This is probably the quickest improvized dessert we have come up with, it is simply fried and flambée banana.
- Unsalted butter
- Vanilla extract (optionnal)
- 100mL Dark rum and lighter/matches (optionnal)
- Whipped cream/Vanilla ice cream (optionnal)
- Start heating a pan on medium heat if electric, maximum heat if gas. While the pan heats up, start pealing the banana. Cut it in the middle on the width, then cut each piece on its length.
- Drop a small piece of butter on the pan (half a thumb). When the butter melts and starts making bubbles, it means the pan is warm enough. Make sure the butter is spread evenly on the pan.
- Now place all the banana pieces on the pan.
- After about 30 seconds, flip the bananas. If you have liquid vanilla extract, you can now pour it on the bananas. Add the sugar on top of the bananas, how much you pour is just your choice, I advise a small amount, if you cannot see the banana under the sugar anymore then its a lot too much. The goal of this is just to give a little help for the caramel to form, remember the bananas already contain sugar naturally and will caramelize even if you don't put any sugar.
- Wait an additionnal 30 seconds or so and flip them again. Now the side with the sugar is touching the pan, you can now add sugar on the other side (the one facing up).
- How much you cook the bananas is also your choice, when they take a golden color it usually means they are done.
- If you have any Dark Rum (or white, but its not as good for cooking), now is the time to take it out. This must be done really quick so read the whole paragraph before you do anything! If you are using a gas stove, be very careful not to create a cocktail molotov and set fire to your kitchen, thus make sure you turn the gas off. If you use an electric stove, you may turn it off as well. Don't let the pan go cold though! Pour a small amount of Rum on the pan (between 50mL and 100mL), covering the bananas. Put the bottle far away or close it and as quick as you can, set fire to the Rum in the pan. Let it burn until it extinguishes by istelf.
- You can now serve the bananas with whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream. If you need more taste, you can add a few drops of Rum on the banana. They should be a tiny little cripsy outside and soft inside. See the troubleshooting section if you have doubts or didn't achieve this result.
- My bananas are black
- My bananas are not crispy outside
- I couldn't light my Rum on fire
This probably means the pan was too hot or that you overcooked the bananas. The more sugar you add, the easier it is to overcook the bananas. The black color you see is due to the caramel burning.
You might want to add a tiny bit more sugar next time and let the bananas fry a bit longer.
Either you didn't pour enough Rum on the pan or the pan was not warm enough, be sure not to let it cool down after you turn off your stove.
And here's the followup from the post about Tiramisu: The entry for what I suspect I will be using as the cement, duct tape, and superglue for a LOT of cake-related products I will make. Except you know... More appetizing. I present... Savoiardi.
- 160g flour (approx 1.33 cups)
- 130g sugar (approx .65 cups)
- 6 eggs (6 yolks, 4 whites)
- Pinch of salt
- Vanilla extract
(The above makes enough to fill one shallow 8x13 tray; for a better idea, refer to pictures in the Tiramisu article.)
- Separate the eggs in two bowls: One bowl with six yolks, the other with four whites. No, I don't like wasting two whites either; if you do desserts and stuff like that a lot, save it... But not for too long, since you don't want to serve someone a salmonella pastry just to prevent the wasteage of two egg whites.
- Throw the sugar in with the yolks and a dash of vanilla extract and whisk until you get a creamy light color again. (Refer to the post on Tiramisu for a reference picture.)
- Toss in a pinch of salt and whip the egg whites until there are stiff white peaks; again, refer to the Tiramisu post for reference.
- Slowly combine the sugar-yolk mixture with the whites, a few spatulafuls at a time. Remember that throwing all of it into the whites at once would likely cause them to collapse, which would be very bad.
- Now sift (or just gradually add, if a sifter is not available) flour while whisking at a moderate speed.
- Here's the fun part. There are multiple options (woohoo!). The typical one is to get one of those pastry dough bag things (You know, the ones you can frost with!) and use that to make the ladyfinger shape we all know and love (if I had to guess, I'd say it's about 1/2inx3in, or 1cmx5cm). For the cheap, there's always just cutting the corner out of a ziploc back. Another possibility is to draw funny shapes with it, instead of the traditional finger shape. The last and most effortless option is to just dump the whole lot into a tray and bake it. Then the shape of the tray can decide what it looks like, and you end up with what's essentially a giant cake; and probably a better one than you can find at Stop and Shop, too. Anyway, after the shape is formed, dust the top with sugar.
- Bake it. A temperature of about 360F (180C; yes, I know I rounded) should be sufficient. Baking times, however, vary according to shape. A standard ladyfinger sort of shape takes about 10-15min to be ready; a large tray full of a slab of the stuff might take anywhere from half an hour to forty-five minutes. Use proper judgement; if it tastes raw, it probably is. There's the standard poke-it-with-a-fork-and-see-if-it-comes-out-clean test, but I think any tests involving poking holes in your food is vulgar; you can also touch it with your hand (protected by a towel or something, of course!); if it gives just a bit and feels like a firm spongecake, it's ready. And don't be afraid to take it out of the oven a bit early, either; remember, the thing is still hot when you take it out. Hence, it continues cooking even after it's out of the oven. It's not going to do the equivalent of half an hour at 300+, but it should still be taken into account.
