I have not fallen from the face of the Earth. I’ve had what you might refer to as an exceedingly busy week. Homeschooling the boys, running them to various and sundry activities, major home construction projects (…aaaand what’s new there? Not much…), cooking three meals a day for the whole family, testing recipes, etc…
That’s no big change from what usually goes on here, but when you throw in the door-to-door salesman from H-E-Doublehockeysticks (he was in my home for three hours), making both a fabulous IPA and an Irish Stout, the washing machine breaking down (just try handwashing underwear for a family of seven, I tell you), the brakes failing on the van (the fourth catastrophic failure of vehicular nature in as many months. Le sigh. And now you see why I’m handwashing undies instead of going to the laundromat. I am NOT walking our laundry the 3 miles it would take to get into the teensy little village that unaccountably has a laundromat.), teaching a cooking class to a group of nine to eleven year old children, spending all day on the phone ironing out a banking issue (NOT, I repeat, not, our fault. Thank goodness.), a puddle of IPA on the floor from an over-zealously fermenting yeast, a child with two really skinned knees, another child with another *shudder* loose tooth, and a baby with a fat lip who slid -face first- down a very steep dirt and root covered hill, you get not only the world’s most complex run-on sentence, you also get a picture of why I haven’t posted in a week or so. My bad.
I’m here to make it up to you, though, with a dessert recipe so deadly simple (and maybe even a little deadly, too, since it employs a torch. Oh be careful, people…), and so divinely delicious that you just may want to offer to come help me with my animorphic pile of dirty laundry, my war-wounded sons, my banking issues and my grammar and composition. Or, you just may be quietly appreciative. Your call. Bananas Brûlée ! It’s as easy as one, two, TORCH, er, three. (I do enjoy foods that you set on fire on purpose. It is so much more empowering than setting them on fire accidentally.)
Yes. This recipe employs a torch. But before you go out and purchase a fancy-schmancy, bonnie wee torch from a cooking store whose name rhymes with Filliams-Schmonowah, I feel compelled to tell you I used my husband’s $15 camping torch rig. And it worked perfectly. My point is this. Unless you really want that bonnie wee torch cluttering up your gadget drawer (’cause you DO have a gadget drawer, right?) at least consider raiding the tool chest or busting out the not-so-big bucks at the local hardware store or department. Multi-tasking makes me happy!
I made Bananas Brûlée in the aforementioned cooking class today, and before you gasp audibly, I assure you that I did NOT allow the children in this cooking class to wield the torch. This time. (There were other moms present. Gotta at least look safe, right?) But the kids were very into the whole thing and there was no banana left behind when the class exited the room. In fact, there were several children licking the plates. And I have it on good authority that they weren’t licking plates out of starvation. I know their mothers feed them at home.
Bananas Brûlée are like crème brûlée without the hassle. Bananas alone have a custardy texture. But pair the banana with the crispy sugar crust of a gorgeous crème brûlée and you have a treat that is done in one tenth of the time and is *dare I say?* healthier for you. Oh people. I know. We don’t think about health when we eat crème brûlée. But isn’t it nice to have something semi-decadent on the nights when we don’t or can’t have crème brûlée but still crave it? And gilding the lily is the fact that this entire dessert is done in less than five minutes from peeling the banana to plating. Lest I forget, it is incredibly inexpensive to make. You’re out the cost of a couple ripe bananas, a little bit of sugar and whatever propane you use to torch those little beauties. In short, you get show-stopper dessert for between four and six people in less than five minutes for about $1.50. Beat that!
I like these with just a little drizzle of chocolate syrup on the plate, but The Evil Genius liked his with chocolate syrup AND dulce de leche and three out of five honyaks preferred theirs with vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche and chocolate syrup. I promise they don’t eat like this every day.
On to the food…
For a printer-friendly, photo-free version of the recipe, click here!
4 ripe bananas
up to 1/4 cup sugar (You probably will not need all this, but better safe than sorry!)
optional: chocolate syrup, dulce de leche, and/or vanilla ice cream for serving
Peel bananas and slice them in half lengthwise.
Lay them, cut sides up, on a cooling rack set on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Set baking sheet on cook-top or other heat-proof surface. Generously sprinkle cut surfaces with sugar so that they are covered.
Fire up a torch *** (it’s so fun to say that!).
Sweep the torch back and forth over the banana about four inches from the sugar. (The distance you hold the torch from the sugar is dependent on how powerful your torch is. You may find you need to hold it closer or further away. You are looking for bubbling -not scorching- the sugar.) When the sugar has all bubbled up and lightly browned, move on to the next banana half. Repeat until the sugar on all the banana halves has been melted.
Serve while still warm on a plate drizzled with chocolate syrup or with any other goodies you prefer. Didn’t I tell you this was easy?
***No torch? No problem! You can slide the pan under a hot broiler. Just be sure to stay right nearby and check on it every couple seconds. Things that are neglected in the broiler go from raw to charcoal in no time at all!