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A no-bake vegan banoffee pie made with simple ingredients you can find in your cupboard! The buttery crust and the sweet and melty homemade caramel (made without dates!) make a wonderful base for fresh bananas and creamy whipped cream. Every bite is melty heaven in your mouth!
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“Banoffee pie”. When I first saw a little card that says it in front of slices of a pie in a bakery in London, I had no idea what the word banoffee means. Curiosity got me and I had my first banoffee pie in a small cafe. I could tell the name was partly coming from bananas because the pie had bananas in it but it took me a while to figure out what “offee” part had to do with it. But it didn’t take long to figure out that it was one of the best pies I’ve ever had. After that day I had my first slice of banoffee pie, I went for any baked goods that had the name banoffee in it like banoffee muffins, loaf, cake, etc. for the next weeks, without knowing what exactly is in it yet.
What is banoffee pie?
So it turns out, the name “banoffee” is a combination of bananas and toffee. Hence melty caramel toffee filling topped with bananas. Many people confuse the name with coffee, but in fact, the pie doesn’t contain any coffee. And apparently, it was somewhat invented in Essex, England! So this is a classic English dessert.
My first attempt to make banoffee pie was a bit of a disaster.. Usually, you can just use canned caramel but as I wanted it to be 100% plant-based, I had to create the perfect consistency for the caramel. And it wasn’t an easy process. I wanted it to be as authentic as possible like traditional caramel without any dairy or vegan caramel alternatives like dates.
And I’m happy to announce that I nailed it! I made the caramel with only 3 simple ingredients. Hurray! Talking about simplicity, this recipe only requires 5 ingredients, yet never compromised on the taste. This is truly the best and simplest vegan banoffee pie recipe.
Main ingredients and substitutions
Digestive biscuits: The base of the crust is digestive biscuits. The flavour of digestives is perfect to make this recipe as it’s not too sweet, and it makes a wonderfully moist and crumbly texture when mixed with vegan butter. You can also use graham crackers or any other vegan biscuits. Make sure that the biscuits you are using have no mix-ins or are overly sweetened.
Vegan butter: There are 2 ingredients for the crust, digestives and vegan butter such as Earth Balance. Vegan butter is used to give the crust a moist and crumbly texture and buttery flavour as well as help set the crust in the fridge. You can substitute for coconut oil if you want. I recommend using steam refined coconut oil with no flavour of coconut so that it won’t interfere with other flavours.
Vegan butter is in the caramel filling too. It helps create a smooth and melty texture. For the caramel, I recommend you to stick with vegan butter and not substitute.
Brown sugar: The sweetness of the caramel toffee filling comes from brown sugar. I like using brown sugar in caramel recipes because it has a richer taste than regular white sugar. You can replace it with white sugar too if you prefer. Make sure that your white sugar is vegan too!
Soy single/whipping cream: Soy cream is super versatile, I used it in the caramel and also whipped it into cream to top the pie. I use soy single cream as it’s the most accessible plant cream in my supermarket but you can also use coconut cream or any other plant cream. If you are using coconut cream, choose ones that have high fat content and if using other creams, make sure that the cream can be whipped with an electric whisk.
Bananas: You need 2 medium size fresh bananas for this recipe. Use ripe bananas as they are at their sweetest stage. If your bananas are still young with no sugar spots, let it ripe for another day or two.
Other ingredients: shaved vegan milk chocolate for the topping. (optional)
Recommended equipment for this recipe
Pie tin: I used a 20 cm(about 7.8 inches) pie tin for this recipe. I recommend you to use the same size as the measurement is for the specific size. If you are using a smaller tin though, you will likely to have leftovers of each pie element. If it happens, use them to make little banoffee pie bites in a muffin tin so you are not wasting it! If you only have a bigger size pie tin, you may not have enough crust mixture to cover the sides. In that case, just cover the bottom of the tin and layer other elements as instructed in the recipe. It will be like a flat pie.
You can also use a regular round cake tin too if you are not fussy about the shape of the pie! Use the same size cake tin and follow the instructions.
Food processor: To ground digestive biscuits, I used my KitchenAid food processor. You can also use a blender if you don’t have one.
Drinking glass: To press down the crust mixture to the bottom and sides of the pie tin, you need a flat surface that you can have good control of. I used my everyday drinking glass to do this step. I cleaned the bottom of it, then pressed the crust mixture firmly to the tin.