Sorry I don't have pictures, but I forgot. The tiramisu pictures are pretty good reference anyhow.
Since this is the first post with actual content in it (thereby making it the real first post), why not start off with a bang? Today's topic is... Tiramisu. Just for a little background... Tiramisu is an Italian type of dessert; I'd probably class it as a cake. (Yes, I know 'tiramisu' sounds Japanese; no, it's Italian; yes, I'm sure.) But this particular dessert has been so popular over the years that it has been adapted into cakes, puddings, and various other forms; I find that not nearly enough people know about it in its original form anymore. In fact, a quick google revealed the most obscene recipes I could possibly imagine. Only when I hit Italian Google (yeah, that's right) and consulted with a European or two that I found the true classical recipe. So without further ado...
- Lots of savoiardi, also known as ladyfingers
- 4 eggs
- 125g sugar (approx .63 cup)
- 400g mascarpone cheese
- Powdered cocoa (to be sprinkled on top)
- 2 cups coffee, large
- Pinch of salt
- Bit of vanilla extract
(The above makes enough to fill two 8inx13in glass trays.)
- What you want to do is to get two bowls and separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. The important part here is to not get any yolk in the white. Having a bit of white with your yolks is okay; obviously you don't want too much, but you get the idea.
- Next, add all your sugar and however much vanilla extract into the egg yolks and start mixing it until you get a nice, creamy mixture. The thing to look for here is that 1) it's nice and smooth, and 2) it should actually be a slightly paler yellow than the egg yolks originally were: (The white lump is mascarpone; didn't get a clean shot, sorry.)
- Add the mascarpone cheese into the egg yolk-sugar mixture. Start whisking again, until you get a homogeneous mixture with no lumps of mascarpone in it. Try to get it as smooth as possible. Note: You don't need exactly 400g; just somewhere around. Personally, I end up adding something closer to 450 most of the time anyway... Since this doesn't demand extreme precision in ingredient amount, it's okay.
- Let's take a little break from the whisking. Get your savoiardi and coffee out; I recommend having the coffee ready and cooled down to at least luke-warm, since more likely than not you will end up touching it. What you want to do now is put the coffee in a tray or in a plate or something. Next, dip the savoiardi into the coffee as shown below.
The key here is that you want to soak them, but not thoroughly. Essentially, when you dip the savoiardi the coffee will get absorbed upwards. When it's about halfway up (err on the side of more here; the only thing worse than too wet is too dry), take it out and lay it in the tray as shown. The reason behind the way you soak it is that when it's resting in the fridge later, capillary action will bring the coffee up further into the ladyfinger. Not to mention it'll absorb the moisture from the mascarpone filling; so it's all good. And these little suckers hold a LOT more coffee than you'd think; we used two Large coffees from Starbucks (plain coffee, 2 bucks apiece) to soak two trays' worth of savoiardi properly.
- Now it's back to the whisk. Here's the part where people either have an electric beater, or really really wish they did. And if there isn't even a whisk available... Give up. Right now. Seriously. You will hurt yourself. Otherwise... Toss in a pinch of salt and whisk/beat/whatever the egg whites. They will go from transparent to foamy, and foamy to REALLY foamy; what you're looking for is what chefs call a "stiff white peak"; if you pick some up with your whisk/beater and you see that the egg white hangs on in a stiff manner, then it's ready. In the picture below, the whites are very nearly ready.(Why did we not do this before soaking the savoiardi? Because after you whip them they start collapsing. REALLY FAST. So you'd have had to do it again. You don't want that.)
- Slowly fold the mascarpone mixture into the egg whites. And by slowly I mean about a spatulaful at a time. It's a VERY bad idea to plop it all in at once since that might destroy the whites and make them collapse. And trust me, nobody wants to hand-whisk more than one batch of egg whites at once.
- Spread the mixture evenly across your trays of savoiardi, and then stick it in the fridge for 6-24 hours. Ta-da!
- When you want to serve it, sprinkle some cocoa powder on top. You do this right before you serve since if it's done beforehand, the cocoa powder will absorb moisture from the filling, and turn out a bit soggy. It's not a big deal, but hey.
- You can make multi-layer tiramisu with a big enough tray. Each layer should be, from bottom to top: savoiardi, filling, cocoa powder. Then on the very top you can throw some chocolate or whatever if you feel like.
- It turns out home-made savoiardi are way better than the packaged sort. And the method behind them is amazingly simple, and the stuff is dead useful; however, I discovered this after my pilot journey with the tiramisu, so I used the packaged stuff. The stuff is awesome though (kind of like a firmer spongecake) so I will be sure to post about it later.
- Yes, traditionally tiramisu is made with espresso; however, espresso is just super-concentrated coffee. I personally don't mind either way, but purists will insist, I suppose...
This is the pilot post of curehappiness.com. For those too lazy to click on the About link on the right (and we suggest you do!), this will be a blog about food and food-related matters. Unless we get derailed.
Anyway, most of the mundanities like categories and themes and all that have been hammered out, so actual content will follow very soon.