I’m quite experienced when it comes to working with similar ingredients in different countries. Even standard ingredients like flour, sugar, butter and milk can vary in quality, taste and many other properties from one place to another. So you always have to adapt to what you have available.
During Christmas this year, I made my favorite walnut cake for dinner and since it calls for dulce de leche in the filling, I just bought any brand I saw at the supermarket when going from groceries then.
I was expecting it to be quite firm, but yet soft enough for me to spread on the cake layers. When I opened the can to assemble the cake, it was exactly what I found. So I just assumed that all dulce de leche brands here in Canada would be the same.
Terrible, terrible mistake.
Fast forward a month in time. This week I had the idea for a Banoffee Pie that would involve caramelized bananas and chocolate crust, keeping everything else pretty much the same. I got quite excited with it, so I went for it.
Then, I made my way to the supermarket to buy what I didn’t have at home and would need for this recipe. This involved buying one can of dulce de leche for the filling. I didn’t want to have the trouble of cooking a can of condensed milk so I convinced myself I could go for the “ready” version instead of making my own (fyi, dulce de leche is basically cooked sweetened condensed milk, getting darkened and thickened at the process).
Terrible, terrible mistake (2).
They didn’t have the brand I used previously, so I bought one from the same brand of sweetened condensed milk I often buy. I came home, did all preparations and when it was the time to assemble these tarts, I opened the can. OMG! This one was not even a tiny bit close to what I was expecting.
I honestly don’t know why they call this dulce de leche. I imagine it’s just sweetened condensed milk that to which they add flavor and food coloring; it’s not cooked, so it’s very fluid. It has a delicious toffee taste but it is exactly like caramel sauce.
I panicked for a few moments and then after cracking my head to think what I could possibly do with that, I decided to make a dulce de leche mousse to fill the banoffee pies.
To be honest, the result was just like — WOW! I was almost thanking them for selling this awkward dulce de leche instead of the real deal because the banoffee pie with this mousse was SO MUCH BETTER.
Between you and me, I’d recommend you to add a bit of gelatin to the mousse because even though it sets well without it, when you place the bananas on top, it can get very runny since the bananas are slighly moist.
And talking about bananas, this was also a kinda detour from the original plan but it also ended up being just fine. I wanted to have the bananas completely coated with caramel but they release too much moisture when dipped in hot caramel (i.e., they cook), so the caramel doesn’t stick to it completely.
Even still, they taste deliciously amazing without the hard caramel shell around it.
All in all, this is not a hard recipe to make. In fact, it is living proof that even when things go different than your original plan, they can still end up being amazing and no one will tell you needed to take a detour
- 100 g flour
- 60 g butter, cold
- 15 g ground almonds
- 35 g icing sugar
- pinch of salt
- pinch of vanilla powder
- 20 g egg
- 150 g couverture dark chocolate
- 1 gelatin leaf
- 2 tablespoons of soft dulce de leche
- 150 g whipping cream, cold
- 2 medium bananas, sliced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 150 g whipping cream, cold
- 30 g icing sugar
- ground pecans
- caramel sauce
- Prepare a cooking sheet with parchment paper. Grease five 8 cm tartelette rings with butter. Leave aside.
- In a bowl, mix butter, almond powder, flour, sugar, salt and vanilla with your hands (or better, with the help of a pastry scraper) until it comes to a fine crumble texture.
- Add the egg, mix it slighly with your hands and put all this mixture on top of a clean surface (like your kitchen counter).
- Smear the dough against the surface, making sure the egg, butter and dry ingredients are being incorporated. Do it about 2-3 times with the whole mixture -- you will see a dough forming. Make sure not to overwork it.
- Alternatively, you can put all these ingredients in a food processor and pulse it a few times until a dough forms.
- Let the dough chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
- Open it with about 0,5 cm thickness between two sheets of parchment paper. Cut five 12 cm rounds with the help of a cookie cutter.
- Place each round on the top of each ring, making sure the bottom and sides of the ring are properly covered with dough (just like you would with a regular pie pan).
- Remove excess dough with a rolling pin and pinch the sides of the ring with your hands to ensure even thickness.
- Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork and bake it at 160°C/340°F for about 15 minutes or until golden on the bottom and sides.
- Once the tarts are cooled, melt the chocolate (don't need to temper it). Cover the interior of each tart shell with chocolate, making sure it is completely covered. Do not make a thick layer of chocolate, otherwise there will not be space for the filling. Let the shells set in the fridge while you prepare the rest.
- In a skillet or frying pan, melt the butter with sugar and cook until sugar has dissolved, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the bananas, making sure they are well coated with the butter-sugar mixture. Let them cook until golden but still firm, about 3-4 minutes.
- Remove them from the pan and let cool before proceeding.
- Soak the gelatin in cold water. Once soft, remove excess water and set aside.
- Whip the whipping cream to soft peaks.
- Microwave the gelatin to about 5-10 seconds or until just melted (you can also use a bain marie for that). To the melted gelatin, add the dulce de leche and mix.
- Add ⅓ of the cream to the dulce de leche mixture and mix it well. Fold the remaining cream with the help of a spatula.
- Remove the tart shells from the fridge and cover each of them with the mousse.
- Top the mousse with 5-6 caramelized banana slices.
- For the topping, whip the cream with sugar to hard peaks. Pipe the whipped cream with the help of a star pastry tip (I used french tip PF16, but Wilton's 1M work just as fine) and finalize with ground pecans, caramel sauce and remaining banana slices if you still have them.