Banoffee pie, as in "banana toffee pie," strikes an amusing balance between buttery rich sweetness and everyday fruit flavors. This playfulness is exactly what makes it extraordinary. This no-bake pie cuts into a buttery cookie crust full of a creamy brown sugar-flavored toffee filling. Just try saying that three times fast! Topping the sumptuous toffee filling with seemingly ordinary bananas and barely sweetened whipped cream brings balance back to every bite. Be assured this is still one seriously sweet dessert, but one that leaves a wake of ardent admirers in its wake.
Learn how to whip up a picture-perfect crumb crust and a sweet toffee filling, and make the best banoffee pie you'll ever have with this recipe.
"Banoffee" Banana Toffee Pie: Watch the Video
What Is Banoffee Pie?
Banoffee pie is a classic British dessert, reportedly invented by a pub owner in the 1970s. The original recipe called for a short pastry pie crust (aka classic flaky pie crust), a creamy toffee-like filling cooked from a can of sweetened condensed milk, and whipped cream and bananas on top. Many modern recipes use a crumb crust made with digestive biscuits and make a toffee from scratch. Our banoffee falls somewhere in the middle, with a shortbread cookie crumb crust and a toffee filling that includes both sugar and the classic sweetened condensed milk.
Here's what we will cover in this recipe.
- The crust: Learn to make a picture-perfect crumb crust that won't fall apart.
- The toffee: Harness sweetened condensed milk's power for thickening.
- The toppings: Learn when to add the bananas and the best whipped cream to use.
How to Make a No-Bake Crumb Crust
As a nod to the original short pastry crust of banoffee pie, this recipe calls for shortbread cookies. Now, this crumb crust isn't baked so you want to be doubly sure that the crust's cookie-to-butter ratio is correct before you start pressing it into a tart pan. Grab a handful and squeeze it firmly: Does it stick together in a tight ball and stay together when picked up? Good. Your crumb mixture is ready for crust making. If you had a particularly dry shortbread cookie, add another tablespoon of butter, process, and try the press test again.
For a Really Pretty, Crumble-Proof Crumb Crust
- Build this pie in a loose-bottom tart pan rather than a pie plate, so that you can easily remove the pie and you'll have pretty crimped sides.
- Use a heavy-bottomed glass to firmly pack the crumb mixture into the bottom and sides of the tart pan.
- The longer you can chill the crust — both before filling and before cutting, — the better.
How to Make a Toffee Filling
Believe it or not, the classic banoffee pie filling is nothing more than sweetened condensed milk boiled until caramelized in the can. Personally, I find the resulting caramel a bit tinny in taste, beyond the fact that the process takes several hours. Instead, we'll make a quick toffee-flavored syrup with brown sugar and butter and then add a can of sweetened condensed milk. Sweet condensed milk adds a malty richness to be sure, but its greatest power is as a thickener. As it cools, the sweetened condensed milk thickens, making a silky-smooth toffee filling with just a few minutes of cooking.
How to Top a Banoffee Pie
Are you wondering where the banana is yet? Banoffee pie is topped with slices of fresh banana and whipped cream. The cookie crumb crust and the toffee filling are so incredibly sweet that I recommend using an unsweetened whipped cream for the topping, but I've included amounts for sweetening as desired.
Slice and garnish with the bananas just before serving and top the bananas with the whipped cream to prevent the bananas from discoloring. A dusting of bittersweet or dark chocolate shavings also tempers the toffee's sweetness, although it isn't required.
How To Make Banoffee Pie
Makes 1 (9-inch) pie; serves 10 to 12
What You Need
- For the crust:
shortbread cookies, such as Lorna Doone
(1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- For the toffee filling:
(1 stick) unsalted butter
packed dark brown sugar
(14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- For the topping:
cold heavy cream
powdered sugar (optional)
Grated dark chocolate (optional)
Measuring cups and spoons
10-inch tart pan with removable bottom
Heavy drinking glass
Electric hand mixer or whisk
Make the crust: Place the cookies in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse to fine crumbs, about 10 to 12 (1-second) pulses. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks wet and holds together when pressed. Transfer the crumbs to a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Using the bottom of a heavy drinking glass, press the crust firmly and evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Make the filling: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and salt and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring continuously, until the mixture is dark, about 2 minutes.
Fill and chill: Pour the filling into the prepared crust and smooth into an even layer. Refrigerate again for 1 hour.
Whip the cream: When ready to serve, whip the cream with an electric hand mixer or by hand in a bowl with a whisk to stiff peaks, about 5 minutes on medium speed. You can sweeten the cream with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar, but keep in mind that the toffee filling is quite sweet.
Garnish the pie: Slice the bananas and place evenly on top of the pie. Dollop on the whipped cream and garnish with shaved chocolate, if desired.
- Make ahead: The crust and the filling can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Add the bananas and the whipped cream just before serving.
- Storage: Store leftovers, loosely wrapped in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator overnight.