Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Creme Brulee A La Bananas-Brandy (Valentine's Day Special)

I have, not surprisingly (since I usually can't resist some experimentation) started to get creative with my creme brulee torch, and after my regular creme brulee, pumpkin creme brulee, and white chocolate creme brulee, I am not nearly ready to call it quits yet.  I decided to prepare a fruit-based creme brulee to experiment with the brulee technique and flavors.  I should add that in the summer, I plan on doing the same recipe using fresh peach puree.  I figured that as long as I could keep the same egg and cream based formula, that banana puree would still make an excellent brulee as long as the mixture was basically a custard that congealed when baked.  This would allow me to top with sugar and brulee the tops with the creme brulee torch to caramelize the sugar.

This recipe was a huge success.  It tastes like a banana custard or pudding that has a brulee top - just perfect, although certainly not traditional for creme brulee at all.  It was, as my husband Brad described it, fuller and richer than the pumpkin creme brulee I prepared.  Banana puddings and custards are among his favorite desserts, and this was basically a rich and creamy banana pudding with a brulee top of caramelized sugar.  Thus, this recipe, which I invented on the fly, was a winner.  Brandy is the perfect alcohol to complement bananas, and the taste here is very subtle in balancing out the sweet fruit flavor of the bananas.

Sasha's Creme Brulee A La Bananas Brandy

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 medium sized banana, pureed
3 teaspoons brandy
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar plus 1/2 a teaspoon or so for each top

To prepare this recipe, follow my recipe for the regular creme brulee.  Mix the heavy cream and vanilla and the brandy and heat until small bubbles form around the edges, and the sugar is dissolved, as I explained in my other post.  Then, in a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks, vanilla and pureed banana.  Mix the cream mixture with this mixture.  Divide into four ramekins.

Bake the creme brulee in a metal tray filled halfway up the sides of the ramekins with very hot (almost boiling) water, as described in my previous creme brulee post.  Bake at 300 F for approximately 30 minutes until the tops are set.

Allow to chill for at least and hour or two, until topping each with sugar and using your creme brulee torch to caramelize the tops of the brulees.  This is creamiest, best banana pudding with the lovely caramelized flavor on the tops.  I consider it a genuine creme brulee since it still contains the cream, egg yolks and the brulee top.  It is the perfect finale for a Valentine's Day meal.

Stay tuned for my next two posts on miniature food - mini key lime cheesecakes, and mini vegetable frittatas - both which will be perfect for your Valentine's day brunches.

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