Banoffee Pie

When Andy and I lived in England, we would visit his grandparents nearly every weekend for a roast dinner. I could wax poetic about Nanny’s roast dinner for ages, but you can read about it here. Nanny made everything from scratch, but she rarely made dessert. Yet she always had at least two (if not three) store-bought desserts for us four. There was always a raspberry pavlova (Andy’s favorite) and often both Tesco’s Mandarin Cheesecake and Banoffee Pie (my favorites).

I must take after my English nanny, because until last weekend I had never made Banoffee pie either. But it was Mom’s birthday and I was trying to figure out what to make her for her—it’s a known fact in our family that Mom much prefers pie to cake. Andy and I also happened to speak to Nanny that day and it triggered my memory…Banoffee pie! The whole family would love it.

“Banoffee” pretty much speaks for itself: banana & toffee. A simple, homemade graham cracker crust, a thick layer of dulce de leche, topped with sliced bananas, fluffy whipped cream and shaved chocolate. Aside from reducing the sweetened condensed milk to make the dulce de leche, this pie comes together in less than 30 minutes.

And don’t worry, this pie isn’t about perfection. It will look better if you refrigerate it for a while before slicing and serving, but if you can’t wait (like us), you can slice it and spoon it onto plates with a large serving spoon. But who cares about looks? This pie is sweet, creamy, banana-y heaven.

Simple Banoffee Pie
Serves 6 to 8

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk, label removed
1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons sugar, divided
5 tablespoons butter, melted
2 large (or 3 medium) bananas, sliced
1 ½ cups chilled heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup shaved (or chopped) semi- or bittersweet chocolate

Set sweetened condensed milk can in a medium saucepan with water to come ¾ of the way up. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered and adding water as needed, about 3 hours. Remove can from pan; let cool until warm. (Do not open too soon as milk may spurt if can is hot.)

Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix graham crackers crumbs and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a medium bowl. Add butter and stir with a fork until well incorporated. Dump crumbs into a 9-inch glass pie plate and spread evenly over bottom. Use a flat-bottomed measuring cup to press crumbs evenly over pan bottom and up the sides. Using each index finger, press crumbs around the top edge to even the crust and secure loose crumbs. Bake until fragrant, about 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Whip cream to fairly stiff peaks with remaining sugar and vanilla extract.

To assemble pie, spread reduced and cooled, sweetened condensed milk over pie bottom, top with bananas, and then the whipped cream. Sprinkle with chocolate and refrigerate until ready to serve (Can be made several hours before serving.)