French Laundry: “Banana Split” – Poached Banana Ice Cream, White Chocolate-Banana Crepes and Chocolate Sauce

A classic flavor presented in a very untraditional and delicious way, classic Thomas Keller. Here we have sweet crepes, filled with a mixture of white chocolate and poached pureed bananas. I poached the bananas in a mixture of cream and milk until soft. The poaching liquid is then used to make a custard base for a vanilla bean ice cream that has a good banana flavor.

For the crepes, I filled them and formed them into cylinders with plastic wrap and then froze them till service time. They are then sliced and allowed to warm up a bit. I could be wrong but the goal here is to get a texture not unlike that of a ripe banana. By mixing the melted white chocolate with the banana puree and allow it to freeze and thaw, we get exactly that. A texture and taste that is familiar but at the same time not quiet so.

Garnishes, again, are very traditional. We have -or supposed to have- Maraschino cherries, sweetened whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Real Maraschino cherries are very different than that bright red crappy things you get in your frozen daiquiri. They are cherries soaked/candied in a Maraschino liquor such as the fantastic Luxardo. If we are going to be real traditional, the cherries are also supposed to be Marasca cherries. You can buy these delicious Maraschino cherries in gourmet shops or online, but they are not easy to find in your typical grocery store. Bottom line is: I had none, had no time to shop for them, so I made something to sub for them. What I did is bring sugar, brandy and port to a boil and turned off the heat. Then used that mixture to plump-up a bunch of dried Bing cherries. The result is not the same as the real deal, but still delicious and 100 times better than the fake orbs that garnish Shirley Temples everywhere.

VDP: Egg Ribbons

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Eggs. Is there anything they cannot do? From savory to sweet, the egg is the undisputed queen of the kitchen. Without it we have no custard, no quiche or crème caramel, no egg-pasta and no omelets. Without the whites of the egg we have no fluffy meringue preparations, no macarons and no tender cakes (or crispy Dacquoise for that matter). The egg is good fried, poached, boiled, baked or cooked up very thin and made into ribbons. What? You never heard of that last one or maybe you have but never tried it?

It is much easier than it looks and it is guaranteed to impress your guests whether you use it in a salad like I do here or sauce it with some butter and cheese and serve it like pasta as a first course. The recipe here is from Jamie Oliver’s latest book “Jamie at Home“. He serves his egg ribbons with Bresaola and Arugula. I served them on top of a mixed spring green salad with almonds, Parm cheese and a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.

Making the ribbons could not be easier. Mix a couple of eggs really well with a tablespoon or two of water, some salt and pepper. Using a non-stick pan wiped with olive oil make thin crepes of the egg mixture. These cook fast, so keep the heat medium and watch it constantly. Each will take about 30 seconds to a minute to cook and you only have to cook on one side. Layer the cooked crepes, roll them up and cut as you would Pappardelle.