Let’s start this off with a little bit of out-of-character vulnerability. Every time my wife travels somewhere new, fun, and/or exciting, I’m always just a little bit worried that she won’t come back home to me. I know it’s an unfounded fear (who could stay away from this guy, right?), but I experience it nonetheless.
She recently travelled to the UK to visit family and friends, and unfortunately work prevented me from joining her. With the beauty of the English countryside, what with it’s rolling hills, quaint charm, and copious amounts of fluffy sheep, I wouldn’t have blamed her had she rescheduled her return flight for a week or two later. Knowing how tempting it might be for her to stay, I knew I needed something a little extra special here at home to lure her back. Enter banoffee pie.
Seeing as she was in the birthplace of this particular dessert (in fact, she passed within about 5 kilometers of the East Sussex pub this pie was conceived in), I figured it was the perfect treat to tempt her with. In fact, I thought of it as a sort of transitional meal, one that would make her feel as though maybe she hadn’t fully left England yet. Add to that the very unsatisfactory experience she had with a store bought version while away, and I knew banoffee pie was perfect treat to celebrate her return and remind her that I’m okay if she never leaves me alone ever again.
I attempted this recipe once while she was away, and royally messed up the toffee. I based my recipe off of Carnation®’s, but read through the comments section and saw that many people questioned the time necessary to cook the toffee. I ended up boiling mine for 10x longer than I should have (as recommended by commenters), and once set, I had toffee so hard I nearly bent a butter knife attempting to cut through it. If you’ve never had this sort of pie before, just know that gooey – not extra chewy – is the aim. Thankfully, I reverted to the originally suggested minute-long boil, and the toffee worked out perfectly.
I should also mention that my main adaptation for this recipe (though not the only one) is really just the ingredient amounts. Carnation®’s recipe obviously calls for use of their own sweetened condensed milk, which comes in a 397ml can. Seeing as my local grocer only offers 300ml cans, I had to change things up a little bit. With that being said, on to the recipe:
For the crust:
- 20 Peek Frean digestive biscuits (~215 g.)
- 90 g. melted butter (unsalted)
For the filling:
- 75 g. butter (unsalted)
- 75 g. light brown sugar
- 300 ml. can sweetened condensed milk
- 3 bananas
- 250 ml. whipping cream
- small piece dark chocolate (optional)
- Toss the digestive biscuits in a food processor and pulse until you achieve a breadcrumb consistency
- Add in the melted butter and pulse until all of the mixture is evenly moistened
- Tip the crumble into a pie dish. Use a flat-bottomed glass to press down the mixture evenly along the bottom of the pie dish, pushing the crumble up the sides of the dish as well to create about a cm-wide border. Make sure to apply good pressure to the crust so that it’s well-packed. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 10 minutes
- To make the toffee, place the butter and brown sugar into a non-stick pan, wok, or deep frying pan placed over medium heat
- Stirring constantly, heat the butter and sugar until melted, then add the sweetened condensed milk and turn the heat up to medium-high
- While continuing to stir, bring everything up to a rapid boil and cook for 1 full minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool for another minute.
- Pour the hot toffee overtop of your pie crust, then place in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill
- After about 35 minutes in the freezer, whip up your whipping cream so it’s ready to top the pie with
- Slice the bananas directly onto the toffee layer of the pie (or cut on a cutting board and transfer), creating an even layer. Top this banana layer with your whipped cream, spreading to cover the pie completely
- Grate or shave the chocolate directly overtop of your pie (optional), then refrigerate until ready for serving.
Serves 8-10 comfortably