I made this riff on the classic British pie for my friend Melanie Dunea, the award-winning photographer and creator of the My Last Supper project — a spirited celebration of world-famous chefs and their fantasy final meals. Of all the sweets imaginable, I chose it as my “last dessert.” I first fell in love with the pie by name alone, but then — after just one bite of the caramel, banana, and whipped cream filling and the sweet cookiecrumb crust — my mind was blown. I use dark chocolate wafers for my crust, and add a garnish of chocolate curls along with crushed roasted peanuts for a hit of crunch and salt. Luckily, I don’t have to wait until my last supper to eat this pie, and I hope that you won’t either. It’s a crowd-pleasing, show-stopping slam-dunk anytime.
Dulce de Leche
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (see Kitchen Wisdom)
Chocolate Banoffee Pie
- 9 ounces chocolate wafer cookies, broken into pieces
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Kosher salt
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 3 large bananas, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate
*Kitchen Wisdom: Dulce de Leche
Part of the fun of making this pie is making your own dulce de leche, by slowly simmering a can of sweetened condensed milk until the milk sugars caramelize into a thick, golden sauce. If you don’t want to take the time to make your own, look for a 14-to-16-ounce jar of dulce de leche in the baking aisle of your grocery store. The rest of the pie comes together quickly, and no baking is required.
For the dulce de leche: Remove any labels from the can of sweetened condensed milk and place on the bottom of a large stockpot. Fill the pot with water, covering the can by 4 to 6 inches, then bring the water just to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and continue boiling, frequently checking the water level, for 3 hours. (The can should be covered by at least 1 inch of water throughout the cooking process or it could explode.) Remove the can from the water and allow it to cool at room temperature before opening. If making ahead, dulce de leche can be kept refrigerated, unopened or in an airtight container, for up to 1 week.
For the pie: In a food processor, pulse the cookies until fine, then transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and a generous pinch of salt. Add the melted butter and stir until well combined. Press the mixture over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Spread the dulce de leche in a thick layer over the bottom of the crust. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the peanuts and sprinkle the remainder evenly over the dulce de leche. Arrange the banana slices in overlapping circles in 2 layers over the dulce de leche and peanuts.
In a large mixing bowl, whip the cream until it just holds stiff peaks. Spoon the whipped cream over the bananas, covering the pie and forming a mound. With a vegetable peeler, shave the chocolate over the top, then sprinkle with the reserved 1 tablespoon chopped peanuts. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour, before serving.
by Gail Simmons
With Mindy Fox
Foreword by Tom Colicchio
The cookbook that Top Chef fans have been waiting for, from the celebrated judge who makes delicious food and inspired cooking accessible for home cooks.
Gail Simmons is a beloved figure in the food world who has been a popular judge on Top Chef, the number-one rated food show on cable television since its inception. In Bringing It Home, Simmons shares her best recipes and food experiences. From her travels, exploring global flavors and keeping detailed diaries, to her Top Chef culinary adventures with the world's most notable chefs, she is always asking: "How can I bring this dish home to my own kitchen?" Her goal is to make fabulous recipes using accessible ingredients and smart, simple cooking techniques for successful family meals and easy entertaining.
From Bloody Mary Eggs to Christmas Brisket Fried Rice; from Summer Vegetable Salad with Charred Lime Vinaigrette to Banana-Cardamom Upside Down Cake with Salty Caramel, there is a recipe for everyone in the family. Simmons also shares ingredient tips, cooking techniques, and many informative "Snippets," as well as personal and behind-the-scenes stories that will appeal to fans and food lovers everywhere.