When one of my colleagues has a birthday, we have cake at work.
Sometimes the cake of choice is, in fact, a pie.
This recipe is based on nothing more than a basic knowledge of what makes a banoffee pie, and my failproof shortcrust pastry recipe.
For the pastry:
250 g plain flour
125 g butter (room temperature)
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 egg yolk
20 mls cold water
For the dulce de leche filling:
1 can condensed milk (99% fat free works just fine)
A sprinkle of sea salt
2 ripe (but not overripe) bananas
1 cup whipping cream
200 g dark chocolate + 2 tbs extra cream (for the probably unnecessary ganache layer)
Extra dark and milk chocolate, for garnish
- For the crust dough: Sift the flour and salt together, and add the sugar.
- Cut the butter into cubes, and rub it into the dry ingredients until it’s sandy (or until there are no more lumps of butter). You COULD use a blender, but the fingertips method has never failed me.
- Add the cold water and egg yolk. Mix until all the ingredients are combined, and you can form it into a single ball of dough. (Add a touch more water if it’s too dry, or a touch more flour if it’s too wet/sticky).
- Wrap the ball in cling wrap and chill for about half an hour.
- For the dulce de leche filling: While the dough is chilling, pour the condensed milk into a Pyrex baking dish, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and cover with foil.*
- Bake at about 170º C, stirring occasionally, until it starts to get thicker and more golden.
- When the dulce de leche is about the consistency of golden syrup (or treacle), remove it from the oven. Leave the oven on, but increase the temperature to 190º C.
- Whisk the dulce de leche, vigorously. Don’t worry if it’s a bit lumpy at first. (It will almost definitely be a bit lumpy at first.) If you whisk it enough, it WILL end up smooth. It will also thicken as it cools.
- Set aside the dulce de leche and leave it cool to room temperature (not in the fridge, or it will set too hard to spread into the pie crust).
- To bake the crust: Remove the dough from the fridge, drop it into a pie tin, and press it out to form a pie crust. You COULD of course roll it out with a rolling pin but that’s messy and the fingertips method has never failed me.
- Prick with a fork and blind bake at 190º C until dry and very slightly golden. (You could use pastry weights here, but I find the fork holes keep it from puffing up too much.)
- Remove from oven (which you can turn off now) and leave on a cooling rack until it’s at least room temperature.
- For the perhaps unnecessary ganache layer: When the crust has cooled, melt 200 grams of dark chocolate and 2 tablespoons of cream in a double boiler (okay, a small metal bowl over a slightly smaller saucepan of boiling water).
- Pour the chocolate mixture onto the cooled crust, and spread it out. It doesn’t need to be a thick layer (or even cover the whole base).
- For the whipped cream: Whip the cream. In a stand mixer (with the whisk attachment, if you have one) or with hand beaters. Not too much. If you end up with butter, that’s too much.
(This is about right.)
- To assemble: Spoon the room-temperature dulce de leche into the pie crust and smooth it out with a palette knife. If it’s too firm, sit the bowl or container in the sun or in a bowl of warm water. (I find reheating dulce de leche too much makes it go a bit weird.)
- Cut the bananas into quite fine slices, and layer over the dulce de leche.
(Single layer + a bit of overlapping = good.)
- Top with the whipped cream, and shaved or grated milk and dark chocolate.
If you’re transporting the pie, I would STRONGLY advise doing it pre-assembly. Your bag will contain: the whipped cream and dulce de leche in separate containers; a block of chocolate + a grater; ‘unwrapped’ bananas; a ganache-covered baked crust. Follow steps 16–18 to assemble on arrival.
*Yes, you can boil the can instead of using the oven but make sure you google all the potential hazards beforehand. Explosions = bad. But you have to preheat the oven for the crust anyway, so why not take the safe option?