Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bananathon! Bananas done 3 ways (incl a chocolate banana souffle)!

        So I wake up on Saturday morning thinking... "Hmm maybe I should try and spend minimum time in the kitchen this weekend." I knew that I had some frozen berries in the freezer and wanting to not go out and buy ingredients I could most likely make do with what I had and throw together some berry muffins or something. So I went into the kitchen and Mum announces that she has brang home some overipe bananas and wanted me to do something with them. (Mum's sister and brother in law own an asian grocery in Marrickville and Mum makes Vietnamese sweets and stuff for my aunty to sell - Mum also tends to bring home alot of fruit and veg that they havn't been able to sell. The perks of having family who own a grocery store). So I decided that the all time classic banana bread would be one item, I thought I would also try and do a steamed banana cake again -  I made both of these last time Mum came home with overipe bananas. After a phone conversation with Ryan chocolate banana souffles were also on the menu. Boy was I going to be busy in the kitchen. P.S Yes I know the bananas look hideous but they are perfectly fine on the inside. Think of all that Vitamin B!!

        Last time I made banana bread the recipe I used wasn't too great, I found that the banana bread was more of a cake, but a dry cake at that. The fact that the doubled recipe was cooked in a slice tray probably didn't help either. This time I had a loaf pan ready to make any kind of "bread" and I also had a bigger network of food resources. I tried to google for a "moist banana bread" recipe at first but couldn't see anything I liked. Then I remembered some food blog's I've seen banana bread on so went in search of them for a recipe I liked. I came across a recipe for "...Mmm, luscious moist delicious banana bread…" from Belle @ Ooh-Look. What attracted me to this recipe was the title and the fact that melted butter is used! It's getting too cool to get room temperature butter without heaps of pre-planning involved so it was perfect for me.

        As I had small sugar bananas I used 2 bananas for every 1 that the recipe required, adding an extra banana or two just to make it extra bananary.

        I decided to use my hands to mash the banana, it felt awesome! =D I find that the sugar bananas are also not quite as mushy as your regular bananas.

        I actually made 1 and a half of a batch, adding in extra walnuts and extra cinnamon mmmm (what's the point of leaving 40grams behind just because the packet is more than the recipe). I also realised I forgot the salt but found that it didn't really matter for me.

        When I mixed the wet and dry ingredients together I was worried I had made too much... but it ended up being perfect for the size of my loaf pan.

        So while waiting for the banana bread to bake I proceed to make my asian steamed banana cake. I tried to see if I could find some other recipes to try but didn't like any of them so went back to the Taste website and found this recipe which I had tried previously and liked. It produces a very similar cake to what Mum used to make and I'm not a fan of the other versions. (I have also previously tried asking Mum for the recipe but she doesn't really have a recipe only kind of throwing it all together as she goes along, it's also been a while since she's made it so she couldn't quite remember all the proportions). We found this recipe to be quite sweet so I only used about 3/4 cup of sugar instead of the 1 and 1/2. It probably could have done without the dessicated coconut too, but being an avid coconut fan I left it in.

        Last time I made this Mum suggested that I layer sliced banana throughout the cake (it's something that she does with her cakes). It makes the cake look pretty once it's cooked.

        So the cake goes into a steamer, mine was steamed for abour 2 hours, once the bananas turn a deep pink colour it's usually the sign that it's cooked. This is Mum's mini steamer, she's got a huge maxi sized one that takes up pretty much the whole stove. It's for all the cakes and sweets she makes for my aunty's grocery shop.

        My gorgeous banana bread, I was so proud to pull this out of the oven.

        Cutting into the loaf eager to see the result. It was soft, moist, full of banana and walnuts and cinnamon. I love freshly baked goodies, cripyness on the outside, soft fluffiness on the inside. Got approval from Mum too - she said that the sweetness in this was just right, not too sweet like the first one I made.

        The steamed cake is finally ready. I just love the colour of this banana cake, I love how the sugar bananas turn a deep pink after you steam them. Mum suggested that I let it cool and leave it overnight to "set".

        Having made souffles twice before I was confident enough to make them again but still always quite weary as to wether the final result will be good or not. (Just like profiteroles really - anything can go wrong). I was thinking of Gordon Ramsay's Passionfruit Banana souffle but didn't want to go out and buy them so Ryan suggested I make chocolate banana souffles. I tried searching for chocolate banana souffle recipes but couldn't find any recipes that used both ingredients. After skimming a few recipes I gathered a few facts about making souffles. You needed a custard base and the stiff beaten egg whites are what makes them rise. So running with Gordon's Passionfruit and Banana Souffle recipe I made the creme patissiere (custard) base as is from this recipe.

        I decided that we would be a little indulgent and used my jar of Lindt Bittersweet couverture chocolate (58% cocoa). Little buttons of rich and silky smoothness.

        I melted 80 grams of the chocolate and then added two of the sugar bananas and mashed it all up. This will be mixed into the custard later on.

