If there’s one dessert I miss from living in London, it’s banoffee pie. It’s a simple, unassuming dessert with sweet and creamy toffee, tropical bananas, and giant peaks of whipped cream. I could count on it to brighten up even the gloomiest of London days, and it was sure to be on the menu at most pubs and cafés.
Now that I’m back stateside with a shortage of British pubs (but a bit more sun), I’ve started making it for myself. In hindsight, banoffee pie is so easy I wonder why I never made it before. The unfussy, (almost) no-bake dessert can feed a cheering crowd or cheer up a crowd of one.
What Is Banoffee Pie?
If you’re a fan of the Great British Bake Off, then you’ll know that banoffee pie is a popular British dessert. The pie is made with a crumb crust filled with rich caramel, fresh banana slices, and a mound of whipped cream.
The name “banoffee” comes from combining its two main flavors, banana and toffee. Banoffee pie was invented in the 1970s at The Hungry Monk Restaurant in the south of England and quickly became a classic dessert found across the United Kingdom.
What Is Dulce de Leche?
Dulce de leche is a caramel sauce from Latin America made from caramelized milk. It’s thick and spreadable with a rich toffee flavor. It’s excellent in banoffee pie because it’s thick and creamy enough for clean slices of pie, whereas regular caramel sauce is too runny.
Grocery stores often stock dulce de leche in the baking aisle near the sweetened condensed milk. Look for Nestle La Lechera or Eagle Brand dulce de leche. If your local grocery store doesn’t carry it, try a Latin market or online.
How to Prevent Bananas from Browning
There’s nothing quite as disheartening as slicing into a homemade banana dessert to find that the once-fresh bananas have turned an ugly brown. While they’re still perfectly fine to eat, a couple of precautions will prevent brown banana slices in your banoffee pie.
Save overripe bananas for banana bread. For banoffee pie, use just-ripe, yellow bananas with no green and maybe a few brown spots. Browning is caused by oxidation, so limit the banana’s exposure to air by slicing the bananas just before using them and ensuring they are completely covered by whipped cream.
Make Ahead and Storage
You can make this easy, no-bake dessert even easier by preparing it ahead of time or using some shortcuts. Make the crust up to 3 days in advance and store it, covered, in the refrigerator until you’re ready to finish assembling the pie.
Or skip baking the graham cracker crust altogether by using store-bought instead. The assembled pie will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, so feel free to make it the day before serving.
Creamy, Dreamy Pies
- Piña Colada Pie
- Mint Chocolate Cream Pie
- Lemon Icebox Pie
- Banana Cream Pie
- Peanut Butter Pie
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Make the graham cracker crumbs (optional):
If you’re starting from whole graham crackers, use a food processor to grind them into fine crumbs. If you do not have a food processor, place the graham crackers in a 1-gallon zip-top bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into fine crumbs.
Make the crust:
In a medium mixing bowl, stir the graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and salt together with a rubber spatula. Add the melted butter and mix until the crumbs are evenly moistened and the mixture looks sandy. Break up any large clumps with the spatula.
Transfer the crumb mixture to a standard, 9-inch pie plate. Use your hand or the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crumbs firmly into an even layer along the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate to make a crust.
Bake the crust and add the dulce de leche:
Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until it begins to turn golden. Let the crust cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
Scrape the dulce de leche into the cooled pie crust and gently spread it into an even layer with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.
Make the whipped cream:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. The cream should thicken and when you pull the whisk out of the bowl, the peak should stand up. Don’t overwhip the cream or it will curdle.
Assemble the pie:
Peel the bananas and slice them into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Top the dulce de leche with the banana slices in an even layer.
Spoon the whipped cream onto the pie and spread it to cover the bananas completely.
Refrigerate the pie, uncovered, for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
To serve, sprinkle the top of the pie with chocolate shavings or dust with cocoa powder.
Store leftover pie, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To prevent the exposed bananas from browning, press a small piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap against the cut edges.
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