It’s a bizarre phenomenon. My roommates, fiancé (ok, I’m still not used to that!) and I keep buying bananas all on the same day. We don’t plan it out, we just silently fill the bowl on our counter with these yellow fruits, then, just as suddenly, forget about them. Maybe it’s the hot weather, but before we know it, we’re looking at a pile of brown bananas, faced with the decision to chuck them or bake them into something delicious: and the decision is an urgent one. You know when bananas reach the point of no return, like the skin is hanging off and a sideways glance will begin the fermentation process? It’s time to make banana bread, and fast! Or is it?
Maybe you’re a daring bake-o-phile like me and you’re wondering what else can you do with bananas before they take on a life of their own and sprout feelers? (I know that they don’t technically have a life cycle…but mobile bananas sound really cute!)
Why not make some delicious, brown banana pots de crème? Serve them up with espresso whipped cream or chocolate sauce, chocolate chip cookies or coffee ice-cream. Although the combination of banana flavor and the little jars had us laughing and thinking of baby food, these little treats have a sophisticated flavor, with pronounced caramel notes from the brown sugar. The recipe is very easy, although be prepared to wait a while for the pots de crème to bake and cool (about 1- 1 1/2 hrs.) I had never made pots de crème before, so I read up a bit before developing my recipe. My sources include La Tartine Gourmande, the Food Network, andMichael Ruhlman’s Ratio. This recipe is also completely gluten-free: big plus!
Preheat the oven to 325F and set aside 6 ramekins or ovenproof jars. You will need a glass pan for a water bath as well. Purée the bananas with 1 Tbs water in a magic bullet or blender (I prefer the bullet!) until smooth and liquid. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, banana purée and vanilla to a boil, then allow to simmer, stirring occasionally. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, yolk and eggs until cohesive. Add the pinch of salt. Still whisking, slowly add a thin stream of the hot milk mixture to the eggs. Whisk constantly. Keep adding the hot milk and bananas a little at a time until they are incorporated. With a metal spoon, skim off the foam that has formed and discard. I like to use a mixing bowl with a pitcher lip for this purpose because you are now going to fill the ramekins or jars with the liquid custard. Carefully fill them, keeping the sides clean and set them in the glass water bath. Fill the bath with hot water until it is halfway up the sides of the jars or ramekins. Bake the pots de crème in the bath for 35-40 minutes, or until set (no jiggle in the middle.) Remove from the oven and the bath and allow to cool before covering with a little plastic wrap and chilling before serving. You can store the pots de crème like this for future use as well. Serve as is or paired with peanut butter, chocolate, coffee or coconut.
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