Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
So I wanted to do something for dessert this past weekend and my wife brought up the concept of bananas foster. That got me thinking about requests on the web for Nobu’s Soy Caramel Bananas. I found the online recipe at: https://www.marthastewart.com/316455/chestnuts-in-soy-caramel which specified:
- 4 cups tightly packed dark-brown sugar
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 cups cooking sake
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 20 chestnuts
- Pinch of Maldon sea salt
The microbatch version of the caramel would be:
- 1 c packed dark brown sugar
- 1 T lemon juice
- 3/4 c sake
- 1/4 c + 1 1/2 t soy sauce
I placed the portioned brown sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook, swirling occasionally, until darkened in color,
about 10 minutes.
I carefully added sake and then the soy sauce.
When I added the sake, I had to stand back since the caramel was so hot, adding the room temperature sake and soy sauce caused to
sizzle and spatter back at the cook.
As directed I reduced the mix thickened and syrupy, about 30 minutes. As it would turn out, I discovered the time mentioned in the recipe in the program was very wrong (more on that later). I suspicions after the fact was that the time should have been about 15 minutes.
Because Chef Matt Hoyle of Nobu 57 did the presentation of the soy caramel on the Martha Stewart program, I was curious to see what the dessert was supposed to look like at Nobu 57, and after looking about the web, I wasn’t disappointed:
The Nobu dessert appeared to be a glazing of the bananas and the roasted (candied) pecans with malaga ice cream (malaga sweet wine and raisins). But what was this ‘malaga ice cream’? After doing more web reading, I came across this:
So basically, the ice cream was sort of a rum/raisin flavored concoction. Since I wasn’t in a position to make ice cream at the moment, I decided to just substitute a commercial rum/raisin ice cream as the garnish to the dessert.
In make the dessert, I took three bananas – a generous banana and a half along with 4 tablespoons of toasted pecans per portion.
For each portion, I cooked the bananas (flat) cut side down in a non-stick pan with a little grapeseed oil on medium heat for about two minutes The bananas were then flipped and cooked for another minute and then I added a generous tablespoon of soy caramel to glaze the fruit.
Once the bananas were cooked and glaze, I slid the whole thing out atop the pecans.
Now it was just a matter of garnishing the dessert with a generous scoop of rum raisin ice cream.
Upon tasting the dessert, we got the initial hit of caramel with the bananas, ice cream and nuts. Unfortunately, the caramel reduction also delivered a very SALTY hit. I immediately suspected the reduction and the cooking time (had to be a mistake – in fact, the video at https://www.marthastewart.com/246893/chesnuts-caramel showed the caramel ‘syrup’ as very loose) There was still about 1/3 cup of the tight caramel in the container to which I added an equal amount of hot water to loosen it into a thin syrup that would still nappe a spoon. A quick taste test of the ‘repaired’ soy caramel indicated that nice sweetness and not quite so much of that salty hit.
I remade this dessert with the ‘repaired’ soy caramel for Mother’s Day weekend. I toasted more pecans, quartered 2 bananas and got
those bananas into the pan with the thin syrup soy caramel (6 tablespoons). I let the pan contents cook on medium heat until the
bananas were reasonably well glazed. I then got the bananas onto plates that had the toasted pecans and then carefully spooned the
soy caramel atop the plate contents before adding the rum raisin ice cream. On tasting the ‘repaired’ dessert, my wife nodded that the flavors were wonderful and indicated that she thought both our mothers would love to finish dinner with this dessert. Thank you Chef Hoyle and Matsuhisa-sama for this offering!