I’ve been an anglophile for as long as I can remember. I love British culture, their way with words, their fascinating history and yes – even some of their food. I recently became hooked on The Great British Baking Show, which you absolutely must check out if you haven’t done so already. After watching the show, I can definitely confirm that the Brits deserve their reputation for being excellent bakers. Their prowess and creativity inspired me to bake a classic British dessert, the oddly named Banoffee Pie. With banana + toffee flavors (hence the name), this is a seriously delicious dessert that you’ll definitely want in your baking repertoire.
Banoffee Pie was first made at a pub called The Hungry Monk in the 70s. With a thick layers of caramel, sliced bananas and piles of whipped cream, it has since become one of England’s most cherished desserts. It seems that there are many different versions floating around – some people love making a crust out of digestive biscuits, while others make a more traditional pie crust; some top the pie with chocolate shavings, while others add some chopped up candy bars. Even the method of making the caramel can differ. The most traditional method involves boiling an unopened can of condensed milk for three hours, but I became a little scared once I read warnings of caramel explosions if done incorrectly. There are much quicker routes out there, one of which I opted for instead. I like that everyone has their own take on this dessert and enjoyed taking ideas from several different recipes.
What I love the most about this dessert is the variety of flavors and textures within it. It has a crumbly and buttery crust that pairs so well with the dense, gooey caramel. The bananas freshen everything up and ensure that the dish isn’t cloyingly sweet, and the fluffy whipped cream offers a great contrast between the other heavier elements. I liked adding shaved chocolate to mine, but I’m sure some chopped up Heath bars would be wonderful too. It’s easy and fun to make and is sure to please a crowd.
- For the crust:
- Scant two cups graham cracker crumbs
- 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- For the filling:
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 bananas, thinly sliced
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ cup chocolate shavings
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a medium bowl. Place the mixture into a pie dish, pressing down with your fingers to form a crust. Bake for 7 minutes.
- To make the caramel, start by melting the butter in a medium saucepan. Once melted, add the dark brown sugar and cook over low heat. Keep stirring until sugar has dissolved and the mixture looks smooth, about 5-10 minutes. Add the sweetened condensed milk and bring mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly. Once the mixture is gently simmering, cook for about 3-5 more minutes. Remove from heat once the mixture is a thick, creamy consistency.
- While still warm, pour the caramel into the pie crust. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so that the caramel becomes firm.
- While the pie is chilling, make the whipped cream. Beat the whipping cream and vanilla with an electric mixer until the cream is fluffy and forming peaks.
- After the pie has chilled, place the banana slices around the edge of the pie, working inwards until the pie is completely covered. Cover with the whipped cream and sprinkle the chocolate shavings on top. Keep refrigerated until served.
If you can find digestive biscuits, feel free to substitute them for the graham cracker crumbs in the crust.
If you’re looking for an even easier method for the caramel, a great substitute is ready-made dulce de leche.
I use a y-peeler to make the chocolate shavings – simply drag the peeler along the edge of a bar of chocolate.