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Front Page - Friday, August 7, 2015

Kay’s Cooking Corner

Banoffee Pie: a cool, creamy summer dessert!

This column was originally published in the Hamilton County Herald on Aug. 15, 2014.

This past Sunday evening, our church had a special choir program and dinner. This is always an enjoyable time because not only do we get to sit back and listen to the beautiful music the choir has performed during the past year, we also get to eat a wonderful meal afterward! This time, we had shrimp and grilled sausages with corn-on-the-cob and oven-roasted potatoes. It was so good!

For dessert, the people in the choir provided pies. Some were homemade and some were store bought, but all were delicious! And all were eaten!

My favorite pie there – or at least, the one that got the most attention for being good and different was one made by a friend of mine, Carolyn Jolley. I can’t say it was my favorite because the ones I tasted were all so good! But Carolyn’s definitely got the most “Ooos” and “Ahhhs.” Even the name got attention: Banoffee Pie.

Maybe you’ve had this particular pie; perhaps you’ve even made it. But it was the first time I’d heard of or tasted it. Sad for me … It won’t be the last time, though! In fact, that’s the recipe I have for you this week.

The name – Banoffee Pie – might sound deceiving. Or maybe it’s just me. I love coffee, so I assumed it had a coffee flavor. I was wrong – but not disappointed. The “offee” part of the name comes from a toffee or caramel filling made with sweetened condensed milk.

A traditional British dessert, Banoffee Pie has its share of enthusiasts on this side of the pond, too. Banana slices, sticky toffee, and whipped cream are layered over a graham cracker crust. The result? A cool, creamy treat that leaves you way too satisfied to do anything else. When looking for a recipe, be prepared, there are many!

I decided to send two different recipes. Or maybe I should say, one recipe with a variation. The recipe uses a crust you prepare from scratch and caramel you make from scratch. It’s definitely time consuming. The variation uses a pre-made crust and caramel cream, which cuts off hours of preparation. Plus the pre-made crust and caramel cream are much easier and much faster – but maybe not as much fun!

This pie made its debut at The Hungry Monk, a pub in England, in 1972. Traditional recipes involve boiling unopened cans of condensed milk, but since that sometimes results in explosions, there are easier methods.

I remember making a similar pie in the 70’s; it might have been this one and my memory is Just. That. Bad. I guess I was lucky because I never had a can of exploding condensed milk like some people (not unlike the pressure cooker explosions I can tell you about).

It does, however, take a long time (about two hours) to boil a can of condensed milk into a can of make-it-yourself caramel. By the way – I can sit and eat the entire can by myself. It’s that good.

But, enough of that. Here are the recipes. I hope they turn out great, and thank you, Carolyn, for turning us on to this pie!  

Kay Bona is a staff writer for the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist and photographer. Contact her at kay@dailydata.com.

Banoffee Pie

For the crust:

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons melted butter

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 teaspoon grated ginger

Stir the melted butter, ginger, and graham cracker crumbs together until well blended. (This is important to keep the crust from falling apart) Spread onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Chill for at least one hour.

To make the toffee filling:

2, 14 oz. cans sweetened cond. milk

4 bananas

1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Grated chocolate for garnish

To create toffee filling, caramelize the sweetened condensed milk. Pour the condensed milk into a 9 inch by 12 inch by 2 inch glass baking dish. Cover with foil and place dish inside a larger poaching pan. Add water to poaching pan until half way up sides of baking dish. Bake for one and a half hours.

Once the toffee filling has cooled, spread half of the filling evenly inside crust. Slice the bananas and layer on top of filling. Pour remaining half of filling over bananas, spreading evenly. Whip the cream with the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and spread on top of the pie. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the other recipe, buy a prepared graham cracker crust, get two cans of La Lechera (by Nestle) from the Mexican foods aisle of your grocery, and then to make it super easy, get some already whipped topping. Assemble according to the recipe above and refrigerate at least two hours. Sprinkle a bit of shaved chocolate on the top just before serving! Oo la la!!!