Nobu Soy Caramel Banana Dessert

Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –

* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/kikunois-komochi-ayusabasawara-with-sweetened-walnuts/
* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/a-quick-note-on-hazelnuts/

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

some brown sugar to be caramelized

I wanted about a cup (~7 1/2 oz)

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

got a fresh lemon to hand squeeze

some of the lemon juice which I only needed 1 T and the rest I put into a lemon water spritzer to drink!

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,

So in went the lemon juice and the sugar into a pot to heat

 

So I portioned out the sake for caramel. Note – as it would turn out, one had to be really careful adding this to the hot caramel later

 

constantly cooking it like a risotto or Chef Ramsay’s scrambled eggs

about 10 minutes.

After about 10 minutes

 

Portioning out the soy sauce

I carefully added sake and then the soy sauce.

After adding the sake and 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

After cooking it for 30 minutes to a hot sticky chocolate caramel

sizzle and spatter back at the cook.

The completed soy caramel

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:

[ http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/463308/13954987/1314907040987/nobu6.jpg ]

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:

[ http://www.malagaweb.com/blog/recipes/malaga-ice-cream/ ]

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.

going bananas which were halved, quartered to be sauteed in a non-stick pan with grapeseed oil

In make the dessert, I took three bananas – a generous banana and a half along with  4 tablespoons of toasted pecans per portion.

4 tablespoons of pecans per serving to serve as a bed for the glazed bananas

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.

glazing one portion of bananas with 1 tablespoon of the soy caramel

Once the bananas were cooked and glaze, I slid the whole thing out atop the pecans.

Plating the glazed bananas atop the pecans with the pan ‘sauce’

Now it was just a matter of garnishing the dessert with a generous scoop of rum raisin ice cream.

Finished with a 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

sauteed in a little grapeseed oil, 2 minutes each side, then with 6 tablespoons of soy caramel added

those bananas into the pan with the thin syrup soy caramel (6 tablespoons).  I let the pan contents cook on medium heat until the

glazing almost done…

bananas were reasonably well glazed.   I then got the bananas onto plates that had the toasted pecans and then carefully spooned the

dessert is served!

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!

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