Gone Bananas Part 2: Banana Brûlée

With the surplus of bananas in our house barely dwindling, I went to work on the second installment of my banana series. “Banana Brûlée” had a nice ring to it and besides, I’ve always wanted an excuse to purchase a culinary torch.

Off to Crate & Barrel I went, with a 15% coupon I’d just received in the mail. I came home with this lovely thing and let me tell you, it’s so tempting to want to brûlée everything now. I mean, why not, right? My husband and I have a date one night soon to test the little blue flame on whatever we can dig up in our kitchen. We both agree it could be one of our most exhilarating dates ever.

This dessert is different from the traditional Crème brûlée and is more like a spiced banana pudding with that hard, crispy caramel layer on top. I took a Chef Chloe recipe and banana-ized it. : ) It’s delicious, a lot of fun to prepare, and a big hit with everyone around the table!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 ripe banana, mashed or pureed
  • 1/4 non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 14-oz can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar plus more for the brûlée
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and cornstarch until well combined. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, and heat until just boiling. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and slowly drizzle the cornstarch into the mixture while continuously stirring. If you pour it all in at once or stop stirring, the cornstarch mixture may clump together in the saucepan. Let the mixture cook until it’s very thick in consistency (about 5 minutes), whisking frequently. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Pour the mixture into ramekins or Crème brûlée dishes and smooth the top with a spatula or knife. Let them cool for 10 minutes then chill them in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. I left mine overnight, uncovered.

Remove them from the refrigerator one hour before you plan to torch them so that they reach room temperature first. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons sugar over each and then lift them to shake the sugar into an even coating (much like you grease and flour a baking pan).

If you have a full-size torch, hold it about 2-3 inches from the sugar. I have a compact torch so I held mine closer. Melt the sugar evenly until it bubbles and turns golden. Be sure to keep moving the flame around so it doesn’t burn any one spot.

Once there’s no more visible dry sugar, let them sit for 3-5 minutes to harden. You can use the edge of a fork or spoon to lightly tap the brûlée and make sure it’s hardened. Once it has, serve immediately!

Happy eating!