So – I’m not even a banana fan, and I love, love, love this dish!!
The recipe is from Terressa Jarvis, who is a Tasmanian Chef. She has worked at some of Tasmania’s best restaurants, and takes a lot of her inspiration from French cooking techniques and the bountiful Tasmanian produce. Not that you’d know from this recipe – by my reckoning, I can’t imagine Bananas growing in Tassie!
This would be an amazing special occasion dessert. You can make each of the three elements in advance and assemble at the last minute. I must admit I was quite impressed with my piping skills for this recipe – but it might just be that I am finally using the right equipment and not the ziplock bag trick. A month or so ago, I saw some disposable piping bags at the kitchenware shop, and I bought them. They work out at about $1 each, so they are not expensive, and they worked beautifully. I’ll definitely use them again.
There are three elements to this recipe:
- Banana Bavarois
- Oat Wafer
- Salted Caramel Sauce
I must admit it was the salted caramel sauce that initially got me interested in this recipe. Master 3 has recently discovered the love of the macaron. It’s an expensive habit for me to maintain when we go out – I think the record has been $4.50 for one. His favourite of recent times was a Salted Caramel Macaron – he asked for a second one later in the day, and then a third! I succumbed to the request for the second (we were on holidays) but I knocked the request for number 3 firmly on the head.
In a real world, where you weren’t spreading this recipe across a couple of days, I think the Bavarois would be the first element that most people would attempt, mainly because it needs to set. While you’re waiting for it to set, you could make the oat wafer and the salted caramel sauce.
So, I’ll start with the Bavarois.
Firstly, it is really important that you get the right strength gelatine leaves. I’ve been using the Gelita ones, and I can say with some certainty, even though they don’t put it anywhere on the packet, that they are gold strength (see the picture if you want to know the exact packet). If you use any other strength you’ll either end up with something that runs off your plate or a chewy rubber bullet (trust me – I speak from experience – not with this particular recipe, but with a pannacotta a year or so ago).
I used lady finger bananas and 85 grams was about one and a half bananas. I also used some banana liqueur which I purchased at the local bottle shop. Sadly, it wasn’t available in small bottles, so I have one rather large bottle to get through, so I think this recipe will be on repeat until the bottle has gone.
I think the saffron threads are in the bavarois for the colour, as I know that banana can go that awful grey colour once it’s been cut up. This bavarois is a pleasant pale colour, not too artificial, and definitely not grey. The left over bavarois has been in the fridge for 24 hours now, covered, and it still doesn’t show any sign of going any other colour.
The bavarois is pretty straightforward to make – although I did manage to turn my first lot of cream into butter 😮 I think the trick is to start very slow (speed 2 or 3) and then as soon as it gives a hint of forming soft peaks, stop! If you don’t stop then, you will run the risk of turning the cream into buttery curdled bits when you incorporate the banana.
This makes lots of bavarois, far more than you need for a serving for 4 in my opinion. Next time I’ll double up on the recipe for the oat wafers and the salted caramel sauce so I have more to go around, and don’t end up eating the bavarois by itself.
And now, for the oat wafers. They are great – in fact, I made them last weekend expecting to make this dessert then, and then we had to cancel our traditional Sunday night dinner. Needless to say, they are so delicious and addictive that the whole tray of them went in a day. The wafers are sort of a cross between Anzac Biscuits and Butternut Snaps – lovely with a cup of tea or I would imagine amazing with some good old vanilla ice cream in between. I’m actually disappointed I just thought of that combination – – – I might just have to whip some up now to try!
My tips for the oat wafer would be to err on the side of too thin for the oat wafer. Also, when you are rolling it out between to sheets of baking paper, try and keep the shape uniform so when you come to cutting the wafer shapes, you will have nice even edges and not waste any. I found it took about 15 minutes to get them to golden brown, but keep a close eye on them. Cut the wafer shapes while they are still warm, and separate them if you can. Mine were a little chewy, which was fine, but I think my preference would be for something with a little more ‘snap’, so you could hit it with your spoon and watch it crack. I think my problem was not taking them off the tray after cutting them, and letting them dry out a little on a wire rack. I think it gets down to personal preference, but I think the textural contrast of something with a real crunchy bit to it would be even nicer.
Ohhhh, the salted caramel! I’m sort of afraid it’s so easy to make – it means I am mere weeks away from the hefty lady department!! This is truly delightful. I used Maldon Sea Salt and it tasted amazing – you sort of feel like it’s a little too salty by itself until you eat it with the bavarois and the oat wafer, and then it is pure bliss. To make sure you don’t overdose on the salt component, invert the MC and weigh the salt into that , and once you’re happy with the amount then tip it into the mixture. By my guesstimate, five grams of salt ended up being about 2 teaspoonfuls of Maldon Sea Salt.
My only mistake was to not take the salted caramel out of the fridge a while before I planned to serve it up – it tasted amazing, but looked a little blobby on the plate.
The family verdict was a resounding “please make this again”. And I will!