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Banana Meringue Dessert

In Rio we call this Banana Pie but pies usually take some kind of flour, so let's say this is a Banana dessert. This dish is a 3 teared dessert: a bottom layer of caramelised banana, a layer of custard and a topping meringue. Of all the desserts Célia, my mom's cook, makes this is by far my favourite. Unfortunately it has a bujillion calories and I just can't seem to have only one slice of it. So, even though Célia likes to please me by making it, I beg her not to do it more than once a month.

Doing this recipe in Brazil has one advantage. There are so many types of Banana here! Prata, Ouro, D'água, Nanica, etc. For this recipe Célia used Banana D'água, which is big and firm but also soft and really sweet and tasty.

This time I decided that maybe a good way of allaying the anxiety of not being able to have this again for years would be to film it for the site. This way I could record not only the ingredients but the tiny little nuances of cooked the bananas have to be or how stiff the custard or meringue should get.

I'm also testing out my new Canon 550D video enabled DSLR camera and trying out different lens on it. If you're into this kind of thing there's a full tech blurb below.

So with no further ado. Here's Célia's Brazilian Banana Dessert Recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE BANANA LAYER

  • 2.5 cups of caster sugar (for the syrup)
  • 6 medium ripe bananas
  • half a cup of water
  • extra half a cup of boiling water in case syrup is too thick

FOR THE CUSTARD LAYER

  • 1 tin of condensed milk (400ml)
  • 600ml of milk (full or semi-skimmed)
  • The yokes of 4 medium eggs
  • 2 heaped tbsp of corn flour (corn starch)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp of butter

FOR THE MERINGUE LAYER

  • The whites of 4 medium eggs
  • 8 level tbsp of caster sugar
  • The zest of half a lime

PREPARATION METHOD:

  1. Add the sugar and water to a deep frying pan or shallow pan on a medium flame. Stir the water and sugar together while avoiding letting the sugar splash on the sides of the pan.
  2. While the sugar is browning, peel and chop the bananas into large chunks (approx 1 inch).
  3. Once the sugar a deep golden colour (darker than Golden Syrup), you may wish to add another half a cup of boiling water to thin the solution a bit.
  4. Add in the bananas and turn them gently with a fork to ensure they are cooked on all sides. In a few minutes they should be cooked through and a nice dark brown colour all over. You can switch the fire off and pour them into a shallow pie dish (a glass one is ideal) and set it aside to cool.
  5. While the banana mixture is cooling it's time to prepare the custard level. Pour a tin of condensed milk into a pan (make sure to scrape the whole content of the can into the pan).
  6. Use the condensed milk tin as a measuring cup and add 1.5 tins fulls of milk.
  7. Separate the whites and yokes of 4 eggs. Sieve the 4 yokes into the custard mixture (This removes some of the membrane which form the yoke and removes the strong eggy taste yokes usually have. So don't scrape the bottom of the sieve too strongly).
  8. Add 2 heaped table spoons of corn flour to the milk, condensed milk and egg yoke mixture and whisk it in until fully dissolved.
  9. Bring the custard mixture to the stove over a high flame and stir constantly until it forms a thick custard.
  10. Remove from the heat and add a teaspoon of vanila extract and a teaspoon of butter. Stir well and gently ladle over the layer of banana on the pie dish. Try to make the layer the same thickness all around the dish. Set it aside to cool.
  11. Preheat the oven at 220 degrees C.
  12. Beat the egg whites into hard peaks and add the caster sugar and the lime zest to make a thick meringue. When adding the sugar for a meringue it's always best to sprinkle it in slowly to let it blend well with the egg whites.
  13. Spoon the meringue on top of the custard layer and spread well. Use a the spoon to make small peaks in the meringue.
  14. Place it into the hot over for 15mins to slightly brown and cook the meringue. Watch it does not overcook.
  15. Your Banana Meringue Dessert is ready. It can be eaten hot or cold. If eating it cold let it cool at room temperature before putting it in the fridge.

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