Smooth, rich and utterly delicious, every bite of this pie is an experience. There's a cookie crust, gooey dulce de leche (it's heavenly paired with bananas), a mound of whipped cream and chocolate shavings. So it's easy to put together and the combination of flavors is simple perfection. This is a dessert recipe you must try!
This is one of my favorite desserts, and this easy version is the best I've yet to make. As with the easy banoffee cake recipe, it's all in the details and in the layers. So let's get into the nitty gritty, shall we?
Why is it called Banoffee pie?
Because the original recipe for this pie has bananas and a toffee filling, which is a caramel-like concoction that uses sugar and cream. It was invented in the United Kingdom where toffee is huge. My twist is using dulce de leche, which translates to milk jam, and it's a great substitute.
About this recipe
- Cookie crust: it's the easiest one of them all. No need to labor over homemade pie crust that needs to be chilled. Simply mix ground cookies with melted butter, pat into the pan, bake for ten minutes to solidify and let cool completely. Super simple.
- Dulce de leche: I'm a huge fan of it because I'm from Argentina, where it's the most common jam and used for everything (like the Alfajores recipe that is so popular)
- Flavors: if you never tried bananas and dulce de leche together, you're missing out, let me tell you. Add some whipped cream and chocolate shavings, and the synergy is phenomenal. These are flavors that were meant to be together!
- Make ahead: the cookie crust can be frozen, the dulce de leche can be store bought and lasts for months, and the cream can be whipped a day ahead. So, there is a way to make this dessert even simpler.
- Cookies: or plain wafers or digestive biscuits. However you call them, you need a simple vanilla wafer or graham cracker.
- Butter: unsalted is what we use, but this is a matter of personal taste. If you only have salted butter you can use it for a saltier crust.
- Dulce de leche: it's not hard to make, but I recommend buying a jar of the thick one that's the right one for this filling. Regular dulce de leche is too runny and you won't get perfect slices because it will drip and pool around.
- Bananas: I recommend firm but ripe ones because they have a good color and flavor, but really the right banana for this pie is the one you like to eat, whether that's more or less firm.
- Heavy cream: this is my first choice, but heavy whipping cream also work, as does double. I don't recommend light creams that have little or no fat content.
- Cream cheese: a few tablespoons are added to the cream for stability.
- Powdered sugar: used in the whipped cream.
- Chocolate shavings: a good semisweet chocolate bar is the best choice.
There are three filling layers and a topping to make this easy banoffee pie recipe a success, and they're all necessary and important. So don't be tempted to omit any of them.
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- Type of biscuits: originally made with digestive biscuits, you can also use graham crackers, or any other plain vanilla wafer or cookie. They need to be ground into fine crumbs, so stay away from filled or sandwich cookies. You can also enhance the caramel flavor by adding some brown sugar to the crust.
- The process is very simple: mix the cookie crumbs with the melted butter until it resembles wet sand. You can do this directly in the bowl of a food processor that you use to grind the wafers. Pat firmly in the pie pan and you have two options: simply chill it until firm if you want a no-bake pie, or bake it 10 minutes and then cool it completely before filling. The latter is what I do, because the crust gets even firmer and it's easier to remove from the pan, transfer to the serving plate and cut it without it crumbling.
- Cookie crust: there is a post about how to make a graham cracker crust with a video, tips and more images that you can check out.
Dulce de leche
What you need for this pie is what we call 'pastry' or 'baking' dulce de leche. It's thicker and used for filings because it holds well, similar to the difference you find with commercial peanut butter and the natural version.
You can make it at home but it's usually thinner and when you cut the pie it will spill out. So you have options: 1) Buy it. Nowadays you can find the best pastry dulce de leche brands online and I left the links to the best ones in the Notes section of the recipe card, at the end of this post. 2) Make it yourself with my homemade dulce de leche recipe and follow the instructions on how to thicken it with cornstarch.
Spreading it: we're using a thick ingredient so we need to make sure it doesn't detach the crumbs as we spread it with the back of a spoon or offset spatula (image below). For this we soften the dulce de leche a little (in the microwave is the easiest way) so it's of a better spreadable consistency. It will firm up again as it cools.
