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.
1 stick of butter, melted
2 cups crushed digestive biscuits
or 1 cup each sugar cookies and plain graham crackers, crushed
1-2 cans Carnation Caramel or Dulce de Leche (I prefer less—it is very sweet)
4 small bananas
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.