All About Banoffee

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.

All About Banoffee
This is my look of utter contentment. An angel made banoffee pie for my birthday.


Banoffee Takes on the World


Benedict Cumberbatch loves banoffee pie. This is so perfect.
Ian Dowding is humble when it comes to discussing his most famous accomplishment, saying, “It’s not as if we’d discovered the double helix or cold fusion.” But the way his first customers reacted, it was obvious that something special had been born. The dish became popular so quickly, it spread to many far-flung countries in just a few years. Banoffee has purportedly been served at Buckingham Palace itself.

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.

All About Banoffee


Peculiar Variations


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, fudgeporridge, 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,

What is your favorite British dessert?
Photo Credit:
banoffee pie by Klara
Blue Plaque for food! © Copyright Kevin Gordon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Banoffee Strawberry Pie by Pinot Dita

Benedict Cumberbatch photo by Sam Hughes
Banoffee Pie photo by traaf

Written by Abigail Young

I've had a passion for everything British my entire life, despite being raised as a small-town girl in the American Midwest, After years of dreaming, I got the chance to live and work in England for an entire year. Now I write about my favorite country, and hopefully inspire my fellow Britophiles to get over there and experience it for themselves.

This article has 3 comments

  1. Rachmat Tubagus Reply

    hi…My name is Tubagus from Indonesia.
    I wonder what kind this pie, from that pic its look so smooth.
    I think banoffe is strange for my Indonesian tongue. i guess its very delicious

  2. Captain Marc Reply

    A decent banofee pie can indeed be rather good. But the ultimate Brit dessert is probably apple crumble (made with Bramley apples of course) or possibly rhubarb crumble. When done well, these are absolute heaven. Unfortunately, I have had many that are distinctly average. On the other hand, sticky toffee pudding is very popular and usually a pretty safe bet.

    We Brits are quite an inventive bunch, and I have concocted my own recipe for a chocolate banana cake that uses no sugar and only wholemeal grains (so it’s probably the healthiest cake in the entire Universe!). It goes down a storm with my guests. I am currently working on a version with alternate layers of chocolate banana and vanilla coconut that I hope to perfect in time for Yuletide as an alternative to the traditional plum pudding with brandy butter.

    My compliments,


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