The best part of this dessert is that it's not overly sweet. Well-ripened bananas, creamy egg-yolky custard, and hand-whisked whipped cream all come through with a great balance of flavor. That's not to say we don't use some sugar, so don't be afraid to add it as described.
Start by smashing 5-6 graham crackers by hand and add a tablespoon of brown sugar. Melt two tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Use a ladle to crush the crackers into a fine, even mixture and then add the butter and combine with your hands.
- 3 quart pan
- Kitchen torch
- Wooden spoon
I used five ramekins for no particular reason. These small ceramic baking dishes are great for single servings. The base felt to be the right thickness for me. You could use four and make a thicker base instead. After adding the cracker mixture, I tamped it down with the top of a cocktail shaker - anything similar will work.
Now bake the ramekins at 425º for about 10-15 minutes. Check on them around the 8-minute mark to make sure things don't burn. You can see how the color turns to a nice golden brown. Set these aside to cool down.
They're easy on the eyes, like Leela.
Cook Some Custard
Custard shouldn't be a scary thing to attempt, but you do have to be very careful to not rush it. I cook it on medium then medium-low heat to make sure it doesn't turn into curdled eggs - sometimes removing it from the heat. It takes a while (maybe 20 minutes) to get thick so be patient.
I stir it constantly with a wooden spoon while sipping on a tasty beverage.
I learned how to make custard from a Gordon Ramsay book years ago. It worked so well that I haven't deviated much from it. One cup each of whole milk and heavy cream, 6-7 tablespoons of sugar, and 7 egg yolks.
Save the egg whites for a (less) flavorful omelette.
From that base, you can add anything you want - tarragon, vanilla bean pod, etc. It just needs a little time to infuse.
This 3-quart pan is my go-to for custard. I like the wide base that helps to get the liquid up to temp and allows for easy stirring. Add the milk, cream, one tablespoon of sugar, and a seeded vanilla bean pod (along with the seeds) to the pan. Cook on medium heat until it boils then remove it to a bowl and set aside to infuse for 15 minutes.
Next, whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar together until they're light and creamy. You'll see the color change to a light yellow, too.
Pour the milk into the egg mix, whisking to combine.
The picture above is after adding the full mixture back into the pan. The airy parts from whisking go away as it cooks. Cook and stir on medium to medium-low until it lightly coats the back of your spoon. Remove it to a bowl, pouring through a sieve, and chill for a few hours.
Slice two ripened bananas and chill them in the fridge for about a half hour.
Whip Some Cream
At any time, you can make the whipped cream. Add a cup of heavy whipping cream along with a tablespoon of sugar and two teaspoons of vanilla extract into a bowl. Whisk your ass off until it's thick and peaky. Toss it in the fridge until ready to use.
You'll need to take breaks to rest your arm. It's OK.
Assemble the Dessert
Finally! This is the fun part. One-by-one, grab a ramekin and assemble the dessert. Start by placing banana slices in an overlapping circle on top of the base.
Sprinkle a pinch of sugar over top of the bananas and then torch them. Put the ramekins back in the fridge to let the bananas cool down.
Add a couple large spoonfuls of custard over top of the first layer of bananas. Add a few more banana slices, top with a pinch of sugar, and torch them.
Finally, top the dessert with some whipped cream. Add a dash of powdered cocoa and a small amount of finger-crushed Maldon sea salt. Enjoy!
🐶 Leela Storm's Suggested Pairings
- 🎵 Alabama Shakes: Sound and Color
- ☕ Espresso or dark-roast coffee
We even made Leela her own dessert! It's a pumpkin puree cake with bananas and cream.
She didn't eat the damn bananas. 🙁
🍽 Kitchen Critique
I've always had a sweet-tooth, but I don't enjoy sweets that are too sweet, dig? I love that this dessert has the natural sweetness of ripened banana, a creamy custard, and hand-whisked whipped cream. Nothing is overpowering, and the textures are great.
A bit of crunch from the graham cracker base. A bit more light crunch from the torched sugar and banana combo. A light flavor from the whipped cream and cocoa, and little bits of Maldon which make anything better.
It's just a great combination that doesn't overpower your taste buds. Bite after bite is totally enjoyable, and when you think you're done, you go back for more.
- This is an easy dessert but takes attention to detail and some time to complete.
- Careful on that custard - once it starts to thicken, it does so very quickly.
- Whisk that cream! The flavor is awesome and light - plus, you'll feel good accomplishing a simple but arm-tiring task.
- Leela refuses to eat most fruit, including these bananas. She sure as hell found her way around them to get everything else, though.