CARAMELISED BANANA BRÛLÉE INSPIRED BY ANNABEL KARMEL

 

I think some people are intimidated by puddings. Not by the eating of them, although I’m sure some people do fall into that camp, but more by the making of them. There is an assumption that puddings must by their nature be very complicated. And since everyone is always going on and on about the science of baking and how you must be very precise I think puddings are thought to be a bit of a faff. 

There are of course very complicated puddings out there where you must get out your scales, your measuring cups , your teaspoons, tablespoons and dessert spoons. You must preheat the oven and prepare a bain marie, set the timer and for God’s sake don’t forget to boil the kettle. The other side of that coin is the store bought pudding, of which I am also completely in favour of. Time is of the essence and if making a pudding is going to stress you out, then it is perfectly acceptable to buy one. 

In between these two are some of my favourite kinds of pudding – the kinds that are utterly delicious but require just a handful of ingredients and minimal fuss. Maximum output for minimum input and what could be more delicious than that.

Annabel talked of a pudding her mother makes that falls into this category and it reminded me of my caramelised banana brûlée recipe that I couldn't wait to tell you about. Annabel's recipe consisted only of Greek Yoghurt or perhaps creme fraiche, so you can play around with them but I've added double cream because, well double cream makes everything better. 

I’m also mildly obsessed with the kind of recipe where you already have most of the ingredients in your store cupboard or fridge. There might be one or two items you can pick up from the shops to complete the dish but this is much my most beloved way of cooking. I always have bananas in the fruit bowl, and Greek yoghurt is always in my fridge. I would feel unsafe if I didn’t have both soft brown sugar and caster sugar in my larder. Okay unsafe is a gross exaggeration but as I don’t actually use a huge amount of sugar, which could come as a shock to some, I know I always have some nearly full packets on standby. So really you can pull this lovely little pudding together by just buying some double cream. What could be easier or more satisfying?

Although it isn’t very complicated to make a custard for a real crème brulee and I urge you to give it a go one time, this is even simpler. You simply whisk up some double cream until thick and luxurious and then stir in some greek yoghurt. Such a sumptuous thing and so versatile. Here I’ve spooned it on top of bananas I fried in a little butter and brown sugar, but fresh berries, berry compote or stewed gooseberries work beautifully too. 

You leave to chill in the fridge for an hour or two for the cream to set and then sprinkle the tops with caster sugar. Dust off your blow torch from the back of a cupboard, search for the lighter fluid and then simply brûleé the tops until golden.

You can do a big one for everyone to share or individual pots if you prefer. Serve as they are or pop them in the fridge until you are ready to eat them. 

I am the sort of slovenly cook who will get out my electric beaters are the mere mention of double cream, but even I can manage a hand whisk for this amount of cream. I was always taught to use a big bowl but I have found, and I think it a matter of good science, that the smaller the bowl, the easier it is to whip. Your bingo wings may not thank me, I know mine certainly haven’t.

caramelised banana brûlée
caramelised banana brûlée

Serves 4

For the caramelised bananas:

6 large bananas, sliced

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp soft brown sugar

For the brûlées:

300ml double cream

300ml Greek Yoghurt

4 tsp caster sugar

Method

Melt the butter in a frying pan and gently fry the bananas. Once they begin to colour add the soft brown sugar and coat the bananas in the buttery syrup.  You want the bananas soft but not mushy.

Spoon the bananas into your chosen dish or dishes and they can cool whilst you prepare the topping.

Whip the cream. As there isnt much, you should be able to do it by hand but feel free to use an electric whisk, there is no judgement here.

Once the cream is looking thickened and luxurious but not stiff, stir in the Greek Yoghurt

Spoon onto the cooled bananas and leave to set in the fridge for 1 -2 hours.

Sprinkle the tops with sugar and use a blow torch to melt the sugar. Let it harden for a minute or so and then either serve straight away or leave chilling in the fridge until you want them.

With the banana version I recommend eating sooner rather than later, whereas the berries can easily be prepared a day ahead.

caramelised banana brûlée