Prior to Christmas, one of my Twitter buddies mentioned that she had eaten an amazing dessert in a restaurant; a dulce de leche creme brulee with banana ice-cream. She challenged me to recreate it but probably thinks I have long since forgotten. But I am never one to dodge a challenge. Oh no, not I. So @NatanyaAbrahams, this post is for you!
In a twist on the typical creme brulee, I decided to experiment with a crunchy topping of hazelnut and coffee praline instead of the normal caramelised sugar. I am secretly rather pleased with the effect. The roasted hazelnuts and hint of coffee really complement the flavours of the banana and dulce de leche whilst still providing the all-important ‘crunch’ that a good creme brulee should have.
Taking inspiration from Felicity Cloake’s perfect creme brulee, the custard uses less egg yolks than many recipes which means the resulting dessert is just set and unctuously creamy. Don’t be tempted to skip refrigerating the brulees overnight otherwise you could end up with a runny mess.
For the ice-cream, I caramelised the bananas in butter and sugar à la David Lebovitz in The Perfect Scoop which really enhances the natural sweetness of the fruit. Caramelise some extra bananas to serve alongside if you wish.
Praline topped dulce de leche creme brulee with banana ice-cream
For the praline:
- 50g hazelnuts
- 6 roasted coffee beans
- 50g caster sugar
1. Place the hazelnuts in a small frying pan and toast over a medium heat until golden brown and aromatic. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2. Crush the coffee beans in a mortar and pestle. Crush them finely but not so much that they form a powder. You want flecks of crunchy bean in your praline.
3. Pour the caster sugar into the frying pan and heat over a medium-high heat until liquid and a deep reddish-amber colour. Remove from the heat and quickly stir through the hazelnuts and crushed coffee beans. Pour on to a silicon mat and leave to cool.
4. Once cool, whizz in a food processor to form crunchy praline crumbs.
For the brulee:
- 400ml double cream
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 4 tbsp dulche de leche
- 5 egg yolks
- 20g caster sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 140C/120C fan and place 4 ramekins in a deep sided baking tin.
2. Pour the cream, vanilla and dulce de leche into a small pan and bring just to the boil, stirring to ensure the dulce de leche is dissolved. Pour through a sieve into a jug.
3. Mix the egg yolks and caster sugar together with an electric whisk then slowly pour on the hot cream mixture, whisking all the time. Pour the custard back into the jug then divide between the ramekins.
4. Fill the baking tin with cold water until it comes 2/3 of the way up the sides of the ramekins and bake for between 45 minutes and an hour until the custard is set with just a faint wobble in the centre. Cool in the tin and then cover and refrigerate overnight. Scatter with praline crumbs just before serving otherwise the praline will turn soggy.
For the ice-cream:
- 3 ripe bananas, peeled and cut into chunks
- 75g demerara sugar
- 25g butter
- juice of ½ lemon
- pinch of salt
- 6 egg yolks
- 75g caster sugar
- 300ml whipping cream
- 250ml full fat milk
1. Mix the banana, demerara sugar, butter, lemon juice and salt together in a baking dish and roast for 30 minutes at 200C/180C. Set aside.
2. Whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar in a large bowl until thick and creamy. Bring the cream and milk to the boil and pour over the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour back into the saucepan and whisk over a low heat until the custard has thickened.
3. Whizz the custard and caramelised bananas in a food processor until smooth then refrigerate.
4. Churn the ice-cream in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve alongside the creme brulee.