Recipe: Hazelnut meringue with banana cream and chocolate

This is a luscious dessert, caramelised banana cream between layers of hazelnut meringue and dark chocolate ganache, writes Mercy Fenton
Recipe: Hazelnut meringue with banana cream and chocolate

Hazelnut meringue with banana cream and chocolate by Mercy Fenton

"The meringue can be made a day in advance, then best kept air tight in a zip lock bag with as little air as possible," says Mercy Fenton in her weekly column.

"A great way to use up overripe bananas, which are delicious caramelised. Three easy steps to a stunning dessert."

Steps

1.Cook meringue - ideally day or evening in advance.

2. Prepare puree.

3. Coat meringues with chocolate.

4. Prepare bavarois base.

5. Assemble.

Hazelnut Meringue

1 tbsp corn flour

100gr toasted skinless hazelnuts

4 egg whites

240gr icing sugar

Method:

  • Pre heat the oven to 120 C.
  • Pulse the hazelnuts in a food processor until it resembles coarse ground almond. Watch carefully or you will get an oily mush.
  • Take two sheets of parchment paper. Draw a circle about 22cm or 8½ inches in diameter on each sheet then place upside down on two trays - you will still be able to see the outline.
  • If you have a fan oven it may help to stick down the corners with a little dot of meringue.
  • For the meringue place the egg whites in a large clean bowl of an electric mixer and whisk them until they just form stiff peaks (it’s important not to over-whisk the egg whites because, if you do, they will start to collapse).
  • Now start to whisk in the icing sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition until all the sugar is in.
  • Keep whisking until the mixture is smooth, thick and glossy.
  • Finally fold in the corn flour and ground hazelnut.
  • Pipe or spread carefully onto the parchment, being careful to stay on or just inside the lines (this is so the meringue fits in the tin when you want to build your cake).
  • Place in the oven and cook for one hour and dry to the touch.
  • Then turn off the oven leaving the meringue inside for another two hours.

Caramelised Banana Puree

Roughly 230 gr banana split lengthways and cut in 1/3rds

30ml cream

20gr sugar

15gr butter

Splash Brandy or rum (optional)

Method:

  • In a large frying pan, heat the sugar over a moderate heat.
  • After about 1-2 minutes the sugar will start to caramelize around the edges of the pan.
  • Swirl the pan to mix the caramel evenly, add bananas and butter and toss the pan to coat the bananas.
  • Add a splash of brandy and carefully allow it to ignite to let the alcohol burn off. Or use a match.
  • Next add cream. Cook to just loosen any caramel.
  • Carefully puree with a blender while still hot – being extremely careful not to splash.
  • Set aside to cool.

Chocolate Ganache

150gr 55% chocolate drops

100ml cream

Method:

  • Place the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of boiled water. Turn off the heat - this will just start the melting process.
  • Boil the cream and pour over the chocolate, allow to sit for a few minutes then stir to a smooth consistency - with all chocolate melted.
  • Once satisfied it is smooth - remove from the heat and stir frequently as it cools and thickens.
  • When it is still soft but inclined to hold its shape place one meringue disk in the base of a 23cm cheesecake tin.
  • Spread half the chocolate evenly over the base and chill.
  • Spread the remaining chocolate over the second base and allow to set.

Banana Bavarois

150ml cream

150ml milk

1tsp. vanilla extract

50gr sugar

6 egg yolks

4 leaves gelatine

15 gr whipped cream

Method:

  • Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until pale and the sugar is slightly dissolved.
  • Put the leaf gelatin in cold water to soak.
  • Prepare a sieve over a clean bowl and sit the clean bowl into another with cold or iced water (this is to help cool the custard quickly so it doesn’t curdle.)
  • Put the milk and cream in a small pot and bring just to the boil,
  • Carefully a little at a time add the scalded milk and cream to the egg yolk mixture.
  • Pour into a clean pot and cook gently over a low heat stirring all the time until the mixture thickens.
  • Once the mixture coats the back of a spoon, remove from the heat, quickly lift the softened gelatin from the water squeeze to remove excess water and add to the hot custard.
  • Stir until the gelatin is dissolved, strain through a sieve into the clean bowl.
  • Add the banana puree to the custard and allow to cool.
  • As it cool it will begin to set, so stir often so it thickens evenly once it is fully cool and thickening fold in the whipped cream.
  • Pour onto the prepared chocolate covered base and allow to set in the fridge before carefully inverting the second meringue disk, chocolate side down, on top.
  • Wrap the whole tin in cling film before refrigerating again for three to four hours to ensure it is set.
  • Wrapping it helps to keep any moisture from the fridge out and keeps the meringue crisp.
  • Once set you are ready to serve, you can decorate if you wish with more chocolate ganache or toasted hazelnuts. Serve with whipped cream.
  • Use a sharp serrated knife to cut.

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