Banana Malt Brûlée Spoonfuls
Tiny single mouthful desserts with which to finish off the meal with just a single moment of bliss, is what these are. Vanilla malt cream, adapted from a recipe in Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern. A single spoon filled with cream and topped with a slice of banana and burnt sugar, concept courtesy of Gale Gand’s Just a Bite. Together, I look forward to ending my next dinner by serving each guest one of these along with their coffee.
Fun cookbook purchasing story: I have been wanting a copy of the Claudia Fleming book for ages. It seems like everyone has it, and is always making these gorgeous composed desserts from her recipes. But I spend way too much on books, and on cookbooks in particular, and my to-read pile is a nightmare of monstrous proportions. This doesn’t stop me from wanting more books, of course. But it does stop me from buying more books at full price or anything even close to it.
I was walking down the street in my neighborhood the other day, when I came across a stoop sale. There are many stoop sales in my neighborhood, and I always pause to look at the books, dishes, and silverware. I was going over the books, when I noticed that another potential customer had just found and picked up a copy of the Claudia Fleming book.
I told him how badly I wanted it, and asked him to please relinquish his claim and give it to me. He laughed, and immediately handed it over. The seller told me it was $2. I thanked him as I was reaching into my wallet, telling him that this find had utterly made my day, because I had been craving this book in particular. He grinned at that, and told me that for me, it was only $1.
Who says New Yorkers aren’t nice?
Banana Malt Brulee Spoonfuls
For the vanilla malt cream
1 C heavy cream
1/4 C barley malt syrup
2 tbsp sugar
2 vanilla beans
3 large egg yolks
1 pinch salt
For the finish
Put the heavy cream and malt syrup into a thick-bottomed pot. Scrape the pulp from the vanilla beans into the pot, then throw the pods in, too. Bring to a boil, whisking, then remove from heat and let steep, covered, while you do the next step.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and creamy. Remove the vanilla beans from the pot, and pour the cream into the yolks – a little at firm, just to warm them up, then the rest, slowly, whisking all the while.
(Remember: you can make further use of the scraped-out vanilla beans by rinsing them, drying them, then putting them in a sealed container of sugar to create vanilla sugar.)
Preheat your oven to 325°.
Strain the final product into three 4 oz. ramekins. Place a kitchen towel into the bottom of a roasting pan, and set the ramekins on top of the towel. Fill the roasting pan with enough boiling water to come up about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. The water should cover the towel completely. Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil
Bake for 30 minutes, then lift up a corner of the foil to see how they are doing and to let the steam out. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. They will still be slightly jiggly in the center when done.
Remove the ramekins from water and place on a wire rack to cool. Once they reach room temperature, cover them with plastic wrap and let them set in the fridge for at least a few hours.
Pipe a small mound of cream onto each spoon. Place a slice of banana atop each spoonfull of cream, then sprinkle with sugar and melt the sugar with your kitchen torch.