        Ryan finally arrived and I asked him if he wanted the task of buttering and sugaring the moulds or beating the egg whites. He chose the moulds so I got the task of beating the egg whites. The recipe states 2 egg whites but as I already had 3 (3 egg yolks in the custard) I just whipped them all up gradually adding in 40 grams of sugar (recipe said 50 grams).

        We didn't melt the butter to grease the moulds but relied on the softened butter to be enough to cover the moulds making sure to brush in an up and down motion only, apparantly the strokes of butter going up help to push the souffle up out of the mould.

        Ryan in action folding the egg whites into the chocolate banana mixture.

        Have I told you how much I love watching him at work in the kitchen? ;)

        I am sure there were absolutely no air bubbles left after Ryan finished tapping these on the bench.

        It's so exciting to watch the oven!

        Half a dozen chocolate banana souffles!

        Perfect? ;) I used these cute little mini moulds that I bought so the serving size was just right.

        Playing with composition, Ryan was getting a little agitated by now I think... It's meant to be eaten straight out of the oven, the longer you let it sit it will start to sink.

        Once I dug in I completely forgot about taking a shot of the inside, here it is. Ryan said that it was quite rich from the chocolate. Being a chocolaholic I loved every bit of it. I like how there's a crisp skin on top before you dig your spoon into the oozing insides. It was so light and fluffy and the balance of chocolate and banana was also perfect. It was almost like eating a mousse really. Maybe some banana ice cream to eat with next time.

        We had some batter to fill these 3 even more miniature sized moulds and Ryan wanted to see how far he could push the souffles. He said we were probably just a coupld of minutes too early the first time but this time it was more of a play. You can see it's almost doubled in size here. After we finished watching Iron Chef I couldn't help but eat some more souffle. I had one and a half of the larger ones and one of the smaller ones all to myself. I would have happily had this for dinner.

        So Sunday morning I wake up and one of the things I do is to make the coconut cream dipping sauce for the banana cake. I used a can of coconut cream, poured it into a saucepan and simmered it adding about 3/4 tablespoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to season it. (Sugar and salt is a very common combination when it comes to asian/Vietnamese sweets). Mum okayed it but after a second tasting said it could have done with a bit more sugar/salt. I'm always so weary about making things too sweet for her.

        So I slice up the cake into little portions and divide it up for family with the coconut sauce. I just love the colours here. Mum complained the cake was a little too "hard". I did listen to her and left it overnight (and put it in the fridge). You can just warm it up a little before serving to soften it up a little.

        Perfect served with the coconut sauce and a generous sprinkling of crushed roasted peanuts and roasted sesame seeds. I love this flavour combination. The peanuts and sesame also add a bit of texture to the dish. This was my lunch =D. And to think after all that there's still bananas left over!


Amy @ cookbookmaniac said...

Aww Angie! Your Chocolate Banana Souffle is drool worthy. You got a great rise out of them.

Fantastic use of a million bananas!

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

Hi Amy: Thanks =) Still can't believe after all that I was still left with a hand of bananas =D

mike@scallopsandpancetta said...

All sounds pretty good! I've got a nice Chocolate Banana Bread recipe that I used to serve with a really rich thick chocolate sauce... I'll make post it up one day soon, if I get some overripe bananas!

chocolatesuze said...

dude your souffles look awesome! oh man i need to get me some bananas!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Hehe I've always wanted my parents to own a grocery store! All that food! Great use of bananas too from elegant to easy!

Fig and Cherry said...

Great height on the bread! Mine always turn out quite dense and flat (but taste great!) I'll have to try out your recipe.

OohLookBel said...

I'm so glad the banana bread turned out well (I hate waiting for butter to soften, too). I'll definitely have to return the favour and make those banana souffles - they have a lovely 'rise', yum!

Phuoc'n Delicious said...

Wow! Those souffles look awesome! Good work. And I love the flavour combo!

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

Hi Mike: Thanks! Oh yes please you have to show and tell chocolate banana bread! =)

Hi Suze: Thanks, hehe bananas, chocolate, anything goes!

Hi Lorraine: Thanks, I really could have tried to be a bit more creative but sometimes good old classics are awesome =)

Hi Fig and Cherry: Thanks, I was suprised it came out so high! Yes, have a go and let us know how your's turns out =)

Hi Belle: Yeah, thanks for trying to recipe first! ;) I shall be looking forward to your souffles then =)

Hi Phuoc: Thanks! The flavour combo was all thanks to Ryan =)

cyberiagirl said...

Wow, steamed banana cake and banana choc souffles, two foods I need to try!

Was really nice to meet you tonight at the Quorn thing. :)

~Rachel from Here Comes The Aeroplane

Jen said...

Love the steamed banana cake! But I really don't understand how anyone could like the banana and chocolate combo! LOL :-P

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

Hi Rachael: I would volunteer to make a choc banana souffle for you... I'd love to read how you would describe it ;)

Hi Jen: Thanks. Haha yeah, never really had a big thing for choc banana but these souffles were friggin awesome! =D