Banoffee Pie

I’ve been posting a lot at Facebook about my younger son’s love of Banoffee Pie.  I made one for Thanksgiving, and there is never even a crumb left over.  It is one of the most luscious, decadent pies I’ve ever tasted.

Don’t worry if you have not heard of it.  My first encounter was only a few years ago, at a gathering at Christopher Robin’s mother’s house in Hawkhurst, a village south of London.  Gina had cooked a true English Sunday dinner of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and swedes (rutabagas).  Banoffee pie was dessert.  Or rather, pudding. Even though it’s pie.

Whatever you call it, I took one bite and swooned.  A crumbly, buttery crust. Caramel layered with bananas. Then unsweetened whipped cream dusted ever so slightly with cocoa powder.  Sweet, rich, fantastic. I’ve started making it for holidays, and my younger son went so crazy for it that it’s the only dessert I ever make for him.

The trouble is that it uses ingredients that are not always that easy to find in the US.  Like canned caramelized sweetened condensed milk.  And digestive biscuits.  Gina regularly sends me tins of the caramel, along with teabags and pastilles, but since I have a lot of US readers, perhaps you’ll want a source here.  Alarminly, some recipes  call for boiling tins of sweetened condensed milk in hot water until they caramelize, but I do not recommend that.  The possibilities of exploding tins are horrific to contemplate.  Paula Dean has a method for caramelizing milk in the oven you may want to try.

But really, you should be able to find Carnation dulce de leche at the grocery store with the condensed milks.  It is available here in Colorado as a Mexican ingredient, so you might try that aisle, too.

Another problem is the digestive biscuits.  I can buy them from the local English store (or your local world market), but they’re very expensive and often stale, so I’ve been trying substitutes.  Dean’s recipe uses graham crackers, which I’ve tried, but that’s not quite the right flavor.  This Thanksgiving, I tried mixing ordinary, mildly sweet sugar cookies with graham crackers ½ & ½ and we all gave it two thumbs up.

The third challenge is the UK to US measuring issue.  They use ounces and grams, and the ounces are not the same.  Very confusing, especially if you are (like me) not inclined to deal with fractions.  I have finally found a cheat sheet that works well, but I’ve done the work for you here so you don’t have to bother.

*One funny side note.  According to Wikipedia, banoffee pie is enormously popular on the backpacker route in India.

Anyway, here is the recipe.  Do let me know if you try it.  Gina will be so pleased.

Banoffee Pie 

Base
1 stick of butter, melted
2 cups crushed digestive biscuits
         or 1 cup each sugar cookies and plain graham crackers, crushed

Filling
1-2 cans Carnation Caramel or Dulce de Leche (I prefer less—it is very sweet)
4 small bananas

Topping
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 banana, sliced
Cocoa powder or shaved bitter chocolate for dusting

1. Mix together the butter and crumbs, the press evenly into a 9-inch pie pan.

2. Cover the crumbs with caramel, then slice the bananas on top.

3. Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks, and spread over the top of the bananas.

4. Arrange sliced bananas on top of cream.  Dust lightly with cocoa powder or shaved chocolate.

5. Chill for at least an hour.  Don’t expect leftovers.

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10 thoughts on “Banoffee Pie

  1. Being British, Banoffee pie is a staple dessert in our American home. I use one can of sweetened condensed milk (instead of the carnation caramel( and boil it in the can for one and a half hours (yes, really, you have to be especially careful when you open it as it may explode–my sister let the pan boil dry by mistake and the can exploded and shot out toffee all over her kitchen–not a pretty sight). This Thanksgiving, once all the bedrooms were filled and my babies were home, I, too, made this dessert. Anything to tie them tighter to those apron strings…

  2. Monica Epstein

    Can’t wait to try this, but I’ll stick to the Dulce de Leche milk rather than boiling the can. I once opened a pressure cooker before the pressure went down completely, so I know what a mess explosions can make! I’m fairly certain I’ve seen digestive biscuits in the international food section of my local grocery store. For anyone living in the Washington, D.C. area, try Giant Foods.

  3. Dawn Brown

    This sounds amazing and I can’t wait to try it! Do you think plain shortbread cookies could be used in the place of sugar cookies? Much easier to find in the grocery store than ready-made sugar cookies.

  4. Barbara

    Im afraid to try the boiling!

    Dawn, I think shortbread would be too sweet. But you can always give it a try. Let us know.

  5. Thanks for this recipe – it looks delicious!You can get Dulce de Leche and digestive biscuits in Montreal – great reason to visit Canada : )

  6. I’ve boiled cans of sweetened condensed milk often and have never had a problem. I used to use the caramel for filling home made chocolates, though I don’t make them as much these days.

    As mentioned above, you just have to make sure there’s plenty of water in the pot and don’t let it dry out. I use a big pot and do a few cans at a time. And I bring it to the boil, then simmer, rather than boil madly.

    And any cookie you use to make cheese cake crust would substitute for the digestive biscuits, I think.

  7. The interest span of many people is so short that it is impossible for them to learn, this has to be true or else someone has to explain why some people keep making the same mistakes.

  8. Sounds heavenly….will give it a whirl! My husband will love it!!

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