Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Go Bananas for Banoffee

I've been on a meringue kick lately.  Probably, in part, because I've also been trending towards lighter desserts. Not at all because I've fallen out of love with cake. . . on the contrary, it still remains my favorite food.  But, I've been enjoying the rich heavy foods of winter so much, that, by the end of the meal, I'm, well, sort of stuffed.  Not enough to totally forgo a sugary ending, but enough that I'm craving something a little more toned down.  Hence, the meringue.  And it doesn't hurt that the "wow" factor is great, for relatively little effort.  Here's a good one to try:

Banoffee Meringue Roulade

Banoffee, for those of you who are unaware, is a British version of banana pudding, with the word arising from a combination of banana and toffee.  Toffee to me has always been those sweet brittle bits of crunchiness, but apparently it's just another word for caramel.


1 cup Almond flour
1 cup Sugar + 2 Tbsp Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Cornstarch
6 Egg Whites
1 tsp White Vinegar
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
1 cup Sliced Almonds

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Whip egg whites in a stand mixer at high speed using the whisk attachment.  When soft peaks form, slowly pour the cup of sugar into the egg whites in a slow stream.  Whip at high speed until stiff peaks form.  (I tend to let this go for a while -- like 7-10 minutes-- since I've never actually managed to over-whip egg whites.)

While the meringue is forming, combine the cornstarch, 2 Tbsp sugar, and almond flour in a small bowl and mix until well combined.

After the meringue is stiff, beat in the vinegar and almond extract for about 30 seconds.

Brush a little of the meringue mixture in each corner of a 1/2 sheet pan.  Fit the pan with parchment paper, making sure the paper rises above each edge of the pan.  Press down to stick the parchment to the meringue mixture.

Fold the almond mixture into the meringue in three parts.  Make sure that you combine very gently -- you do not want to deflate the mixture any more than necessary.  When done, spread the mixture evenly within the sheet pan.  Coat with the sliced almonds.

Put the pan in the oven and immediately decrease the temperature to 275 degrees F.  Bake for 40 minutes, until the top is firm and brown.

While the meringue is cooking, make the filling.

Banoffee Filling

13 1/2 oz Heavy Cream
4 1/2 oz Mascarpone Cheese
  2 tsp Vanilla Extract 
1/4 cup Confectioners Sugar 
3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2  Bananas, sliced 
1 can Dulce de Leche 
Powdered sugar to decorate
Beat the cream and sugar together until soft peaks form.  Add the cheese and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.  While the mixture is forming, toss the banana slices in the lemon juice.  This will prevent them from browning.   Microwave the dulce de leche up for 45 seconds to one minute in a microwave safe bowl.  It should be spreadable when finished.  Set aside.

When the meringue is done cooking and is completely cool, quickly and carefully flip onto your work surface.  Some of the meringue will break off (hopefully just at the edges.)  Trim to desired size.

Spread the dulce de leche in an even layer along the meringue, reserving a bit to decorate the top, and leaving a 1 cm margin of bare meringue on each side.  Top with a layer of whipped filling, and then finally, with the sliced bananas.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.

 Depending on whether you want a long skinny roll, or a fat short roll, roll the meringue (again, carefully!) along either the long edge or the short edge, using the parchment paper to assist you, and ending with the free edge on the bottom.  It will crack. This is normal. When completely rolled, use the parchment paper to transfer to your serving dish.  Tear the excess parchment out from under the roulade.

Drizzle the residual dulce de leche over the top of the roulade and sift powdered sugar over it.  Refrigerate to firm the dish up.

Yummy!  Can't you just taste the dulce de leche drizzles. . . mmmmm.  Even my husband loved it and he is assuredly against meringue (I can actually see his heart drop when I tell him I'm making it.)  But, I mean, really -- sweet bananas and ooey-gooey dulce de leche with that crispy, chewy, meringue? What's not to love!

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