Medium size saucepan: You need a medium size saucepan to make the caramel filling. It may seem like a small saucepan would do just as good of a job, but because the process of making caramel involves a bit of bubbling, I highly recommend you to use a medium size one.
Large wooden spoon: You need a large wooden spoon with a long handle to cook and stir the caramel filling. Do not use a small spoon as the caramel can get quite hot.
Electric mixer: To whip up the plant cream into fluffy cream, use either an electric mixer or a stand mixer.
*The ingredient list and measurement for this recipe can be found in the recipe card at the bottom.
How to make vegan banoffee pie
Step 1: Make the crust
First, let’s make the crust! In a food processor, break in the digestive biscuits and blitz until they are finely crumbled. It takes about 2-3 mins. If you stop too early, the crumble might not be fine enough to make a firm base for the crust to hold the weight of the caramel, bananas, and whipped cream, and might fall apart when slicing. Process for at least 2 mins to make sure this won’t happen!
Transfer the crumbles to a large bowl, then pour melted vegan butter and mix very thoroughly until well combined. You can also do this step in a food processor which is a better way to do it. I mixed in a bowl because my food processor is a bit small for this
Next, transfer the crust mixture to a pie tin, and press down firmly to the bottom and sides of the tin using a flat surface such as the bottom of a clean glass. You should have a well in the middle for caramel filling like in the picture on the very right below. Cover the tin and set it in the freezer.
Step 2: Make the cream filling
Now onto the caramel filling! First, cut your vegan butter into 1cm cubes, set aside and let them be at room temperature. In a medium saucepan, cook the sugar on medium heat, then turn it down to low heat once it starts to melt and cook further until it’s completely melted and there is no grain. This takes a bit of time, about 5 mins or so depending on the environment of your cooker and the nature of the sugar you are using. It first turns into sugar balls, then it starts to melt slowly. Do not overcook after it’s melted!
Take the saucepan off the cooker as soon as the sugar is melted and place it on the kitchen top with a kitchen cloth underneath. Add in the cubed butter and stir immediately until the butter is melted. At this point, the sugar starts to bubble up, but keep stirring. Slowly add the soy cream while continuously stirring.
At this point, the caramel mixture might start to harden before you can finish adding all the soy cream. But don’t worry, stop adding, for now, you can add the rest at the next step as you are going to heat the caramel again.
Place the saucepan back on the cooker and cook further. If you have leftover soy cream, (as discussed above) add it at this stage when the caramel starts to become runny again because of the heat. With the caramel mixture back on the heat, slowly bring to a boil over a medium heat. Once it begins to boil, cook it for a further 4-5 mins, stirring constantly to prevent the caramel from burning.
Remove from the heat and let it cool down to room temperature. Don’t worry if it looks or feels runny at this stage! I will thicken as it cools down. Once it’s cooled and thickened slightly, pour it into the middle of the crust. Cool completely, cover and set in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours or overnight.
Step 3: Cut banana and make whipped cream
If you have made it to step 3, you are almost there! Slice the bananas into 1cm coins. In a large bowl, whip the soy cream until it’s fluffy and creamy, about 3-4 mins. Keep your soy cream cold in the fridge until right before you whip it in a bowl, as room temperature cream won’t whip as well as cold cream.
Step 4: Decorate the pie
Top the caramel filling with the bananas, then whipped cream. Sprinkle some shaved chocolate on top to garnish. Slice and enjoy!
Tips and tricks
Process the digestives finely
It may look like the biscuits are fine enough after 20 seconds of processing in a food processor, but most likely they are not. If your biscuit crumbles are not fine enough, they cannot combine well with melted butter and end up being too crumbly. This can cause the crust to fall apart when slicing the pie. To avoid this, process at least for 2mins.
Again, if you don’t press the biscuit mixture firmly, it can fall apart. Make sure you are pressing the mixture firm enough to the bottom and sides using a drinking glass and your fingers.
Use medium size saucepan
As I mentioned earlier, the caramel can bubble up quite a bit in the making process. If you use a small saucepan the caramel can overflow and trust me, you don’t want to deal with sticky caramel on the kitchen top! To make very sure that this won’t happen and for your safety, use a medium size saucepan.
Cooking the caramel toffee filling
It is quite difficult to get the hang of making homemade caramel in general, vegan or not, so here are some tips on top of the instructions above.