How to make dulce de leche from condensed milk: boil an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk over low heat (some do it over medium heat but I prefer a gentle simmering) in a large saucepan or pot with enough water to cover it. The tricky part is knowing when it's done, since you can't open the can to check. But in my experience 2 hours makes a great, rich and amber colored dulce de leche.
They go on top of the caramel sauce. Some recipes like to mix it with the dulce de leche, and you can do that also.
For this layer we need to use fresh bananas that are not overripe, and cut into slices. That's all this step entails. I like to slice bananas rather thick and a little slanted, so you have a solid bite of them. How do you arrange them over the caramel sauce? However you want! It will be covered by a cloud of whipped cream, so it doesn't matter really.
Whipped cream topping
This layers is added on top of the bananas, and the idea is to cover them completely, or almost, so that they don't brown quickly. It's a way to preserve the color longer.
My favorite way to make whipped cream is with powdered sugar (not a lot because the dulce de leche is very sweet) and with a few tablespoons of cream cheese to help it hold better. It doesn't change the flavor but it aids with the texture, especially if you're making the pie the day before.
But, you can absolutely use only cream and sugar, beat them until stiff peaks form and make a traditional chantilly cream.
Baker's tip: using a large bowl to beat this layer is recommended as the cream splatters a bit until it starts to thicken but also because it'll thicken quicker due to the extra room. Remember the cream will double or triple in volume when fully whipped. I found myself whipping more than a cup of cream in a medium bowl and realized it was too small for the amount of ingredients. It seemed it was never going to thicken.
They might look or sound like an afterthought, something that is added just to make the top of the pie look prettier, but it's not. When you bite into this pie you'll realize that the subtle flavor the semisweet chocolate adds is a big part of this banoffee pie experience. So I recommend you don't omit it.
- To make the chocolate shavings, it's best that the chocolate block be at room temperature. I use a kitchen knife and thinly slice it, but you can also use a vegetable peeler. Or make chocolate curls instead of shavings. You have to hold the chocolate in one hand and peel like you would a potato, but your hand will start to melt the chocolate quickly. Or leave it on a flat surface and shave or peel it.
- Dark chocolate: I use between 60% to 72% for most of my chocolate recipes in this blog, and I consider them to be in the semisweet range. You can go up to 85% if it's a type of chocolate you like, which would fall in the bittersweet area in my opinion. The chocolate shavings are not invasive and the dulce de leche is very sweet, so a more bitter chocolate also works.
- Chocolate chips: they don't work as well in my opinion, because they are too clumsy. I recommend you take a bar of chocolate and thinly cut it with a sharp kitchen knife. You'll have different sizes of shards or shavings, and that's the beauty of it. And the quality of the chocolate tends to be better.
But it's your choice of course. You might try it with chocolate chips and love it! If you're going this route, I suggest sprinkling them on top of the dulce de leche.
- Organization: always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
- Whipped cream: be careful at the end so that you don't over beat it as that might make the cream curdle. If in doubt, you can beat the first part with an electric mixer until medium thick, and then change to a hand whisk and beat until you have the desired consistency. It's harder to over beat by hand.
- Make ahead: you can make the cookie crust several days before and keep it at room temperature. The whipped cream can be made up to 2 days before and kept in the refrigerator, well covered. The dulce de leche is a pantry staples as is the chocolate needed for the shavings.
- Serving it: chill the assembled pie (without the chocolate shavings is better) for a few hours before serving it. It allows the layers to settle and the cream to firm up. There's not much to accompany it, as it's a pie that already has everything. More than a few hours in the fridge and the bananas will start to darken. But the flavor will still be amazing! If you plan to add fresh bananas on top as decoration, make sure you do so at the last moment so the color is vibrant.
Frequently asked questions
With this recipe! It's easy because we're using dulce de leche (milk jam) instead of the more laborious toffee. Find the ingredients and instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post.
It can be due to the filling (if the toffee or dulce de leche is not the right consistency) and to the whipped cream that is not firm enough. All the details to achieve a great banoffee pie are found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
It's best eaten up to 24 hours after it's made, and I recommend that it be chilled for 2-3 hours after being assembled, before serving it. It can last for 2-3 days, well covered, in the refrigerator. But keep in mind that the bananas will turn darker with each passing day.
