Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Deconstructed Banoffee

Beautiful granita and pistachio truffles, toffee coated banana, piped with strawberry jam, served on sticky caramel with fresh strawberries and a web of toffee.

If you have ever had banoffee before you’ll know that this is the luxury crack of desserts. I cannot get enough and the best part is, homemade banoffee is always almost better than restaurant quality. She is very much a daughter of her mother, mother being England; rich, comforting and decadent. Desserts are a part of everyone’s lives and we all hold nostalgia for them.
The idea of the deconstructed banoffee is to give a different take on the texture, taste and tactile sense. To play on the nostalgia of ‘desserts and treats’; truffles, licking the bowl, jam filled pastries, toffee – the list could go on! These sensory memories paired with a banoffee should make for an interesting eat at a dinner party.

I’ve broken up the ingredients of the dessert to explore and experience taste through nostalgia. Sweet and savory sensory bombardments in this banoffee are a tasting platter marrying childhood to adulthood. I have listed an approximate amount of ingredients that makes for about four to six plates. The toffee cage was purely experimental after watching a Youtube video and playing around with measurements and methods. Have fun, try it out, it’s so much easier than I had imagined.

Serves four to six

120g granita biscuits
70g butter
395ml sweetened condensed milk
4 bananas
1 cup thickened cream
1/3 cup brown sugar
100g shelled pistachios
½ punnet of strawberries
100ml water
250g of white caster sugar
1 tsp honey
3 tbsp good strawberry jam

Make the caramel first to sit and solidify. Start by heating the condensed in a saucepan, once hot add 50g butter and brown sugar and stir constantly for 15 minutes, removing lumps. Do this with a wooden spoon. Set aside and leave to thicken.

For the biscuit base truffles, start by pounding the granita biscuits and 85 grams of the pistachios into crumbly pieces. Heat remaining butter and add through the mixture until full absorbed. With your hands, roll small balls until they resemble round truffles. Set in fridge to cool.

The next major component is the toffee cage. Start by bringing water to boil then add sugar and honey and cook, stirring regularly for 15 minutes, or until liquid has reduced into a thick golden syrup. Add a small nob of butter to help the toffee bind better. Let cool for 5 minutes and then with a spoon drizzle the thick toffee over the back of a soup ladle for a rounded shape. Be sure to keep the spoon high while you drizzle to keep the toffee consistent and thin. Coat the back of the ladle, painting a spider web. Once it has formed a thick web, lightly turn then with fingers and it should come off nicely. While it is still pliable, mould into a cage by rounding the web with your hands. Make a few, as needed and place in the fridge to harden. Hold onto the remaining toffee. If the remaining toffee hardens, simply reheat.

The next element is the banana piped with strawberry jam. Start by slicing the bananas on an angle, by cutting each into 3 large pieces, discarding the ends. Slice on an angle for shape. Using a straw, pipe a hole through the centre, large enough to fill with jam. With a piping bag or a as I did, a plastic freezer bag, pipe jam into the banana. The last thing left to do is seal by rolling in the reheated remaining toffee. This will seal and stop the banana from oxidising too fast. You can try covering lightly in cling film until plated. Whip cream with a little icing sugar.

The last step is to plate. Start with a big lick of caramel and then add ingredients around the centre. Halve the strawberries too. Finish by placing the cage over the top – the last step is purely creative and your work of art. Serve cream in a small dish on the side, and sprinkle remaining crushed pistachios over the plate.