Way back in August, Bronwen assigned Banoffi Pie for Long Distance Kitchen.  It’s a funny recipe because it takes a little prep time, but is pretty much the easiest pie ever in terms of needing baking skills.  And if your skills don’t run to pie crust, it works really well with a cookie crumb or graham cracker crust.

I made the pie in August, back when I was getting ready to move and trying to clean out my cupboards, so I made a cookie crust using half vanilla wafers and half gingersnaps that I had around.  The recipe came from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion, and I just used one of the variations, pre-baked since the filling doesn’t require baking.  Very buttery and perfectly crunchy, and the crunch provides a nice contrast to the gooey & smooth fillings.

To make the filling, you boil a few cans of sweetened condensed milk for 3 hours.  Yup, 3 hours – and the key is to make sure to keep the water topped up because they can explode if they boil dry.   Nothing like a pie with some risk!  The recipe we used called for a can and a half, so I boiled two, but after spreading the resulting toffee in the pie crust, I thought it looked like plenty and elected to save the other can for another pie.  You can just store them in the cupboard until needed – I used my second can for a Thanksgiving pie, and it was a big hit.

After spreading the condensed-milk-turned-toffee in the pre-baked crust, slice several bananas in half lengthwise and arrange over the top however you like.  Finally, whip cream with a little sugar and powdered instant coffee, and put this on top.  You can sprinkle a little freshly ground coffee on top for some color contrast, or you could go for grated chocolate if you’re feeling crazy.

It doesn’t sound that fantastic, but the result is a great blend of flavors – the banana sort of disappears into the toffee and whipped cream and adds a nice silky texture, plus it balances out the “whoa” sweetness of the toffee, along with the hint of coffee in the whipped cream.

My favorite part of the recipe is the note at the end:

Hint - Banoffi is a marvellous “emergency” pudding once you have the toffee mixture in your store cupboard. We therefore suggest that you boil several cans at the same time as they keep unopened indefinitely.”

Recommended for all your “pudding” needs, emergency or not.  It was a great choice for Thanksgiving, too, especially if you’re baking other things or sharing an oven with a turkey, since you can make the crust and toffee ahead of time and just assemble it all before dessert.

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