Pies over fries: Rich and decadent, this dulce de leche Banoffee Pie is instant love!

Published: May 1, 2018
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Banoffee pie is made of four simple layers – cookies, caramel, fresh bananas and whipped cream. PHOTO: ARHAMA SIDDIQA

Dessert has always been a big deal for me. I’m generally a pretty clean eater who will happily order the side salad over the fries and have fresh juice or milk for breakfast. But put me face-to-face with a slice of cheesecake or a slice of apple pie with ice cream, and I’ll never be able to say no – even when I’m already full.

Since every generation changes food habits from time to time, from having fruit before dinner to consuming water during or after meals, I assume dessert at the end of a meal has stuck around for a good reason. Speaking of which, the word ‘dessert’ comes from French, where dessert is the participle of desservir, to de-serve, that is, “ to remove what has been served”. It was first used in France in 1539. Interestingly, in its original usage, dessert meant what you ate after the meal had been cleared away; fresh fruit or the kind of dried fruits and candied nuts that used to be called ‘sweetmeats’. And almost 100 years later, in the 18th century, it was borrowed into both British and American English.

I grew up learning that having something sweet after a meal is Sunnah, something which the Prophet (pbuh) used to practice. Of course, sometimes we use this as an excuse to cave in to our sweet tooth and over-indulge in post-meal dessert. Nonetheless, even just a couple of bites of something sweet after a meal is just the right way to end it. And of course, food cravings need to be honoured. I think that is how the language of food goes.

This time around, I decided to go for the easiest, quickest, most superb no-bake pie you’ll ever make. Banoffee pie is made of four simple layers – cookies, caramel, fresh bananas and whipped cream.

The first time I had this dessert was in a sleep-deprived, post-exam state in England at a friend’s place, and it was instant love. Rich, decadent and loaded with bananas, dulce de leche and whipped cream, this Banoffee Pie has everything to fix your sweet cravings! This is not a classic dulce de leche recipe, which usually involves one single ingredient that you have to cook for several hours, but instead a quick version that is halfway between caramel and toffee.

Credit for the pie’s invention goes to Ian Dowding (chef) and Nigel Mackenzie (owner) at The Hungry Monk restaurant in East Sussex. They developed the dessert in 1972, having been enthused by an American dish known as Blum’s Coffee Toffee Pie, which consisted of smooth toffee topped with coffee-flavoured whipped cream. Dowding modified the recipe to use a type of soft caramel toffee created by boiling a can of condensed milk instead, 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.

And with “meethi” (sweet) Eid not too far away, it is also the perfect thing to serve on the occasion!

Ingredients:

Digestive biscuits: 10-15 crushed in a processor

Butter: 2 tbsp

Sweetened condensed milk: 1 tin made into dulce de leche*

Bananas: 4-5

Whipping cream: 1 cup whipped

Crushed cadbury flakes or grated chocolate: As per taste

Walnuts (optional)

Method:

1. Heat the butter in a pan and add the crushed digestive biscuits. Mix together.

2. Switch off stove and pour the biscuit mixture into a dish and pat down flat.

3. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for a couple of hours to solidify the base.

4. Pour the dulce de leche (which will now be thick yummy toffee) on top of the biscuit layer.

5. Slice bananas and lay them all over the toffee.

6. Finally, pour the whipped cream and sprinkle the chocolate. You can garnish with walnuts, but it’s optional.

7. Refrigerate until chilled and serve.

Enjoy!

*For dulce de leche, pour tin of condensed milk in a microwave bowl and keep heating and stirring before it boils over. Keep doing this till the colour changes and the texture has solidified a little.

All photos: Arhama Siddiqa

Arhama Siddiqa

Arhama Siddiqa

The author is a LUMS and University of Warwick Alumnus and is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI). She calls herself a bibliophile,a dreamer and an avid foodie. She also has a food website at www.chakhoous.com

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Syed

    Nice article..Recommend

  • Patwari

    Wow! The pictures are mouth watering perfect. Plus the info/history, makes it more, shall we say
    interesting and palatable. This is some desert! For sure. You hit it out of the ballpark with this one.
    Seriously, not sure if ‘yours truly’ has ever eaten this Banoffee pie. Not even in the Queen’s Realm.
    Very anxious to try this one. Looks scrumptious. Can tell you, this, is a perfect dish for Nuruz.
    Will be visiting Mesopotamia next month. For ziarats, and to visit some archaeological sites.
    This is where Gilgamesh’s ancient kingdom was, ancient Babylonian/Sumerian area.
    Because ‘yours truly’ is an amateur archaeologist, more like a hobby. In Ancient Civilizations.
    May even visit where Alexander the Great died. [There is no tomb. Nobody knows where he was buried…maybe cremated?]
    Any food suggestions regarding local, rather indigenous, cuisine?
    Will be just a stone’s throw, plus a hop and a skip, from your city. Or 1645 miles as the crow flies.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Now see, this is exactly why I think this is one of the best blogs on this site …. because it teaches you so much. This dessert is a must try, I’ve already emailed it to my wife. It looks simple enough but I’m sure will be delicious and I’m one who loves ‘ meetha ‘ after dinner. Reminds me of Sticky Toffee Pudding.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    thank you =)Recommend

