Let me introduce you to my very first SHF entry, the Bananas Foster Napoleon. This little tower of pancreas stressing delight was on tonight's dessert menu, so I'm coming in just under the time limit. I made the puff pastry from scratch earlier in the week and was very surprised (actually jumping with joy) when it began to puff in the oven. This was a truly amazing moment for me considering the agony of making it. I was so sure it would be a dud that I purchased a package from the frozen section as back up. All went reasonably well however and it ended up looking really good. I think it should have puffed more than it did, but I'm not going to complain. Not too loudly anyway.
This dessert layers bananas foster and caramel pastry cream between circles of sugared puff pastry. The napoleon is then topped with a big scoop of toasted coconut whipped cream. I really liked the presentation and the taste was a smash too. The pastry was slightly underdone, so next time I'll bake it 5 minutes, or so longer.
Since the recipe for it was thrown together as I went along I won't be posting it tonight. Figuring out what amount of what, went in where is a job better left for tomorrow when I'm a bit more awake.
Merry Sugar High to all and to all a good night!
Okay here's the rest of the story.
I got the idea for this dessert in part from Anna Olsen's Caramel Napoleon posted on Food TV Canada. I fell in love with the concept, but for what I was looking for the flavors seemed too blah. Since the pastry was already made and hanging out in the fridge, all I had to do was think of how to jazz up the layers. I had originally thought of using caramel pastry cream and toasted hazelnut whipped cream for the layers, but scrapped that idea when bananas foster entered the picture.
The inside out puff pastry, as well as the base for the pastry cream was from Pierre Herme's Desserts cookbook. Although I messed around with the ingredients for the pastry cream, I'd say I followed the puff pastry recipe to the letter. No room for fooling around there.
Roll out puff pastry and cut out three circles, about 4 inches in diameter, for each napoleon you're going to make. I made 4 so I cut out 12 circles. Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 F for (longer than I did!) about 20 minutes maybe longer. When slightly cooled sprinkle 4 of the circles with icing sugar to be used for the top layer.
2 cups of sugar
1/4 cup of water
pinch of salt
additional 1/3 cup water
1 can condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla
Prepare a dark caramel with the sugar and 1/4 cup of water. This should reach a medium-dark brown color. When the mixture has reached the desired color add the additional water and salt mixture, which will stop the cooking. Step back though this splatters! Let this mixture cool and then add the condensed milk and vanilla.
Caramel Pastry Cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk (I used a cup of 1% and 1/2 cup of whipping cream, because that's what I had)
1/2 cup caramel sauce (from above)
1 tsp vanilla
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup cornstarch
3 1/2 Tbsp butter
In a saucepan bring milk, vanilla and caramel sauce to a boil. Cover the pan and remove from heat. Fill a big bowl with ice cubes and water. Then get a smaller bowl to put the finished cream in that can rest inside the larger bowl. Set aside a fine mesh strainer as well.
Whisk yolks and cornstarch together in a heavy sauce pan. Whisking constantly very slowly add 1/4 of the hot milk to the yolks. Still whisking add the rest of the hot milk to yolks in a steady stream. Put the pan on high heat and whisk like mad. Bring the mixture to a boil and keep there for 1 - 2 minutes. At this point mine became crazy thick. I did mess with the milk amounts though, adding 1/2 cup of caramel sauce in place of 1/2 cup of milk so maybe that had something to do with it. Regardless of that I think there's enough cornstarch in this cream to set concrete.
After that you're supposed to press it through the sieve. I could have done this over about a 4 hour period due to the thickness, but decided to forgo straining after pressing about 1/4 of the mixture through. Once done set the bowl and cream into the ice bath and cool to 140 F. Stirring frequently to keep it smooth. Once cooled add the butter in 3 additions. Keep it in the ice bath until cool stirring occasionally.
Remaining Caramel Sauce
1 Tbsp Rum
Put the caramel sauce into a non-stick skillet and bring to a boil add bananas and gently stir to coat. Cook until heated through. Add rum and gently stir. Remove from heat.
Toasted Coconut Whipped Cream
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut toasted in a non-stick skillet and cooled. Whip 1 cup of cream and 1/8 cup of sugar whipped to stiff peaks. Fold coconut into cream.
To assemble take the first disk of puff pastry and layer with banana foster slices. Once arranged drizzle with extra sauce. Place next round of puff pastry on top of bananas. Using a piping bag, pipe a circle of pastry cream starting from the outside of the round to the center. Then place a sugar dusted round of puff pastry on top of the pastry cream. Add a heaped spoonful of toasted coconut whipped cream and serve.
This made four servings. I do however, have lots of leftover cream, caramel sauce and puff pastry. I'm thinking that's not a bad thing...