Tuesday, May 11, 2010

conquering fear with dessert

The culinary blowtorch that I’ve had in my possession for quite a while now has, I must admit been somewhat of a frightening prospect. The thought of using it has seemed like a high risk adventure and yes, dangerous in the hands of a novice (which I am). But recently I stumbled upon a recipe for Caramelized Bananas in Puff Pastry and thought that this was going to be the dessert recipe that would help me conquer the fear of the blowtorch!

I’ve changed up the recipe a bit from the original, actually tossing the bananas in a mixture of butter, brown sugar and rum, making it a little bit more like Bananas Foster. The original recipe has the bananas which are tossed in sugar, then caramelized with the blowtorch. Either way you choose to go with the bananas, if you add some salted caramel and a scoop of vanilla ice cream to top it off you can’t go wrong.

I am happy to report that I successfully made the dessert (wolfed it down, for lunch actually) and didn’t burn the house down or singe my eyebrows. The only ones that received the torch were the butter and rum flavored bananas, and they seemed to love it!


Caramelized Bananas Drizzled Salted Caramel in Puff Pastry
inspired by Gourmet Traveller, Austrailian publication

Puff pastry, 1 sheet
1 egg yolk, for brushing

Caramelized bananas
3 bananas, chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 cup dark rum
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salted Caramel
Vanilla Ice Cream

Preheat oven to 400 cut four 4 inch rounds from pastry and place on a baking tray lined with parchment. Score part-way through pastry to form a 1 inch border, prick the center of the circle with a fork and brush all over with egg yolk. Freeze until firm (5 minutes) then bake until puffed and light golden (6-8 minutes). Remove from oven, detach the center top layers of puff pastry and discard. Return puff pastry to oven and bake until dark golden (6-8 minutes). Set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare caramelized bananas. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and stir until sugar begins to melt, bubble, and form thick mass, about 4 minutes. Add rum and lemon juice; simmer until mixture thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Add bananas and cook until glazed with caramel, about 1 minute. Divide the bananas among the puff pastry circles and hit them with a blowtorch until bubbly and the coating hardens, forming a candied coating (if desired). Drizzle with salted caramel and top with vanilla ice cream. Serve hot with extra salted caramel.

serves 4

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