  • Hamsid

    thank you so much ! its comments that make it worth actually writing something honestly , something to look forward to

    it is VERY simple! and it is definitely like toffee pudding (I had it once and now I am craving it suddenly after reading your comment) only pudding is much mushierRecommend

  • Hamsid

    also If you have any ideas for ramazan sehri and iftar please do give recommendations because for some reason I am stumped and want to try something new and easyRecommend

  • Hamsid

    thank you very very much
    I reiterate , its the comments that make me want to write in the first placeRecommend

  • Hamsid

    I had a chance to visit Iran last July and it is beautiful
    wanted to write a blog on it but i guess sheer laziness beat me to it sadly
    Before landing in Tehran, I for some reason thought I would be landing in a backward country stone age types, but I was pleasantly surprised, it is absolutely beautiful as are the people, culture and the food of course.
    They are very simple people even in food, and thats what makes it beautiful, I should blog about this actually come to think of it!
    I would say try Gaz their famous sweet , much like turkish delight actually
    and of course the saffron rice and jojeh and chellow kebabs if I am spelling them right.
    Ok i want to go back to Iran right nowRecommend

  • Parvez

    Although I’m no cook but I noticed that you said to make the dulce de leche you pour the condensed milk into a microwave bowl and keep heating and stirring…… why a microwave bowl ? You can’t heat and stir in a microwave oven …. or am I just daft.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Er, hmm, well, see,…yours truly’ is not going to Darius the Great or Cyrus the
    Great or Hammurabi the Code Giver’s homeland. A little more due west.
    Going to Nebuchadnezzar’s, and Gilgamesh’s country. Which lies between
    the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Assyrians also held forth here at one time.
    You must have read about the ‘Hanging Gardens of Babylon’ one of the seven
    wonders of the ancient world? Time to google now.
    Alexander the Great did not die in Ancient Persia. On his return journey from
    Hub River area near Karachi, he rounded the Straits of Hormuz, and went straight up to a marshy area which is in….which country? Make a guess.
    [his fever symptoms, as described by his physicians, were similar to malaria]
    Gave you so many clues! Did you fail history? Hmm….Recommend

  • Patwari

    You are not stumped. Just have to dig a little deeper and there,
    a cornucopia of recipes is waiting to be brought out.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Heat enough on low, medium, power settings, wattage so it won’t boil over.
    Take it out stir/mix well. Do again if necessary. Until color changes. This way
    it may be faster, quicker. Rather than on an open flame.
    Condensed milk takes longer to boil.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Any food suggestions, regarding local cuisine?
    Specially bread.
    There is a place in Defense Housing area, Karachi
    with a Middle Eastern bread-oven. They only cook
    this pita type bread which is found all over Middle East.
    Mind you it’s not a tandoor. Bread is prettyyyy good.
    Surely this bread is available in Isloo.Recommend

  • Parvez

    I see that you recently went to Iran ( the land of my ancestors ) ….. and one country that I have not seen but would like to if I get the opportunity. One of my friends who has visited regularly ( religious pilgrimages ) says it’s quite amazing.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Asking me for ideas is a bad idea …… now you’ve forced me to think …..uff!Recommend

  • Hamsid

    I hope so! , right now its like my brain has stoppedRecommend

  • Hamsid

    IRAQ!
    I have never been , I probably have the wrong perception here as well but I guess after the US invasion I didn’t think it had properly recuperated? and especially after IS?Recommend

  • Hamsid

    do share how your experience!Recommend

  • Hamsid

    no no because it comes in a tin and you cant put tin in a microwave it will explode- this is experience talking!Recommend

  • Hamsid

    3 hours to be precise , that is why microwaveable is betterRecommend

  • Hamsid

    Nooo I have a type of bread in mind which you may be talking about but again I am not sure and the name of the place escapes me sadly at the moment, its in centarus… Papa Roti! is that it , hard from the outside soft in the center?Recommend

  • Hamsid

    it is I swear and its sad being our neighbour people should visit regardless of religious sites or not , its historical and culture wise amazingRecommend

  • Patwari

    You are correct. It has not recovered properly. True.
    There is still violence. But then, nowadays, violence
    and extremism is just about everywhere, over the globe.
    However, did ample research, in hotels, transportation etc.
    plus there will be guides, who will escort throughout the trip.
    So to make sure you don’t wander into the bad part of towns.
    And to keep you away from unsafe regions.
    Actually, this is the basic procedure, during ziarats. [and in this
    case, throw in some visits to archaeological sites and museums]
    Viola! There you have it.Recommend

