Baby Banoffees

14 Jul 2011

Banana + Toffee = Banoffee

Banoffee is {but, clearly, should not be} one of my besties.

I can explain. You see, the supreme flavor combination of banana and toffee draws to mind a very distinct memory of having the most wonderfully romantic dinner with my father as a small girl. We were eating at one of those old fashioned ‘supper clubs’ whereby my dad would order an old-fashioned for himself and a kiddy cocktail for me in the lounge as we awaited our table in the –highly upholstered- dining room. We had a lovely meal and when it came time for dessert, a handsome man in a white coat and special shiny cart promptly arrived at our table.

Through my little girl wide-as-pie-eyes, what happened from there appeared to be like a fantastical scene out of Willy Wonka. As the man calmly and professionally sliced up fresh bananas, whipped, poured, stirred and magically created a flame of blue fire, he described each detail of his process with humour and prose. In the end, he eloquently presented each of us with a piping hot, creamy, caramel-y Bananas Foster on silver plates. The aroma and flavor were like heaven on earth. *Unforgettable*

Fast forward to 2005. I walk into an Irish café and see the Banoffee in the dessert case onnnnce again {it’s everywhere} and decide to dive in and give it try. The banana + dulce de leche flavor sends me right back to being daddy’s best girl all dressed up at a supper club on a midsummer’s night. Instantly, I am committed to Banoffee.

Banoffee can be found around Ireland at most cafes’ and on the dessert menu at many restaurants, but, in fact, as I researched for this post, I discovered that this pie originated in England.  As the story goes, the cake’s invention is claimed by Ian Dowding and Nigel Mackenzie at The Hungry Monk restaurant in Jevington, East Sussex. They developed the dessert in 1972, having been inspired by an American dish known as “Blum’s Coffee Toffee Pie”, which consisted of smooth toffee topped with coffee-flavoured whipped cream. Dowding adapted the recipe to instead use the type of soft caramel toffee created by boiling a can of condensed milk, and worked with Mackenzie to add a layer of bananas. They called the dish “Banoffi” and it was an immediate success, proving so popular with their customers that they couldn’t take it off the menu.

Yes, the recipe calls for boiling a can of condensed milk. Yes, it works. But go on, give it a try because I know you just want to see for yourself. It’s a fun and easy no-bake treat to make with children. You can prepare one big pie or a few baby sized like I did.

…and if you can get farm fresh cream, even better.

Banoffee Pie

For the toffee sauce:

1 (405g) tin of condensed milk

For the Base:

350g of digestives or tea biscuits of your choice (in the USA, graham crackers

would work)

150g of butter, melted

300ml whipping cream

3 bananas, sliced

Cocoa or choc shavings (optional)

To make the toffee sauce, remove the label of the condensed milk and immerse it in boiling water. Boil the tin for 2 – 3 hours. The longer you boil it, the darker and thicker the toffee will be. Make sure that the tin is FULLY immersed in water at all times, otherwise, the tin could explode.  (You can also buy pre-made caramel in tins or make the dulce de leche from scratch like this )

For the base, crush the digestives and mix it with melted butter (you can blitz in a food processor as well). Using a pestle or back of a spoon, press the digestives into a 9″-diameter tart base with a removable bottom (or 4-6 mini tart tins). Chill the crust in refrigerator for at least one hour. Meanwhile, whip the cream until it’s stiff.

Fold sliced bananas into whipped cream. Spread a layer of toffee and top with the banana cream. Sprinkle with cocoa or dark chocolate shavings.

Slan Abhaile,


Photos and styling by Imen McDonnell. Assisted by Master Geoffrey McDonnell


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10 Responses to “Baby Banoffees”

  1. Ana Martinez says:

    You just get dulce de leche, Argentinian favorite. Just let it cool after boiling the can, Otherwise serious risk to get burned!

  2. Holy moly! That looks and sounds amazing!

  3. Oh! I had bananas foster out with my dad too! Wrapped in crepes with ice cream, it was the best thing I’ve ever had in my life. I love this post. See you soon!

  4. Lucy says:

    that looks so good – am drooling. I remember the first time someone told me about boiling condensed milk, I was amazed, and indeed it is amazing! tee hee

  5. Christine says:

    Mmmm I love Banoffee Pie. I make it several times a year, ever since a trip to Scotland we went on a few years ago. It’s always a hit, and yes the condensed milk work and adds an incredible flavor and texture to it. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  6. KathleenC says:

    Oh my oh my. Caramel and bananas and whipped cream? I’m in heaven. I must make this. MUST.
    But I don’t think I will have a Shirley Temple as well. I don’t expect I’d enjoy that as a grownup now… not as much as I will the pie!

  7. Móna Wise says:

    Imen, this is just gorgeous. I am (also) not a fan of this dessert, but it seems so easy to make, I might make it for the kids this weekend.
    I hope you are enjoying your holidays. xxx

    • imen says:

      I bet the kids will love it…but will be major sugar rush so watch out! Thanks Mona..we are having loads of fun! Hope you are enjoying the summer! x

  8. TheGlutton says:

    Oh. My. Word. If ever there was a picture made for drooling over then that is it!! I am not a huge fan of banoffi or toffee based desserts but seriously, looking at that picture had turned me around. Fabulous 🙂

    • imen says:

      You are so sweet! I wasn’t sure about this photo as it’s so close-up! So very pleased that it grabbed your attention…thanks so much! xx

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