No the whole pie, I don't recommend it at all. The whipped cream and bananas will not have the right texture or consistency after the freezer. But you can make ahead and freeze the cookie crust, and have the cream whipped up to days before assembling it and kept in the refrigerator.
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For the cookie crust:
- 2 cups (200g) cookie crumbs (digestive biscuits, plain vanilla wafers or graham crackers)
- ½ cup (110g) butter, melted
For the whipped cream:
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
For the filling:
- 2 ½ cups (400g) dulce de leche, softened
- 2 ½ to 3 bananas (ready to eat but not brown)
- ¼ cup chocolate, in shavings or curls
For the cookie crust:
- Preheat oven at 350°F/180°C.
- Have ready a 9-inch pie pan with removable bottom. An 8-inch also works but the crust will be thicker.
- Mix crumbs with melted butter in a medium bowl until it resembles wet sand.
- Pat onto a removable 24cm pan and press well, starting at the edges and the angles were it joins the bottom part and make sure it's pressed and compact. This will help when removing the pie from the pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly golden and dry. Let cool completely on metal rack before filling.
- For a no-bake dessert, simply put the crust in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to allow the butter to firm up. This will make it less sturdier and might crumble here and there when you cut it.
For the whipped cream:
- Beat cold heavy cream, cream cheese and powdered sugar in a large bowl until thick and medium peaks form.
- Be careful at the end so that you don't over beat it as that might make the cream curdle. If in doubt, you can beat the first part with an electric mixer until medium thick, and then change to a hand whisk and beat until it's the desired consistency. It's harder to over beat by hand.
- Keep refrigerated, covered, if not using immediately.
For the filling:
- Soften the dulce de leche by placing it in a bowl and microwaving in 10-15 seccond. Mix and see if it's of a nice spreadable consistency. Repeat if necessary.
- Peel bananas and cut in sliced about ¼ inch thick. Do this at the last moment, right before assembling the pie so that they don't turn brown.
- Chop chocolate finely with a kitchen knife or make curls with a peeler. You will have larger and smaller shavings, and some dust.
- Spread dulce de leche on the bottom of the prepared crust and smooth top.
- Top with sliced bananas. Arrange them however you want.
- Top with whipped cream, spreading evenly.
- Sprinkle the chocolate shavings over the cream.
- Refrigerate for an hour before serving and up to a day.
- Keep leftovers refrigerated, covered.
always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
Cookies: or plain wafers or digestive biscuits. However you call them, you need a simple vanilla wafer or graham cracker.
Butter: unsalted is what we use, but this is a matter of personal taste. If you only have salted butter you can use it for a saltier crust.
Dulce de leche: it's not hard to make, but I recommend buying a jar of the thick one that's the right one for this filling. Regular dulce de leche is too runny and you won't get perfect slices because it will drip and pool around. Best brands to buy online: Vacalin Dulce de Leche Repostero (is the best, the one many pastry shops use here in Argentina), and also Dulce de Leche Veronica repostero is very good and I have used it several times.
Bananas: I recommend firm but ripe ones because they have a good color and flavor, but really the right banana for this pie is the one you like to eat, whether that's more or less firm.
Heavy cream: this is my first choice, but heavy whipping cream also work, as does double. I don't recommend light creams that have little or no fat content.
Make ahead: you can make the cookie crust several days before and keep it at room temperature. The whipped cream can be made up to 2 days before and kept in the refrigerator, well covered. The dulce de leche is a pantry staples as is the chocolate needed for the shavings.
Serving it: chill the assembled pie (without the chocolate shavings is better) for a few hours before serving it. It allows the layers to settle and the cream to firm up. There's not much to accompany it, as it's a pie that already has everything. More than a few hours in the fridge and the bananas will start to darken. But the flavor will still be amazing! If you plan to add fresh bananas on top as decoration, make sure you do so at the last moment so the color is vibrant.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Refrigeration time: 60 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Pies & Tarts
- Method: Layering
- Cuisine: International
Keywords: banoffee pie