Banana Crème Brûlée

Banana Crème Brûlée

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EvernotePinterest...

A recent lunch at the Brewster Fish House reminded us of just how much we love crème brûlée. As we wandered through the grocery store on Saturday, trying to decide what to make for dessert for a dinner with our two local daughters and their families, the Kitchen Genius decided that a banana crème brûlée would be just the thing. He thought torching sliced bananas would give it some of the flavor of another favorite dessert – bananas foster.

Banana crème brûlée is like comfort in a dish, and was especially welcome on such a cold and gloomy weekend. Making it set off a mini-series of baking that happily took up most of the afternoon on Sunday.

Banana Crème Brûlée

You want crème brûlée to be smooth and creamy. To infuse the cream with the most banana flavor I could muster, I smashed up two small bananas and placed them in a saucepan with the cream. I also cut open a whole vanilla bean and scraped the seeds into the cream and then dropped the pod in as well.

I contemplated putting a little rum in the mixture to further the association with bananas foster, but the dessert was meant for my granddaughters as well as their parents. Even though the alcohol would completely cook off, it would still leave behind a flavor that would be off-putting to children. I was going for pure custard comfort, not edgy flavors.

After simmering the mixture for 15 minutes, I then let it rest for another 15 minutes. This added to the flavor infusion and cooled the mixture enough that it would not cook the egg yolks when I combined them.

Since I didn’t want lumpy crème brûlée, I poured the infused cream through a fine mesh sieve. I couldn’t bear to discard those lovely vanilla scented bananas, so I saved them until my crème brûlée was safely tucked in a water bath in the oven. Then I decided to make banana bread.

banana-3-1

Over the years I’ve noticed that most banana bread recipes make two loaves. Two loaves might have been fine when all of my children were home, but now that there is just two of us, it’s excessive. I’m not a fan of freezing baked goods. It always changes the flavor and texture just enough that it’s not worth it. My theory is that if I’m going to indulge in calories eating something sweet, its much preferable to enjoy something freshly made.

I set out to create a one loaf recipe for banana bread and was very pleased with the results. The bread was incredibly moist, even the end pieces.

Banana Crème Brûlée
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings
6
Servings
6
Banana Crème Brûlée
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings
6
Servings
6
Ingredients
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 4 small bananas , ripe (reserve 2)
  • 1 vanilla bean , cut in half with seeds scraped out
  • 6 tablespoons sugar (plus 6 teaspoons for glazing at end)
  • 6 egg yolks
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Place cream, two mashed bananas, vanilla bean seeds and pod and 6 tablespoons sugar in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until steam rises. Take pan off burner and set aside for 15 minutes to cool.
  2. Beat the eggs yolks until smooth in a medium size mixing bowl. Strain cream mixture through a fine mesh sieve set over a second bowl. Discard vanilla bean pod and save bananas to make banana bread.
  3. Whisking constantly, slowly pour cream mixture into egg yolks. A very fine stream works well. Divide custard among six small oven proof bowls.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking dish with deep sides with a dish towel, making sure surface is as smooth as possible. Place individual servings of crème brûlée on top of the towel. Carefully pour boiling water into the baking pan until it reaches halfway up the side of the bowls. Do not get any water in the crème brûlée or they will not set properly. Lightly cover pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until firm to the touch but still jiggly.
  5. Cool to room temperature and then chill for 2 to 3 hours. When ready to serve, slice remaining two bananas into thin slices. Fan the slices in a pretty pattern on top of the crème brûlées. Evenly sprinkle 1 teaspoon on top of each dish. With a kitchen torch, move the flame in continuous circles until sugar bubbles up and turns golden brown. Serve immediately.
    Banana Crème Brûlée
Share this Recipe
Blueberry Buckle

Blueberry Buckle

The summer I was fifteen years old I babysat for a family at the end of our road from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. five days a week. Every afternoon when I got home, I would grab the little galvanized metal bucket stored in the garage and head up to our back hill to pick a quart of wild blueberries before dinner. Most of those berries ended up in our freezer. During the 1970’s my parents grew or raised most of the food our family ate on the 86 acre farm we lived on. Berries were my contribution.

blueberry hill 3

But the last week of the summer, any berries I picked were mine to sell. Every year my father would drive my brother and me to the small city of Binghamton, New York, and set us up with a little farm stand on a card table on a busy city corner. The money we made that day paid for school clothes for us and our two younger brothers. As the only girl, I was much more interested in clothes, so my berry money bought what my parent’s budget couldn’t afford.

I still love to pick berries. There is something so calming and satisfying about sitting on the ground filling up a bucket one tiny berry at a time. There are plenty of wild blueberries on Cape Cod, including quite a few small wild bushes in my yard. The berries are so small that there are never enough to actually do anything with, so we save them for our granddaughter, Skylar. She has lived in a city for the past three years and loves to pick berries (and just about anything else) in her Nani and Papi’s yard.

Watching her joy at finding treasures to eat and her patience in picking makes me believe that some people are just born berry pickers – and other’s are not. We still laugh at how traumatized our son was when forced to pick berries a few years ago in Maine. To him, this was hard labor in the hot sun, even though it sounded fun when we set out.

I had found a reference to a place called Blueberry Hill in the Belgrade Lakes region. Blueberry Hill! Just like the berry picking spot in “Blueberries for Sal,” one of my favorite children’s books. The Kitchen Genius, Tommy and I set off in search of it. It was not a well marked place and I only had a sketchy idea of where it was. We finally stopped at a small country store to ask directions.

The clerk knew right where Blueberry Hill was and sent us on our way with some homemade Whoopee Pies for lunch and a bottle of blueberry wine for later. How could we resist blueberry wine after a day picking blueberries?

Blueberry hill 1

Blueberry Hill was simply gorgeous. The whole mountainside really was covered with small bush blueberries and it had a view of two lakes in the valley that was just stunning.

blueberry hill 2

We started picking and Tommy was done after about 15 minutes. The Kitchen Genius was ready to leave after about a half an hour. But I could have stayed there all day long. Instead, I insisted on staying until we had at least a quart of blueberries. Even Tommy admitted the blueberry lemon cake I made that day was worth the work.

I didn’t have time to pick blueberries this week, so I bought some locally grown ones at Satucket Farm Stand.

For nostalgia’s sake I made a bowl of blueberry buckle, which is just the kind of dessert my mother used to make. It’s delicious served warm with homemade whipped cream or some vanilla ice cream, although the kids think it’s a pretty awesome breakfast too.

Blueberry Buckle
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
This recipe is equally delicious with blackberries, which are also in season now. Just add an extra 1/4 cup sugar because blackberries are tarter than blueberries. If you do happen to find wild blueberries, I would also increase the sugar to 3/4 cup.
Servings
8 - 10
Servings
8 - 10
Blueberry Buckle
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
This recipe is equally delicious with blackberries, which are also in season now. Just add an extra 1/4 cup sugar because blackberries are tarter than blueberries. If you do happen to find wild blueberries, I would also increase the sugar to 3/4 cup.
Servings
8 - 10
Servings
8 - 10
Ingredients
Filling:
  • 6 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter , cut ito small pieces
Topping:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup whole milk , minus 1 tablespoon
Servings:
Instructions
Filling:
  1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss them together until the berries are evenly coated and all the other ingredients are evenly distributed. Spoon into a 2 1/2 to 3 quart bowl shaped baking dish.
Topping:
  1. In a large bowl thoroughly combine dry ingredients. Add butter and cut it into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add vinegar to milk and let sit for a couple of minutes. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Spoon batter over berry mixture and bake at 325 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes, until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center of dough comes out clean.
Share this Recipe