The Banana Calamity

After making banana pancakes last weekend, I still had a surplus of bananas to use up. Three of those are destined for banana bread, but there were still a few undesignated bananas, quickly moving past the brief yellow-ripe phase into mushiness. I also had half a tub of mascarpone cheese left from the pancakes, and the combination of the two was ringing a little bell in my head. Where had I seen that pairing recently?

Back in May, Helene of Tartelette posted a recipe for banana and mascarpone mousse parfaits, perfect little pyramids of creamy banana goodness topped with a waterfall of ganache and a sprinkle of chopped pistachio. As it turned out, I had all the ingredients for the frozen mousse on hand, so I decided to give it a go.

Banana mousse parfait

The mousse was not at all difficult to make, although the number of separately whipped ingredients meant dirtying a few bowls. I very gently folded everything together and scooped servings gingerly into my silicone muffin pan, which I thought would make a decent pinch-hitter for pretty pyramid molds. I still think it would have worked out beautifully…except that I couldn’t fit the muffin pan into my freezer. It’s not even that big, and I put it on my smallest baking sheet, but we have a vertically oriented freezer with a door that opens against a wall, and the #!@&% freezer door shelves were blocking the way. I tried transferring the pan to a plate, but no dice. Even the plate wouldn’t fit without serious angling, and meanwhile the mousse was sliding all over the top of the muffin pan and getting all over the undersides of the freezer door shelves.

Rather miserably, I admitted defeat and scooped the mousse from the muffin pan into the few ramekins I have, putting the overflow into some skinny juice glasses. So much for unmolding them for presentation, and so much for the fluffy texture I had so painstakingly worked to achieve. I was at least able to get the plate into the freezer by itself, and then added the ramekins one at a time; but when I turned around to put the glasses on another shelf, the plate tipped and one of the ramekins belched its contents all over the inside of my freezer before splatting on the floor. Now sobbing in despair, I stormed around the kitchen cleaning up the mess, and then retreated to the bedroom to drown my sorrows in a re-read of Harry Potter Book 6 (I wanted a refresher for next month).

Glassful of parfait

The next day, I grudgingly peered at the surviving mousses in the freezer, and decided that I might as well finish the job. Since I used up the last of my cream in the mousses themselves, I decided to make the lean chocolate sauce in The Perfect Scoop rather than a chocolate ganache, and topped the parfaits with toasted sliced almonds because they caught my eye on the shelf.

Lean Chocolate Sauce

The chocolate sauce was easy to make. I used Droste cocoa and Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips, and made a half batch because that was all the corn syrup I had. It still made plenty and we will be happily topping our ice cream with the leftovers, which did thicken up gloriously in the fridge as promised, almost to pudding consistency.

The finished parfaits were actually really tasty. The mousse itself is a sort of semifreddo, and for all my concerns about rock-like consistency, they came out tasting remarkably like banana ice cream. To be honest, we hardly even minded the lack of a fancy presentation. I’ll be very happy to move on to the next batch of ice cream, though…

Lean Chocolate Sauce

2 C water
1 C unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa
1 C light corn syrup
4 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Whisk the water, cocoa, and corn syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 3 minutes, stirring regularly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. This sauce can be reserved in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, and reheated gently in the microwave or on the stovetop. Makes 2 cups.

Source: The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz.

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5 thoughts on “The Banana Calamity

  1. June 28, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    Sorry you had such troubles with the molding and serving…in which case I agree that it was a lot to go through for just parfaits! I hope you were able to enjoy them a little though!

  2. June 29, 2007 at 8:37 am

    Helene, we enjoyed them a lot! Next time I have an excess of bananas and mascarpone, I will totally make them again. In fact, I may just use them as an excuse to go out and get a better variety of ramekins and silicone molds… Those individual silicone cupcake liners might just do the trick for this. 🙂

  3. July 1, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    I have got to say that silicone rocks when it comes to molding parfaits, ice creams, panna cottas and so forth. I love the picture of the frosty shot glasses, perfect!

  4. July 1, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Welcome to the Daring Bakers! This looks like a wonderful dessert…that chocolate sauce looks good enough to eat by itself.

  5. July 2, 2007 at 9:36 am

    Helene, I like the look of the frosty glasses too, but since they are as tall as my spoons are long, there were lots of chocolatey knuckles by the time we finished eating them. Not that that’s a bad thing, necessarily… 🙂

    Elle, I’m so excited to be a Daring Baker, and can hardly wait to get started on the July challenge. The chocolate sauce was fantastic and beautifully bittersweet, and I do have to admit to sneaking spoonfuls right out of the container from time to time.

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