Banoffee Pie is an eggless dessert which originated in the United Kingdom and is a delicious and popular pie. It’s easy to make and combines the crunchy crust of digestive biscuits, a creamy filling of dulce de leche, bananas and light creamy whipped cream. Its amazing as a dessert and super quick to make.
The first time I had a banoffee pie was at The Big Chill Cafe in New Delhi, I absolutely loved it and kept wondering about the filling. I had never tasted anything like it before it was just like a piece of heaven, and I had no idea how to make it or what went into it, but I was determined to figure it out. So after a lot of research and trying various recipes i came up with this one. This recipe is close to what I ate and brings back memories of the time I had it for the first time in Big Chill Cafe. But before we delve into the recipe a little about banoffee pie.
What is Banoffee Pie ?
The word banoffee comes from two words banana and toffee as this pie is mostly made of these ingredients. It’s a very easy dessert to make, made with simple ingredients like bananas, digestive biscuits, Dulce de leche, cream etc. and what you get in the end is an amazing dessert fit for someone who loves sweet pies.
Components of a Banoffee Pie
- The fist layer the crust is made with crushed digestive biscuits or graham crackers mixed with melted butter and then pressed into a pie dish to make a crust for the pie.
- The toffee layer is then made with condensed milk which is cooked with butter and dark brown sugar till it becomes caramelized into a thick and creamy consistency. This toffee sauce is then spread on to the crust to form the second layer.
- Fresh ripe bananas are sliced and placed onto the toffee forming the third layer.
- Billowy whipped cream is the optional but a delicious fourth layer which is spread on top of the bananas. Topped with grated dark chocolate.
History of the Banoffee Pie
The history of the banoffee pie dates back to the 1970’s in England. The pies creators were Ian Dowding and Nigel Mackenzie, who were the respective chef and owner of The Hungry Monk restaurant in Jevington, East Sussex. The story goes that Macenzie in 1971 realized that he was short of one dessert in the restaurant and so he asked Dowding to create a new one. Mackenzie suggested a dessert he had tasted in America called Blums Coffee Toffee Pie, Mackenzie loved the idea started his search for that one perfect dessert experimenting with cream, boiled condensed milk and caramel and during the experiment phase Makenzie suggested they use bananas and that’s how the Signor Banoffee Pie was created. The original pie was made with short crust pastry but that was substituted with digestive biscuits.
The dessert became an instant hit among the restaurant’s patrons and soon gained popularity beyond The Hungry Monk. People started asking for the recipe, and it spread to other eateries and homes, becoming a beloved classic dessert across the United King
What is Dulce de leche ?
Dulce de leche is a creamy, sweet caramel like sauce that originated in Latin America. The Dulce de leche in Spanish translates to sweet milk which are its main ingredients and flavour.
Its traditionally prepared by simmering milk and sugar together until the sugars in the milk caramelize and form a thick, smooth creamy sauce. A lot of its flavor is attributed to the Maillard reaction. This link might be helpful if you want to understand the science behind this reactionhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maillard_reaction.
The dulce de leche might be prepared by the following methods.
- By cooking down the milk and usgar in the traditinal stove top method where the sauce is made when the milk caramalizes and truns a caramelized brown colour.
- The second is the easy method where the condensed milk is cooked, this might be done in the following ways:
- The oven method is where the condensed milk is cooked in the oven. The condensed milk is covered with foil and then placed in a larger oven-safe dish filled with water. The water bath helps to evenly heat the condensed milk as it bakes in the oven. It is baked at a low temperature for several hours until it transforms into Dulce de Leche.
- Pressure Cooker Method: This method is a quicker method using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot. Sweetened condensed milk is poured into a glass jar and the jar is tightly sealed and then is placed inside the pressure cooker. Water is added until it reaches halfway up the sides of the jar, and the pressure cooker is then sealed and cooked at high pressure for a specific time. The result is creamy Dulce de Leche.
- Crockpot/Slow Cooker Method: In this method, sweetened condensed milk is poured into a jar or dish, and the jar or dish is placed inside the slow cooker. Water is added until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the container. The slow cooker is then set to a low heat setting, and the sweetened condensed milk is slowly cooked into Dulce de Leche over several hours.
- Microwave Method: This is the quickest method for making Dulce de Leche. Sweetened condensed milk is poured into a microwave-safe container and is cooked in short intervals all you need to do is stir in between, until it thickens and caramelizes.
Warning : before using any of these methods its impotant to exersize precautions specially if you are using sealed containers as they might be prone to exploding and causing injury.
Also, keep in mind that the cooking time may vary depending on the method and the desired consistency of the Dulce de Leche.
SOME COMMON QUESTIONS!
How do you make the toffee filling for the banoffee pie ?
To make the toffee filling you either boil a can of condensed milk or use any of the methods given above to make it. The easiest way is to make it the way i make it where i cook the condensed milk with butter and sugar on the stovetop till it caramelizes and thickens and is ready for use.
Is Banoffee Pie served hot or cold?
Banoffee pie is a cold dessert and its ideal that you keep it in the fridge for at least a few hours till the toffee layer cools down and allows the flavors to meld.
Can I make Banoffee Pie in advance ?
Yes, it’s a great pie to make in advance you can keep it refrigerate keep it refrigerated until you are ready to serve.
Can I use pre-made toffee or caramel sauce instead of making it from scratch?
Yes, you can easily use store-bought toffee or caramel sauce if you’re running out of time or prefer a quicker option. However, making the toffee from scratch gives the pie a richer and authentic flavor.
Can I freeze Banoffee pie?
It is possible to freeze banoffee pie, but I wouldn’t recommend it as the texture and appearance of the bananas and whipped cream may not be the same after thawing. It’s best to enjoy the pie fresh for the best taste and texture.
Is Banoffee pie gluten-free?
The pie can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free biscuits for the crust. But its important to check the ingredients of the biscuits to make sure they are totally gluten free.
Can I make a vegan version of Banoffee pie?
I have seen recipes of vegan banoffee pie but I have never made one. They use vegan butter for the crust and coconut cream or dairy free condensed milk for the toffee.
Ingredients for the crust
Ingredients for the toffee sauce
Ingredients for the topping
- For the crust
Take the biscuits and grind them into powder, add the butter. Mix well. Now press crust onto a pie dish and make sure its even all around. Keep it in the fridge and let cool down.
- For the filling
Melt the butter on very low heat add the brown sugar and let it melt. This step is very important because sugar lends it flavor once cooked so please melt the sugar. Once the brown sugar has melted add the condensed milk and cook for 2 to 3 minutes till it is light golden brown in color. Take a sieve and pour this sauce into the pie crust you have made. Keep it in the fridge to cool.
- For the banana topping
Once the sauce has cooled down cut the bananas and spread them on top of the sauce.
- For the whipped cream
Take the cream and whip it, add a teaspoon of sugar at a time till its nicely whipped and the cream is holding stiff peaks. Spoon this on top of your bananas, spread it well till you cover the whole pie. Take some soft dark chocolate and use a vegetable peeler to scrape it into curls. Keep in the fridge to chill. Enjoy!