A silence fell over the table when my friends ﬁrst tasted this dessert, interrupted only by the sound of spoons being licked or dipped back into the ramekins for a second, then third mouthful. A silencing dessert is always a winning dessert in my book.
Unsalted butter, for the ramekins, at room temperature
4½ tablespoons caster sugar, plus more for the ramekins
2 large ripe bananas, unpeeled
⅔ cup cream, at room temperature
⅔ cup milk, at room temperature
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 large eggs, separated
3 teaspoons plain ﬂour
2 large egg whites
Icing sugar, for dusting
¾ cup Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)
If you’ve got sugar, cream, butter, and salt on hand, you can pull caramel sauce out of your hat in a matter of minutes. The caramel sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead, covered, and refrigerated. Reheat over low heat.
Makes: 1½ cups
1⅔ cups caster sugar
⅔ cup cream
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ teaspoon ﬂeur de sel
Position a rack in the centre of the oven, place a heavy baking tray on the rack, and preheat the oven to 190°C. Completely coat the interiors of four 250ml ramekins (9cm diameter) with some of the butter, with your brush strokes going from the bottom of the ramekins to the top (this will help the soufflés rise better). Refrigerate for about 2 minutes, or until the butter is cold and set. Brush with a second coating of butter in the same manner, then coat the interiors with caster sugar and shake out any excess sugar. Refrigerate the ramekins.
Place the bananas on a baking tray lined with foil and roast for about 30 minutes, or until the banana peels are completely blackened and the ﬂesh is soft. Remove the bananas from the oven (leave the oven on).
Peel the bananas (you should have about 1 heaped cup of banana ﬂesh). Transfer to a blender, add the cream and milk, and puree until smooth.
Transfer the banana mixture to a medium heavy saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the mixture and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk 1½ tablespoons of the caster sugar and the yolks for about 1 minute, or until light and ﬂuffy. Whisk in the ﬂour, then whisk in the hot banana mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, or until the custard is very thick and just beginning to bubble. Transfer the custard to a large bowl, press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming, and cool for 30 minutes, or to room temperature.
In the bowl of a stand mixer ﬁtted with the whisk attachment, whisk
the egg whites on medium-high speed for about 1 minute, or until they begin to foam. Slowly rain in the remaining 3 tablespoons caster sugar and beat for about 3 minutes, or until peaks are nearly stiff and still moist. Alternatively, you can use a handheld mixer instead of a stand mixer, but mixing times will be a bit longer.
Whisk one-third of the whipped egg whites into the banana custard to lighten it. Fold in another one-third of the egg whites, then fold in the remaining egg whites. Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins.
Bake the soufflés for about 15 minutes, or until they have risen but are still a bit liquid in the centre. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately, with the caramel sauce.
Heat a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and cook, without stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until the sugar melts and then turns a deep amber colour. As the sugar melts and caramelises, tilt and swirl the pan to distribute the caramel evenly, but do not stir. As soon as the caramel is a deep amber colour, remove the pan from the heat.
Stir in the cream and butter, whisking until the butter melts and the sauce is completely Strain through a ﬁne- mesh sieve to remove any undissolved bits of sugar, if necessary. Stir in the ﬂeur de sel and cool slightly before serving.
FOR EASY WOW FACTOR
Dust the soufﬂés with icing sugar at the table and serve the caramel sauce in a bowl with a couple of spoons so your guests can drizzle as much sauce over their dessert as they please. If your friends are anything like mine, there won’t be a scrap of sauce left over for tomorrow night’s ice cream.
PREP TIME: 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes cooling time
COOK TIME: 50 minutes
MAKE- AHEAD: The banana custard can be made up to 1 day ahead, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.
Extracted from Curtis Stone’s Good Food, Good Life. Published by Penguin, RRP $39.99