Before coming to Britain, I’m not sure I knew banoffee pie existed. Many years of my life were wasted in this deprived state, but now I am enlightened and have found peace and fulfillment.
Or something like that.
Seriously though, banoffee is a big deal, It was love at first bite for me, and if you’re a Britophile who has not yet tasted this English delicacy I want you to drop everything and go make one immediately. Actually, keep reading this so you can get the recipe!
Where it all Started:
Banoffee pie (also spelled “banoffi pie”) is one of those dishes with a definitive birthday. It was concocted in 1972 by Nigel Mackenzie and Ian Dowding at The Hungry Monk Restaurant in Jevington, East Sussex (not far from where the classic arctic roll was invented in the 50s). They were actually riffing off an American dish called Blum’s Coffee Toffee Pie which was tasty, but very difficult to make. Mackenzie and Dowding tweaked it though, and the result was utterly spectacular.
If you’re not familiar with the makeup of the banoffee pie, the most popular version is devastatingly simple:
- crushed biscuit base
- layer of sticky caramel
- layer of sliced bananas
- gobs of whipped topping
Oh yeah. It’s divine.
|This is my look of utter contentment. An angel made banoffee pie for my birthday.|
Banoffee Takes on the World
Given my passionate devotion to the dish, I was thrilled to learn that it is a guilty favorite of none other than Benedict Cumberbatch. Nothing like banoffee to satisfy a sweet tooth. Also, some say that banoffee was Margaret Thatcher’s favourite thing to cook, and that Princess Diana liked a slice now and then.
When you taste banoffee, you dine with the greats.
People. just. can’t. get. enough. Now there is so much more to banoffee than pie! With a little internet searching I found banoffee sprinkles, seaside rock, fudge, porridge, and hot chocolate, which might sound like logical descendants of the delicious pie. Lip balm is getting a little out-there, and vodka might be a stretch, but the grand prize for weirdness goes to banoffee bait flavour! Yes, you can now catch fish with the tantalizing scent of bananas and toffee. Let me know how that works for you.
Finally, the Recipe.
OK, so by no
w I figure you’re dying to whip one of these up yourself. Hold it! First you’ve got to decide which version of the pie to make. And there are plenty of them.
The original recipe involves shortcrust pastry and instant coffee. This is rather different from the pies I’ve tasted, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the creative changes people have made to this recipe over the years. But as Dowding himself says, “Nobody ever invents dishes – they evolve.” As long as it’s got toffee, bananas, and cream, it’s banoffee in my book.
My go-to British recipe expert is Felicity Cloake from the Guardian. This lady does her research! In her article How to Make the Perfect Banoffee Pie, she compares several different recipes and picks the best features of each to create a truly mouthwatering specimen. Trust me, you want to make this.
So go forth and bake, Britophiles! But before you do,