I've often read on the internet that such things like molecular gastronomy and deconstructed food items are "pretentious". I have to agree when it comes to things like nachos, spaghetti, and burgers (now that's just ridiculous). However, I feel it's definitely fun to play with your food sometimes, and thus this deconstructed banana cream pie encompassing all of the original charm and classic nostalgic flavor is born. Oh, and because I happened to have a lot of bananas ripening at alarming rates at home.
There are 2 molecular gastronomy techniques at play in this recipe, the first being powderizing fat using Tapioca Maltodextrin (also known as N-orbit Z) and "faux" cold oil spherification. I've also played around with the plating, but as you can tell, I am completely an amateur at plating :)
So let's get to it, here are the components of this recipe:
- Rum butter poached banana
- Tuille wafers
- Rum caviar
- Brown butter powder
- Banana cream
Step 1: Tuille Cookie "Wafers"
This is going to be the crust component in the final dessert.
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour (all purpose)
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1. In a bowl add the egg whites, sugar, and salt. Whisk until incorporated, 1 minute or so.
2. Add the butter, and flour a little at a time while whisking until there are no lumps.
3. Cover with cling wrap and chill for 1-2 hours
4. Spread a dollop thinly across a Silpat, thin enough so that it is slightly transparent.
5. Bake at 350 for about 2-3 minutes, watching carefully, until golden brown.
Note: the batter may start bubbling, this is normal
6. Let the tuille sheet cool, then break into smaller pieces
Step 2: Brown Butter Powder
Tapioca Maltodextrin is a substance that absorbs fat and turns it into powder. I first learned about it right here on Instructables: Powdered Nutella by TheCoffeeDude
Why do we want to do this?
The maltodextrin will absorb all of the flavors of the brown butter, but make it a dry and powdered form. This makes it easy to sprinkle and eat, as well as adding some variation of texture to the final dessert.
It doesn't matter how much fat you are using, just make sure that the maltodextrin to fat ratio is 60/40
I browned some butter over medium heat and approximated 60% of the maltodextrin. I poured the butter into the maltodextrin in a food processor, occasionally stirring with a spatula to keep the powder loose.
This powder can be stored indefinitely in a cool and dry place.
Step 3: Rum Caviar
There are 3 methods of spherification that I am familiar with and have tried; Direct spherification (sodium alginate liquid in a calcium salt bath), Reverse spherification (calcium salt liquid in a sodium alginate bath), and Cold oil "faux" spherification.
I chose to use the cold oil spherification because it is the most accessible for most people, you don't have to order sodium alginate and calcium lactate online, and agar agar (a seaweed gelatin substitute) is easily found in most Asian groceries.
Cold oil spherification involves using a flavorful liquid cooked down with agar agar dropped into a tall glass of cold oil. It needs to be a tall glass so that the caviar has time to form by the time it hits the bottom of the glass. The only thing about cold oil spherification is that the "caviar" is more like droplets of jelly than a popping sac of liquid that you get from the other 2 methods.
Note: Gelatin cannot be substituted
3/4 cup dark rum
2g agar-agar (powder or sheet form)
1/4 cup brown sugar
about 8 oz vegetable oil (or enough to fill a tall glass)
1. chill your oil in the freezer for about 1/2 an hour
2. Add your rum, agar agar, and brown sugar to a saucepan and bring to a boil
3. Remove from heat and let cool about a minute
4. Take a pipet, medicine dropper, or syringe and squeeze drops of the rum mixture into the cold oil, being careful not to make too many in one place
5. Fish out your caviar with a slotted spoon and rinse off the oil
This will keep in the fridge overnight at least, but I'm not sure how much longer than that.
Step 4: Banana Cream
This is simply banana puree folded into a stiff whipped cream. Simple but tasty.
To be honest, I eyeballed everything here so I can't give scientific measurements but I think it was something like:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup milk (but more like a splash)
1. Whip your heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks, about 7 minutes
2. in a blender or magic bullet (you can also just mash this by hand), blend 1 ripe banana with a splash of milk until it is a smooth puree
3. Fold the puree into the whipped cream a portion at a time, slowly
4. Refrigerate until needed
Step 5: Poached Banana
I decided to cut my banana into a rectangular geometric shape for plating later on, but you can just peel it if you like.
I poached 1 banana, so my recipe amounts were small
However many bananas you want to poach, peeled
Equal amounts butter and rum (I used 1/4 cup)
A pinch of cinnamon
A couple tbsp of sugar, to taste
1. Place the butter, rum, cinnamon, and sugar in a saucepan
2. Simmer for about 5 minutes
3. Slice the peeled bananas in half lengthwise and carefully place cut side down, in the poaching liquid.
4. Poach for 3-4 minutes, then remove the bananas from the pot
When poaching, usually it'll be longer than 3-4 minutes, however, I wanted to only lightly poach, to retain the texture of the banana but infuse the flavor or the liquid.
Step 6: Plating
So now you have all of your components in front of you:
Brown butter powder
Here's how I plated mine:
Spoon a dollop of the cream on the plate, and using your spoon, make an indentation in the dollop, then pull the spoon across the plate
Place the poached banana across the plate, on top of the dollop
scoop some rum caviar and place it on the cream
Sprinkle some brown butter powder over the cream
Place a wafer on the banana
Spoon some powder in the center of the plate
place the banana on top
pipe some cream on top of the banana
place wafers on the cream (odd numbers look better)
Place small scoops of rum caviar in various places around the plate
Congrats, you're done, and you've made a beautifully plated dessert!
Second Prize in the
Science of Cooking