This recipe is well known in the UK but over here the name has people a bit confused. ‘Banoffee Pie’ draws its name from the combined ingredients of ripe bananas, dulce-de-leche, espresso and cream. The pie crust is made from Graham crackers (that’s a digestive biscuit crumb crust, to folks over The Pond).
It’s not particularly spectacular looking but take my word for it, the combination of flavors is incredible. Making dulce-de-leche is ridiculously easy and generates comments such as – “You did what!?”
Dulce-de-leche takes a couple of hours to make this way, so you might as well make a few batches. The end result is also wonderful spooned over ice cream, brownies, or anything else that cries out for a touch of caramel.
Notes at the end:
(Serves six to 10)
For the Graham cracker/biscuit crumb crust:
1 ½ cups finely ground graham cracker/biscuit crumbs – use a processor or smash the cookies to crumbs in a sturdy plastic bag with a rolling pin or empty wine bottle
1/4 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons of butter, melted
Optional – a pinch of cinnamon
Mix crumbs, sugar and melted butter until well blended. Press into an 8 or 9 inch pie plate or loose-based tart pan.
Bake at 375F (190C) for 7-8 minutes – cool.
One unopened 14oz / 397g can of full fat sweetened condensed milk – tackle this ahead of time; see directions below
Two large ripe bananas
½ pt (284ml) of heavy/double cream
2-3 tablespoons of cold espresso/strong coffee
Here’s the interesting part; Place the unopened can of condensed milk in a very large pan of water to completely cover it. Bring to the boil and allow it to boil gently for 2.5 – 3 hrs. (Less time at sea level)
The label will float off. Keep a kettle of hot water on the side for topping it up and don’t walk the dog or do anything that takes you away from the kitchen for more than 45 minutes at a time, because if the water boils away the can will overheat and you’ll witness an explosion unlike anything your kitchen has ever seen; you’ll be scraping sticky goo and shards of tin off the ceiling for months.
After the allotted time, drain and allow the can(s) to cool completely.
Open the can and after admiring the alchemy, spread the toffee colored contents into your crumb crust.
Thinly slice the ripe bananas all over the dulce-de-leche. Whip the cream with the cold coffee until peaks form. Smother the bananas with the coffee-infused whipped cream then chill for a couple of hours before serving.
If you boil a few cans of condensed milk at once, I recommend re-labeling them once they’ve cooled because they’ll be stripped bare and a few months down the road you may think you’re opening your last can of cat food. There’s no need to refrigerate the boiled cans.
Don’t use low fat condensed milk – you need the regular full-fat variety.
If you buy a ready-made crumb crust and with your cans of boiled condensed milk, you’ll be able to whip up a great dessert in minutes.
When I say ‘ripe’ bananas, I don’t mean brown and mushy. They should be perfectly pale but soft and easy to slice.
Cinnamon is the most ubiquitous spice in the US – it seems to have permeated every cookie, cappuccino, candle, shopping mall, air-freshener and public restroom to the point that I’m suffering from cinnamon overload. However if you can’t live without it, add it to the crust but it’s perfect without it.
Don’t put sugar in the cream. There’s plenty in the dessert already.
I sprinkle praline on top just before serving but this is optional. The recipe for praline is in a previous blog; ‘Chocolate Peanut Butter Parfait’