaller dish. Bake for 45 minutes, replenish the water, then bake for another 45 minutes, or until the condensed milk has turned a toffee color. Let cool, then refrigerate.
Alternately, you can boil cans of sweetened condensed milk! If that sounds scary, see another method here.
To make the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
splash of vanilla
In a mixer with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer (or even with a whisk and elbow grease), beat the cream on high. When it starts getting lighter, add the sugar and vanilla. Continue beating until soft peaks form.
I assembled the pie right after we ate Easter lunch, so it only had about 20 minutes in the fridge. This means it didn’t get to set all the way which is why there aren’t any photos of pretty pie slices. Mess Fest 2012. Pretty or not, this pie was addictive and was well-received by the fam!