Each cooker is different so depending on your cooker, low or medium heat might not be strong enough to bring the caramel mixture to a boil. If it doesn’t seem to boil, turn the heat up to high and turn it down to medium heat once it begins to boil. Do not continue cooking on a high heat! It will start to burn and it can overflow.
Also, my cooker brings the caramel to a boil with low to medium heat on a large hob. If, like my cooker, your cooker has differnet sized hobs, use the larger of the hobs.
How to store this vegan banoffee pie
This banoffee pie is best eaten on the day you make it. This is because the recipe uses fresh bananas and whipped cream and they don’t keep well at room temperature or in the fridge. Because of this, once you assemble the pie it’s best to eat within the day. If you absolutely must though, you can cover the pie with cling film and keep in the fridge for 1 day. But have in mind that the bananas will turn into a dull colour and may not look very appetising, and the cream will be a lot less creamy or may even be runny.
For the same reasons above, I don’t recommend you to store the pie in the freezer either. If you want to store the pie in the fridge or freezer, do so BEFORE topping the bananas and whipped cream. The crust and caramel are ok to store for up to 2-3 days in the fridge and 2-3 months in the freezer. Keep the slices of the pie in an airtight container. You can prepare the bananas and cream separately on the day you serve it.
Q and A
Can I make the pie gluten-free?
Yes, absolutely. To make this recipe gluten-free, simply use your favourite gluten-free digestive biscuits or any other gluten-free biscuits/crackers. Make sure all the other ingredients are gluten-free too!
Where was banoffee pie born?
Many people wonder about the origin of banoffee pie. I’m proud to tell you that banoffee pie was first invented in England, UK(apparently). The name banoffee comes from “banana” and “toffee”. I thought it might be banana and coffee and I know many will confuse but it’s actually toffee that is in banoffee pie!
Why is my banoffee pie runny?
If your banoffee pie is runny, I’m assuming it’s the toffee caramel filling here, it might be that you didn’t cook it long enough to thicken. The homemade caramel in this recipe needs to be cooked 3-5 mins before pouring on the crust layer. So try cooking the caramel a little longer than you did. It may be difficult to get the hang of it first but the reward of a slice of banoffee pie with homemade caramel toffee filling is so worth the effort!
Now if it’s your whipped cream that is runny, whip it until not runny.
My caramel is too hard! What should I do?
If you are having the complete opposite problem of the above, you probably cooked the caramel too long and it thickened too much. If you cook it long enough, the caramel will turn into a solid state like fudges or even butterscotch kind of hard. I would say the sweet spot for the cooking length for the caramel is 3-5 mins. So next time, cook it for a shorter time.
Once it’s become hard in the pie, I’m sorry to tell you that there’s nothing you can do to soften it. But don’t throw it away just yet! If you haven’t topped bananas and cream yet, maybe you can break it into pieces and use as fancy cake or porridge toppings, or as an ice cream mix-in.
Why is my pie crust too crumbly and falling apart?
If your crust is too crumbly, chances are you didn’t process the digestive biscuits until fine enough, or you didn’t press the crust mixture firmly enough to the bottom and sides, or you didn’t combine the biscuit crumble and melted butter well enough. All these 3 can contribute to a crumbly base that falls apart when you slice the pie.
To make a good firm crust, process the digestives until very fine, mix it with melted butter until well incorporated, and press it down firmly to the bottom and sides of the pie tin using a flat surface. Adding melted butter to finely processed digestives and further process in a food processor is better than mixing them together in a large bowl too.
Want to master the basics of vegan baking?
Check out Vegan Baking 101 – the beginner’s guide to vegan baking for you to become an excellent vegan baker and familiar with the basics of vegan baking, ingredients, and techniques with useful tips!
You will LOVE this vegan banoffee pie recipe because it is:
- only 5 main ingredients needed
Want more recipes like this?
Try my other delicious cake recipes you might enjoy!
- Pecan pie bars – GF option
- Baked cheese cake – gluten-free
- No bake peanut butter pie – gluten-free
- Chocolate peanut butter skillet cake
- Chocolate cupcakes with biscoff frosting
- Vegan Apple Crumble Cake
- Biscoff cupcakes
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Useful kitchen tools for this recipe
I have a Kitchenaid food processor and it does a great job of grounding up the digestive biscuits for this recipe!