Here’s one of my favorite desserts to make when I want to make a big impact with a minimal effort. It’s a riff on a banoffee pie, a British classic that combines bananas with toffee and whipped cream. The secret time-saver in my version is store-bought dulce de leche, which comes in a can and saves you the time and effort of caramelizing sweetened condensed milk from scratch, which can take hours. As you can probably guess, this is a rich and indulgent dessert (not a dieter’s delight), but it’s so worth the calories! Note that I added a little instant espresso powder to the whipped topping as a counterpoint to its sweetness, but this is optional.
Makes 8 servings (or 1 big one, if it’s midnight, and you’re hungry like me)
Chocolate Cookie Crust
- 2 ¼ cups chocolate wafer crumbs (one 9-ounce package Nabisco Famous Wafers)
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted
Toffee and Banana Filling
- Two (13.4-ounce) cans dulce de leche
- 3 large ripe bananas
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) lemon juice
Toffee Whipped Cream Topping
- 1 ½ cups (348 grams) heavy cream
- Reserved ½ cup (142 grams) dulce de leche (from above)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
Make the crust
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚ Combine the cookie crumbs with the butter until well blended. Set aside 2 teaspoons of the crumbs, then press the remaining crumbs onto the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan, packing it down firmly. Bake for 10 minutes, until slightly puffed. Transfer the pie pan to a wire rack and cool completely.
Make the filling
- Set aside ½ cup of the dulce de leche for the topping. Spoon 1 cup (285 grams) of the remaining dulce de leche into the cooled crust, then spread it into an even layer. Slice the bananas ¼-inch thick, sprinkling them with lemon juice as needed to prevent them from turning brown. Arrange half of them on top of the toffee layer, covering it completely and overlapping the slices sightly. Put the remaining dulce de leche in a microwave-safe glass measure and heat at 50% power for 30 to 45 seconds, just until it’s easy to spread. Evenly spoon the softened dulce de leche in large dollops over the banana layer, then spread it into an even layer, covering the bananas completely. Top with the remaining banana slices, overlapping them slightly.
Make the topping
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the reserved ½ cup (142 grams) dulce de leche with ¼ cup (58 grams) of the heavy cream until blended. Gradually stir in the remaining 1 ¼ cups (290 grams) cream until blended. Place the bowl on the mixer stand and add the vanilla and espresso powder to the cream mixture. Using the whisk attachment, whip the cream at medium speed just until medium-firm peaks form (don’t over-whip, or it may become grainy). Scrape the cream over the bananas, spreading it decoratively with a spatula (or pipe it, if you want to be fancy, like me). Sprinkle the reserved chocolate cookie crumbs on top and refrigerate the pie for at least an hour before serving.