Holiday Rebel Baking: Banoffee Pie

I’m not knocking tradition.  I love pumpkin and apple pie just as much as the next American, but let’s just say you are going to a pot-luck for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Are you really going to need 72 pumpkin pies sitting there?  If you want to break free of all that holiday dessert mediocrity, read on.

Banoffee Pie.  MOTHERFUCKIN BANOFFEE PIE! Banana + toffee = banoffee.  It’s delicious, easy, unexpected…trust me ok?  I won’t steer your wrong.

Years ago when i was the pastry chef at the Ace hotel, I had the pleasure of being in total control of a pastry case.  I filled it up with all sorts of crazy shit, ok?  I was discussing this with my Nana one night (she’s British and AWESOME) and she asked if I had made banoffee yet.  I had no clue what it was.  She emailed me the recipe and said it was one of her favorites.  I thought it would be a hard sell, but to my amazement the entire pie was gone within one hour of me putting it in the case.  Since then the recipe has followed me everywhere to rave reviews and when people ask for the recipe and I tell them they are shocked.

There really isn’t much you will need for this pie.  I am heading to my sister-in-law’s for turkey day tomorrow (she makes a mean apple pie!!) and I don’t want to be stuck at my house making everything from scratch, so I used all store-bought for this version.  Here is what I got:

1 can sweetened condensed milk (I got two for the hell of it)

1 graham ready crust

1 bunch bananas (you’ll use as many as you damn well please)

1 can ready whip

1 bag heath crumblies

Jesus and Mary candles optional


Now obviously at work I would make the crust, whipped cream and heath bar from scratch but come on.  Does a data analyst want to analize shit on his day off?  Now just wait.  This is so stupid easy you are going to die.  Here’s what to do:

1- Get yerself a big ‘ol pot.  I have a jank one that has had stuff burned on the bottom of it a million times that I used.  Used to be our soup pot.  The taller the better.

2-Remove labels from sweetened condensed milk cans and stick em in the pot.  (I hate floaters.  Leave the labels on if you enjoy floaters)

3-fill pot up with water.  the water should always stay covering the cans.

4-put on the stove to boil for 4 hours, flipping cans with a pair of tongs halfway through.  NO THEY WILL NOT BLOW UP!

like sooooooooooo:

Keep filling the water up as needed so that the cans stay covered.  After 4 hours, turn off the stove and let them hang out until the water cools off a bit, dump out the water and let the cans cool completely before touching them or attempting to open them.  I’m not sure what will happen if you try to open them hot, but I imagine boiling hot caramel spilling onto your hand would not be very pleasant.  You can store these on your shelf unopened too, if you wish to do them ahead of time.

What happens here is that the sugars in the sweetened condensed milk caramelize real slow and sexy like…and you end up with this amazing, thick, sweet toffee. That looks. like. this.

You wanna get all up in that.  I know you do.

Ok, so literally, that’s all your prep.  Now you just assemble!!! scoop the toffee out of the can and spread on the bottom of the pie crust.  slice bananas over that to cover.  add whipped cream and sprinkle with toffee! (I’m going to do this all right before we eat it….I think that redi whip stuff kinda disappears after a while doesn’t it?) Since I havent done it yet, here is a very old picture of the finished product from another time I made it:

I used pie crust in this picture which you can do but I prefer graham.  I also shaved chocolate over the top but prefer toffee!!!  You do what you want! That’s all part of the fun!


Happy Holidays!!!


Ok, sure.  I suck at updates.  In my defense, I’ve been really busy!! I quit my job at the Parker when I was offered the pastry chef position at a company that owned two restaurants and a hotel.  They were planning on opening a third and brought me in and boy has it been crazy!  I’m so incredibly happy at this place!! We have been open for about two months now and I have so much foodporn to share! But first, a shameless plug:

My new second home is called Jiao, the fourth installment in the Cheeky’s/ Birba/ Alcazar empire.  It’s an asian restaurant (read: food from any/all asian cultures).  I was so flattered when the (totes awes) owners approached me to take the reins on the pastry department for them.  These people know what they are doing.  Don’t believe me?  Come to Palm Springs.  You can have breakfast, lunch and dinner at three different restaurants, drink and party to a live DJ (that occasionally uses solar-powered equipment!) or possibly peruse the creations of local artists, go for a dip in a gorgeous pool then crash out in a big comfy bed….all without leaving a one block radius.  They have the PS entertainment arena on lock.

Jiao is housed in a beautiful corner space that was previously a bakery that never quite made it.  When I got ahold of my playground, it was pretty sparse and looked like this:

And when I finally had my dream pastry space all finished……..

Isn’t she a beaut?!  The best part is, I have been turned loose!  “Go crazy!” they told me!  AND CRAZY I WENT!  Well, admittedly, it was a tad overwhelming at first.  Working in a hotel is a totally different beast.  It did take a bit for me to really open up and start pushing the boundaries of my own creativity and skill.  I have learned so much in the last few months just finally being able to experiment and play.   I handled the dessert menu and was proud of it, but then I started in on specials.  The most fun part for me was using my classic french training and incorporating asian flavors.  I did stuff like this:

Orange cream cake with cream cheese frosting, thai tea custard and coconut caramel.  Which was great.  Tasted good, people loved it…. Then I got bored.  I was so used to being in the box of “safe” French bistro style desserts.  One day, it was like a light switch.  Without a second thought, without apprehension, I created the dessert that changed everything.  Key lime pie.  I’m not sure exactly what happened, but that day I walked into the kitchen and this dessert literally just poured out of me.  At that moment I knew a whole new world had been opened up.  I’ve made it a goal to try something that I have never done before each week for my specials, and I am having a blast!

Key lime frozen souffle, caramalized white chocolate pudding, graham strusel, sweetened condensed milk cube and key lime caramel.  The caramel was pure win.  I had one of those perfect epiphany moments that I love having in the kitchen.  I was making regular caramel sauce to go with this and decided to stop the caramel with key lime juice….then instead of cream I added sweetened condensed milk.  I kid you not, this caramel tasted just like key lime pie.  The caramalized sugar and vanilla bean took on a crust-ish note.  I patted myself on the back and that weekend I sold more of these than any other dessert.

Pluots are in season and I took full advantage and got some beautiful ones in.  Kaffir lime parfait, fresh pluot sorbet, pluot sauce, fresh pluots, sesame brittle and white gourd toasted meringue.

I became enamoured with the flavor of black sesame and my lovely friend Sherman surprised me with some gorgeous black sesame paste!  Black sesame panna cotta, mango lime sorbet, mango sauce, vanilla bean and greek yogurt microwave sponge, greek yogurt sphere (the kind that explodes and oozes when you break into it)  white chocolate crunch and a mango nata de coco.  (which I admit is a packaged product that Sherm also brought for me to try.  I normally wouldn’t put anything prepackaged in my desserts but it fit and looked cool so I went with it!  I will never claim to have made something that I didnt make, for future reference.)

And now we are up to date.  This is the dessert special for this weekend.  Chocolate ganache, flourless chocolate cake, tarragon ice cream, tarragon foam, dehydrated champagne grapes, salty strusel, rose syrup and maldon salt.   I adore the earthy chocolate/ salt/ tarragon combo and adding the little bursts of sweetness from the grapes and floral-y sweet rose syrup…..yum.

So as you can see, I have been a busy woman!  But stay tuned because a couple of weeks ago I started adding the “Sunday Funday Sundae” to my specials!  I have a very exciting one planned for tomorrow that I cant wait to share!!