Banoffi? Banoffee? How should this word be spelt? As a linguist, I naturally spent a fair while pondering this question while baking Mary Berry’s banoffi pie last weekend. This portmanteau word is formed by the combination of the words ‘banana’ and ‘toffee’, so really, if we’re being logical about it, the spelling ‘banoffee’ makes more sense. However, as ‘banoffi’ is the word Mary Berry uses (and is recognised in the Collins dictionary), I’ll just go with it 🙂 I followed the banoffi pie recipe on page 454 of Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook.
Making the Biscuit Crust
Step 1: Gather the ingredients
First, I gathered together all of the ingredients. Here’s what I used:
- 60 g unsalted butter
- 150 g ginger biscuits (crushed)
You will also need an 18 cm loose-bottomed fluted flan tin. This is the second flan tin I’ve purchased in the space of a few months… things are getting serious!
Step 2: Crush biscuits
I put the biscuits into a sandwich bag, and then used a rolling pin to crush them into crumbs. I did a mixture of rolling the biscuits and hitting them with the end of the rolling pin – a fantastic stress-buster if ever there was one. The idea is to crush the biscuits until they are crumbs, but it’s quite hard to achieve perfect crumbs by hand and very easy to end up with a mix of pulverised powder and large pieces (I really must buy a food processor)!
Step 3: Melt butter
Next, I melted the butter in a saucepan:
Step 4: Add crushed biscuits
Once the butter had melted, I removed the pan from the heat, added the crushed biscuits and stirred it until it combined:
Step 5: Press biscuit mixture into tin
Using the back of a metal spoon, I then pressed the biscuit mixture into the bottom and sides of the flan tin:
Step 6: Leave to chill
I put the tin into the fridge to chill until set. It set quite quickly, but I left it in there until I needed it – so it stayed in the fridge for 40 minutes.
Making the Caramel Filling
Step 1: Gather the ingredients
First, I gathered together the ingredients:
- 90 g unsalted butter
- 1 x 397 g can sweetened condensed milk
Step 2: Melt butter
I melted the butter in a small saucepan, stirring it until it had melted:
Step 3: Add condensed milk
Next, I added the condensed milk into the pan and heated it gently, stirring it constantly. The recipe says to do this ‘until the mixture is a pale caramel colour, about 10 minutes’. After ten minutes had passed, the mixture did not look pale caramel colour, at all… So I carried on stirring away furiously for almost 20 minutes! Talk about arm workout! This couldn’t be right. Either I had the heat incredibly low in comparison to Mary Berry, or something had gone a little wrong. I plumped for the latter. Hubby came over to comment that the smell was pungent and sickly… this did not bode well:
Eventually the mixture started to thicken up:
I wasn’t convinced my mixture was the right colour, but on nearly reaching the 20-minute marker (twice the amount of time Mary Berry suggested in the recipe), and the fact that the mixture had started to boil and separate, I decided to take it off the hob. It was really looking quite blotchy and unappetising at this point. I hoped it would taste better than it looked, but I was definitely starting to think that I’d botched it at this point!:
Step 4: Cool caramel mixture
I took the mixture off the hob and transferred it to a bowl to cool down. Mary Berry does say that the ‘butter may separate from the condensed milk, but the mixture will be smooth when cooled slightly’. I took heart in that, because my mixture had definitely separated:
Luckily, after stirring it a bit, the mixture did come together (phew), but it felt quite stiff. I still wasn’t convinced this was right:
Step 5: Pour mixture into biscuit crust
Okay, so when the recipe says to ‘pour’ but your mixture is practically solid, it does make you think that you might have done something wrong. So instead of pouring, I spooned the caramel mixture into the biscuit crust:
Step 6: Chill until set
The recipe says to leave this to cool and ‘chill until the caramel filling is set’. I sort of skipped the leaving-to-cool stage and put it straight in the fridge and left it there for probably a lot longer than it should have been – something like 4 hours (it was rock hard when it came out).
Completing the Pie
Step 1: Gather the ingredients
Later that evening I mustered up the strength to finish off the pie. Here are the ingredients I used:
- 2 bananas (peeled and sliced)
- 150 ml double cream (lightly whipped)
- 30 g dark chocolate (grated – to decorate)
Step 2: Grate chocolate
First I grated the chocolate onto greaseproof paper. Holding the chocolate in a piece of greaseproof paper, I rubbed the chocolate over the large grid of the grater. It’s important to use chilled chocolate otherwise you’ll end up with a melted mess on your hands. It also helps to hold a fairly large piece of chocolate, or you may slice your fingertips. Which I imagine would hurt. Substantially. I then put the chocolate gratings in a bowl and put it in the fridge to keep it chilled.
Step 3: Prepare piping bag
The recipe doesn’t call for this, but as I recently bought some piping bags and nozzles, I thought it would be fun to have a go at piping the whipped cream onto the pie. I used Lakeland ‘Get a Grip’ Piping Bags combined with a Wilton 1M Open Star Piping Tip. I cut the end off the bag and inserted the nozzle:
Step 4: Whip cream
Next I whipped the double cream. The recipe says the cream should be ‘lightly whipped’. In all honesty, I have no idea what that should look like, so I whipped the cream with my electric hand mixer until it looked like this:
Step 5: Peel and slice bananas
I peeled and sliced two bananas:
Step 6: Arrange banana slices on pie
It was at this point that I took the pie out of the fridge. It was quite a tight fit, but I managed to arrange all of the banana slices as evenly as I could on top of the caramel filling in two layers. It probably didn’t need all of the slices, but for some reason I saw it as a bit of a challenge to see if I could fit them all on the pie! (I know, I’m such a child):
Step 7: Top with whipped cream
I put the whipped cream into my pre-prepared piping bag, and then piped it onto the pie. I piped roses around the edge and in the middle, and then piped stars around the middle rose. Given I’ve never piped before and hadn’t practised either, I was quite pleased with how it turned out – this piping lark is fun! I was also super impressed with the piping bag and nozzle – both really good quality items:
Step 8: Decorate with grated chocolate
The final step was to decorate the pie by sprinkling grated chocolate over it. I found that I didn’t need to use all of the chocolate I had grated – I probably used about two thirds of it, and even that was a bit too much really. If I had sprinkled all the chocolate, then the piping definition would have been lost. And so here it is – I present to you my banoffi pie!:
You know I like my photos, so here are a few more shots of my pie:
To my surprise (and great pleasure), when I came to remove the side of the tin, it came away quite easily! The crust is quite crumbly, but it stayed together nicely:
Getting the pie off the base was not so easy. The crust was so crumbly it felt like the whole thing would fall apart if I tried to remove it. So I decided to cut a piece of the pie out first, and then afterwards hubby and I were able to slide the pie off the base (I know, it’s quite sad that it took two of us to do it!). I wonder how other people approach this issue?
The flavours of the pie were lovely together – I especially love banana and ginger, so I was really looking forward to trying it! It was really nice, but sadly the caramel layer let it down as it was so sweet, thick and heavy. It was really quite hard to cut through it, which was a bit disappointing. We ended up dismantling the slice, cutting the caramel layer in half and then putting the slice back together again. Then it tasted really good! So yes, as I predicted, something definitely wasn’t quite right with the caramel. Have you made banoffi pie before? How did you get on with it?