Friday, December 30, 2005

Gone Banana's

Making my debut with a menu in the middle of summer was a blessing beyond anything I could see at the time. This blessing I speak of was fruit. I was blessed with fuzzy peaches from Yakima, plump little cherries, sugary strawberries from Carnation, blueberries, raspberries, apricots, blackberries, pumpkins, wild huckleberries, all of which needed little attention from me to shine on a plate. I was learning to manage a menu, draw from my creative pool, and research and develop recipes while these fruits did most of the work.

Now that winter has set in, the items on my menu are requiring much more from me. No longer can I slice a perfect peach, garnish it minimally and call it good. It is time for me to put my skills to work.

This week I put myself to the task of a banana desert. I chose a caramelized banana bavarian inspired by Gordon Ramsey. It is a lovely use of the bavarian method as the banana's texture add a luxurious mouth feel. The banana's are rolled in sugar and caramelized before being pureed, bringing out the fruits richness. It is set over the top of a very thin, rum soaked layer of geniose.

Aside this desert are some very playful flavors. A quenelle of rich milk chocolate mousse flanks the banana making for a classic flavor combination. Move over a little and you'll find a pool of malted cream remenecent of a vanilla malted milk shake. Finally for a little snap, crackle, and pop a line of caramelized rice crispies sweeps across the plate.

Creating a dramatic line with a loose garnish is not my idea, but an idea I love no less. My friend Anjana spoke of this design factor from her experience at Mary Elaine's, but I first saw it at The Fat Duck made with toasted coconut aside a rhubarb parfait. It slipped from my mind until a recent dinner at Seattle's Veil restaurant. After an absolutely exhilarating 5 courses, the desserts came out. Across a plate that featured a date ice cream was this exact sweeping line made with caramelized oats. It was the final touch I was looking for.

I underestimated the selling power of banana's until selling out of this desert two nights ago when a group of 8 people ordered 7 of this dessert for their table.


Blogger cuisinier said...

Hello, cool dessert. Flavors sound good together. Of course, dark chocolate is always a for sure bet. Have you tried Scharffenberger? One of my new fav's is Pralus, Sao Tome. Very rich, bittersweet, smokey but tasty and provocative. Great with bananas! On another note, just put up a blog of my own, cuisinierskitchen. check it out. It is just a start and have not done ti before. I have posted a tribute ot chef who passed, Eddie Montoya. You might know him. cuisinier.

December 31, 2005 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I liked the photos. Would it be possible to post recipes (or to give sources in books?).

Is your Gordon Ramsey by any chance related to the UKs Gordon Ramsay?


PS Heston Blumenthal has been honoured by the Queen: OBE. (Together with Gordon Ramsay).

January 05, 2006 12:31 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

Petrus.... Of course my Gordon Ramsey is the same as yoru Gordon Ramsey. The world is only big enough for one Gordon Ramsey. The banana bavarian recipe I use started from the recipe in his Just Desserts book.

The caramelized Rice Crispies are from Piere Herme's chocolate book.

The malted cream is an anglaise with half a cup or so of malt powder added to taste.

The milk chocolate mousse is my own recipe, not from a book.

I haven't posted recipes in the past because i leave my recipe book at work most evenings. If you want any recipe I am more than happy to share, just email me. The email link is under the profile section of the blog. I'll send it post haste.

So Heston was honoured by the queen?? Does that make him a knight? Isn't Elton John a knight too? Sir Heston... it has a nice ring to it.

January 05, 2006 7:12 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

Cuisinier- I was not aquainted with your friend unfortunately. Your post was touching, and Chef Montoya was clearly cut short of an amazing life. My condolences.

January 05, 2006 7:15 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

January 06, 2006 11:56 PM  
Anonymous RC said...

I ate at Evan tonight and I had the banana dessert. It was the bst dessert I have ever had!!

January 06, 2006 11:57 PM  

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