Thanks to an idea the Tyrian Menu planted into my head, I recently decided to exorcise a childhood demon, a dark and stomach-curdling culinary specter straight from my personal nightmarish depths of badly-made-desserts-hell. Chocolate-Bananas. Whenever I skim over that one while browsing the recipe list at my Chef’s Station in Lion’s Arch, I can’t decide whether to shiver in delight or disgust. On some level I never forgot that chocolates and bananas are a wonderful match – the instinct to shy away from it used to have far more punch to it, flooring the flickering desire to give it a chance after all these years within a heartbeat.
The reason for the scare back then started out as a wonderful summer treat. During the summer months my grandpa used to tug me along for his afternoon strolls from time to time and, if I had been a good girl, said stroll conveniently led past a tiny little italian ice cream parlor offering absolutely stunning, homemade gelato. One of our favorite sundae bowls to order was a classic Banana Split. Absolutely divine, only on the menu the day they had made the banana gelato, banana chunks on top of and inside the gelato, chocolate sauce, nuts, whipped cream… <insert visual of mini-Nahdala pulling a Garfield move on the bowl here> One early summer afternoon, on our first gelato-related mission that year, we had to find the parlor deserted, turned into an office of sorts. Desperate for a bowl of yum, we marched on to another ice cream parlor nearby – to have our winter-long dreams of showstopping ice cream viciously murdered and smeared all across town. Mass-produced, cheap, stale and outright disgusting… let’s just say, it was ugly. After being violently ill for what seemed like a lifetime, bananas and anything involving them were off limits for years. While I can enjoy a banana from time to time by now, when I’m really in the mood for it, banana ice cream remains a no-go. I’ve tried a couple, but for some reason, they taste of everything but bananas… I wonder how that works. Anyways, when I was in one of those banana-moods a while back, I remembered the Tyrian Chocolate Banana and decided to get over my decades old ick, twist it around a little and see what I can come up with. This is the yummy result of my GW2 inspired self-therapy~
This one, slightly twisted and tweaked…
…ended up like this on our plates~
And here’s how to make them~ You should get about 2-3 generous servings out of the amounts listed.
The Banana Coconut Puffs
125g Plain Flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
70g Icing Sugar
30g Coconut Flakes, toasted until golden and crispy
1 Lime, Zest
½ Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Pinch of Salt
4 ripe Bananas, peeled and roughly chopped
Sunflower Oil for frying
1) Sieve the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
2) Add the sugar, coconut flakes, lime zest and salt. Keep the lime nearby in case the mixture ends up being a tad too dry.
3) Pop the bananas into a food processor and whizz them into a smooth puree. If they’re really, really ripe, you can spare yourself the cleanup and simply have at them with a fork.
4) Add the banana goop and the vanilla extract to the bowl holding your flour mix and use a wooden spoon to work the lot into a smooth and even dough.
5) Cover the bowl with clingfilm and set it aside to rest for around 30 mins.
6) Pour enough oil ito a pot to reach up to 1/3 of it’s height. Set it onto medium-high heat and pop in a probe or candy thermometer.
7) Have a look-see at your dough. Its consistency should be somewhere in the neighborhood of a very creamy mousse or soft whipped cream – a bit on the goopey side of things but obligingly heaping on a test-spoon. If it’s trying to run off your spoon, dust the surface of the dough with a bit of flour, work it in with a whisk and take it from there. If the dough seems to have ended up on the dry side of things, add some lime juice in teaspoonfuls, and work them in until you’re satisfied.
8) Once the oil reaches the 180°C mark – your magic number for the rest of the process, so keep an eye on it – line a cooling rack with a paper towel, place it in easy reach and mentally prepare for a bit of a workout, dodging hot-oil bullets the pot might send in your direction.
9) Brush two tablespoons with a dab of vegetable oil, pick up a spoonful of your dough, and use the second spoon to “shape” it, as in: even out the surface as neatly as possible since any bits or peaks sticking far out of the blob of dough will unceremoniously burn up in the oil.
10) Let the blobs slide off your spoon into the oil one by one, making sure they don’t touch to avoid them ganging up on you as one angry, half-burned, half-raw mob. Going in batches of 3 or 4 portions at a time works best in my experience – I use a small, high-rimmed 20cm DIA pot for frying. Adjust the amounts to whatever pot or frying gizmo you’re using, just make sure they’re far enough apart.
11) Don’t overcrowd the pot in any case, the temperature of the oil going down too much thanks to too many additions at once would end you up with soggy, oily and outright repulsive balls of dessert-related doom rather than crispy-on-the-outside and fluffy-on-the-inside banana clouds.
12) Fry each puff for about 2-3 mins, turning them occasionally by means of a gentle nudge with a spoon, until they’re golden all around.
13) Take them out of the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on your prepped cooling rack to keep them crispy until you’re done with the rest of them.
The Chocolate Sauce
Since the puffs are best served hot, I didn’t make much of a fuss about the dipping sauce, so here’s my quick-fix chocolate sauce, easily whipped up in between the in-and-out-of-the-oil-motions on the other stovetop.
50g mild Dark Chocolate, 75-80% Cocoa Solids, finely grated
2 Tbsp Skimmed Whipping Cream
2 Pinches of Fleur de Sel
Opt: 1 Pinch of Chilli Flakes
Opt: 1-2 Tsp of Liquor 43 or Bailey’s
1) Place the cream and, if you’re going with the boozy or spicy options, the liquor or chilli flakes in a heatproof bowl set onto a small pot of simmering water. Let the liquids warm up for around 3 mins.
2) Add the grated chocolate and stir the lot with a rubber spatula until the chocolate has dissolved.
3) Flake in the nougat and, again, gently stir the mixture until it’s smooth and glossy.
4) Pour the sauce into small dipping bowls and sprinkle a couple of salt flakes on top of each serving.
5) Grab the puffs, lean back and…
By the way, these puffs also work wonders in a chocolate-fountain setup or as part of a chocolate-fondue fruit arrangement. Just make sure to place them in a separate bowl to keep them away from fruit juices and other, crisp-threatening things.~