  • Parvez

    That much even I understood ……but I thought you could empty it out in a sauce pan an heat it over a gas/ electric fire and this enables you to keep a watch over it ….. and you had a tin explode in your microwave ….. awesome.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Absolutely. You are not suppose to put any kind metal
    inside the microwave. Not even tinfoil.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Sorry, not tin foil, aluminum foil, basically is used to cover pans and trays when baking in ovens.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Well, same type like the Afghan bread. Or Persian bread.
    These breads are big, thick. More like oversize tandoori
    nans. Say, not very familiar with Afghan/Persian cuisine.
    Ate kababs in a Persian restaurant, once, that looked like
    giant seekh kababs, wrapped in bread with some kind of
    leaf like ‘sabzi’, which was green in color. That’s the extent.
    As you well know they don’t have tandoors, there’s these
    cone shape communal/neighborhood ovens.
    They do have tawas. To cook roti like bread in their homes.
    Oh well, will find out about Mesopotamia’s local cuisine soon
    enough.
    And then, there is always pizza, just about everywhere…hmmm…Recommend

  • Parvez

    Go back in history and we had something called RCD in the mid 60’s between Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. It was a good concept and if properly nurtured it would have been beneficial for all…..but als it all fizzled out within a decade.
    The nearest I got to the region was two visits to Basra in Iraq in the mid 70’s and I also had my children along, though very small …. and it was fun.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    I know you’ll roll your eyes but I think you were part of the diplomatic servicesRecommend

  • Hamsid

    hahah pizza is like an international staple of sorts !
    no this is why I love this blog and the comments I didn’t know they didn’t have tandoors!
    I am actually going to be making a presentation for kids next to next weekend on different types of cuisines from around the world and different eating habits as well. Any ideas would be welcome, we don’t have a tag option here but Parvez too!Recommend

  • Hamsid

    That would again take 3-4 hours which is too long and way too much wastage of gas.
    oh yeah years ago and the repercussions not so good! The sparkly blue light that emitted through the in before its final explosion still haunts meRecommend

  • Parvez

    You asked for ideas, so I have one ……. KEEP IT SIMPLE. What I see is the spirit of the month of ramazan gets lost and it quickly degenerates into a feasting extravaganza. If one must splurge then do so by giving to the less fortunate….and there are many.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    i agree with you a 100 percent ,thats why I want to look at ideas that are simple, easy to make and not costlyRecommend

  • Parvez

    Far from it …..but for some years I did work in a company ( purely a commercial venture ) owned by a very senior diplomat …. and I got a small glimpse of the world of my boss.
    I see that the guessing game it’s still agitating your mind :-)Recommend

  • Parvez

    Today you can look back and call it ….fun.Recommend

  • Parvez

    If you are talking to up market children ….. talking of food from around the world would make sense. If you are talking to those who have not travelled, I would suggest gently asking them about the many diverse sects who make up Pakistan and then give them an example of each of their foods. Of course there’s no harm in telling that Pizza and spaghetti is from Italy….Burgers from America……noodles from China….kebabs from etc, etc
    What ever you do ….. make it a fun thing.Recommend

  • Patwari

    How about fishing with cormorants in China.
    An ancient and unique way of catching fish with a bird.
    Done only in China. The kids will be thrilled, hopefully.
    Just about everyone and his brother in Pakland knows
    where China is. Then, how they eat there, with chopsticks.
    If you can get a hold of chopsticks…to demonstrate…
    Now this getting out of hand….!
    Google please! ‘Cormorant fishing’.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    Its a US Embassy project and their ages range from 8-15 years, making them learn english is the goal here, I am volunteering for a friend who is helping to open libraries across the country in collaboration with HEC…
    But this idea is actually great, show them different kinds of food from around Pakistan
    then maybe to make it fun different food habits from around the world.. thank you !Recommend

  • Hamsid

    eeee I give up , you lead an exciting life MA thats my conclusion!Recommend

  • Hamsid

    I just did , that is so cool !, again I love love love this blog period.
    I learnt of another tradition back in my undergrad days, while we are told to eat with our mouths closed, it is considered as a sign of disrespect and an indication that the food is not tasty enough in some African societies !Recommend

  • Parvez

    :-) …..that’s very kind of you.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Admirable project …. what little I understand of children is its important to GRAB their attention …. deliver the message without boring them … and reward them in the end ( burgers, pizza, Coke , ice cream ).
    Hope it goes well…..do write about the experience.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Yes. That is so true. Do not eat with your mouth open.
    Not to mention the noise emanating from the mouth.
    All that chewing noise. Gross. Yech!Recommend

  • Patwari

    Well, that depends on the budget of the presentation. If there is any.
    “show them different foods” assuming it’s a slide show. or pictures mixed
    with a running commentary from Arhama or any other chosen mode.
    Either way, rewarding them with candy might do the trick too. Because
    Coke, burgers, pizza, ice cream is quite an expensive proposition.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    yes I will definitely =)
    thank you!Recommend

  • AJ

    I love learning new recipes from your blogs and then making them. I have severe sweet tooth and your recipes are not too complicated and delicious. Thank youRecommend

  • AJ

    Looks very yummy. I will definitely try. The only problem is to make dulce de leche properly.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    thank you!
    it seems hard but honestly make it in the microwave its super easy and no time at all , cooking it on the stove effective yes but time and gas consumingRecommend

  • Hamsid

    you’r welcome =)Recommend