Bruleed Banana Cheese Gingersnap Treats (Croques Banane Brie Recipe)
I have Lulu to thank for inspiring me to prepare this snack. He was feeling a bit peckish, but there wasn’t a lot of food at home (the refrigerator is broken ). We had some brie leftover from my little munchkin’s birthday party, so he took a wedge of it and put it on a gingersnap cookie. Lulu was very proud of himself and offered me a bite.
The mixture of sweet and salty flavors and soft and crunchy textures was very pleasant, and it instantly took me back in time to my childhood. When I came home from school, I used to make myself brie and banana “sandwiches” with baguette or just sliced bread. It was probably my favorite snack. Given that there were some very ripe bananas in the house along with the brie and gingersnaps, it seemed only fitting that I should share a little bite of my childhood with Lulu and my little munchkin.
Of course, I’m not 7 anymore, so I decided to jazz it up a little. Caramelizing the bananas brought out additional flavors that really complemented the creaminess of the brie. And instead of white bread I used gingersnap cookies as the delivery device for the banana brie combo (thanks Lulu!). I’ve often found myself disappointed when I try to relive the memories of my favorite childhood dishes. This, happily, was not one of those times!
Yields: 10 snacks10 gingersnap cookies (click on the link for the recipe)
3-4 ripe baby bananas
3/4 cup granulated sugar, as needed
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla powder (optional)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, freshly ground
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 ounces brie cheese
Remove the brie cheese 30 minutes from the refrigerator to get it back to room temperature. Cut the cheese into 10 pieces.
Cinnamon sugar: On a plate, combine the sugar, salt, vanilla powder and ground cinnamon. Mix well.
Making bruleed bananas: Peel and slice the bananas. Cut them in thirds, lengthwise. Place the sliced bananas on the sugar mixture. Coat the bananas on both sides. Sprinkle with more sugar if necessary, then caramelize with a culinary torch until the sugar melts and starts to bubble. The sugar will caramelize and can burn fast, so watch it carefully as it changes color until the sugar crust is formed.
On a serving platter, place the gingersnap cookies. Layer the cookie with one piece of bruleed banana, a piece of cheese and another banana.
A pinch of salt brings out the flavor of the dessert and enhances its sweetness.
You could use another cheese such as camembert. I chose brie because it's rich; it's #2 of France's most popular cheeses!
How to store cheese: It's best to store cheese at the bottom of the refrigerator.
The ideal temperature to store cheese is at 50°F. Don't remove the white crust from the cheese! This natural protective layer helps keep the flavor of the cheese. Once the cheese has been sliced, wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper.
For this recipe, I used store-bought gingersnaps. You can find them online.
I buy pure vanilla powder at my local market. It's called the Milk Pail Market. The address is 2585 California Street, Mountain View, CA 94040. You can also find it online.
If you don't have baby bananas (more intense in flavor), you could use regular-sized bananas.
July 4, 2010.