Recipe: Caramelized Bananas with Caramel Sauce served over Toasted Pound Cake
Growing up I was never much one for camp. I happily spent my summers at the farm, mucking stalls and bringing in the mares, earning a daily lesson on one of the saint school horses that lived in the far barn.
This past weekend though I was transported to my own personal nirvana; a culinary camp of sorts in Boulder, CO taught at Escoffier: School of Culinary Arts. The only thing possibly better than spending four days with brilliant chefs, lovely fellow students, and more pounds of butter than I care to admit, was getting to spend the weekend with my Dad. Big Tim flew in from Boston and I arrived from Seattle for a father/daughter weekend, the first we realized with shocking soberness since April 1999.
Friday night we kicked things off with Street-Style Tacos and Saturday and Sunday were filled with Sophisticated Sauces, a class that teaches how to make iconic dishes, elevated to the next level through sauces from Italy, France, Thailand, and more. The classes were utterly spectacular offering hours of hands-on learning culminating in a shared meal.
This Caramelized Bananas with Caramel Sauce served over Toasted Pound Cake was a stunning end to an absolutely epic meal, featuring the salted caramel sauce we’d begun the day with. Caramel sauce is undeniably tricky, but our instructor Chef Ann taught us the tricks of the trade, resulting in a nearly foolproof finished product that when drizzled over caramelized bananas made everyone forget how full we’d claimed we were just moments before.
The beauty of this dish is that it can be made largely ahead, creating an elegant end to a dinner party that doesn’t require much fuss. Stay tuned for more shared recipes from our Culinary Camp weekend, but for now…enjoy this one..because it is good!
Caramelized Bananas with Salted Caramel Sauce served over Toasted Pound Cake
Adapted from Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts: Sophisticated Sauces – Day 1
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar + more for sprinkling the bananas
- 1 TB corn syrup
- 1/3 cup water (enough to cover the water or “hydrate” it)
- 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 TB vanilla
- 1 TB butter
- 1 tsp fine salt (or to taste)
- Pound cake (store-bought is fine)
- Vanilla ice cream
- Ripe bananas
- Toasted Almonds
Note: I’ve had my fair share of disastrous caramel making experiences, so a few tricks of the trade. Your pan must be absolutely clean. Even something as minor as touching the inside with your fingers can cause crystallization. No stirring; ever. When you add the cream it will rapidly expand, so use a much bigger pot than you think you need.
- Place the corn syrup in the bottom of medium/large sauce pan and swirl to coat. Add the sugar and water, and swirl again until all the sugar is covered with water/looks hydrated.
- Set the pan over low-medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Do not stir. If sugar crystals are forming on the edge of the pan give a quick swirl to reincorporate.
- Raise the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Cook over medium high heat until the syrup becomes a rich golden color.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Whisking vigorously, with a long-handled wire whisk, add the heavy cream. Stir until incorporated.
- Add the vanilla and the butter and stir until the sauce is smooth.
- Allow to cool slightly and add salt to taste.
- To caramelize bananas, peel and cut in half lengthwise. Liberally coat with white sugar, enough so that you can’t see the banana underneath. Using a blow torch, caramelize until golden brown and a nice candy topping has formed.
- Serve over ice cream, toasted pound cake slices, and caramelized bananas. Top with toasted almonds.