A Dessert Fit for a King: Banana Flan (Prince William's Favorite Dessert)

A Dessert Fit for a King: Banana Flan (Prince William

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably been inundated with news about the pending royal nuptials. And even though I already had mine years ago, I am a sucker for fairytale weddings. Food is one of the keys to an amazing event, and since banana flan ("banana cream pie" in America) is Prince William's favorite dessert, I made half a dozen of them so the 6 girls in our family can nibble while watching the wedding on TV. The recipe is pretty simple; I made puff pastry pie shells that I filled with regular custard that I filled in   and topped with grilled bananas. The flavor is very similar to banana pudding, which is definitely nothing to complain about. I adapted the recipe from Chef Darren McGrady's Eating Royally. Chef McGrady was the personal chef to Prince William, Prince Harry and Lady Diana until her death in 1997.

I'm going to try my hardest to watch it live, but I’m not sure I'll be able to stay up so late. One thing I do know is that I'll be enjoying banana flan and hot tea (oh so British!) while staring at Kate Middleton's wedding gown and waiting for the couple's smooch from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

Royal Wedding William and Kate

Congratulations William and Kate!

Ingredients

Yields: 6 individual pies

6 (5 x 5-inch) squares frozen puff pastry dough (store-bought), thawed
5 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 whole egg, at room temperature
½ cup heavy cream
1-½ cups milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons corn starch
1-½ teaspoons pure banana extract
1 teaspoon imitation rum extract (optional)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
5 ripe baby bananas
1 tablespoon canola oil (or any neutral oil), as needed
1/3 cup apricot jelly, warm
6 fresh mint leaves


Directions

Making the pie shells:

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Place the dough in 6 individual pie shells previously lined with parchment paper (or in a 9-inch pie pan). Prick the dough with a fork 3-4 times to let some of the steam out as they bake.

Bake for 5 minutes at 375°F; lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 20-25 minutes. The texture of the puff pastry should be very flaky.

Allow to cool completely. Unmold each pie shell. Set aside.


Making the banana filling:

In a bowl, dissolve the corn starch in about ¼ cup of heavy cream.

Using a handheld mixer, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until you get a pale yellow foam. Add salt.

On the stove, bring the remaining cream and milk to a near boil in a deep sauce pan. Add the corn starch mixture. Whisk constantly to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom.

Combine the dairy liquid with the egg mixture by slowly adding a ladle of the dairy liquid at a time to prevent the yolks from curdling.

Transfer all the mixture back to the deep sauce pan. Cook until the cream thickens, stirring constantly with  a wooden spoon for about 8-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the banana and rum extracts.  Whisk in  the butter. Add 2 drops of the yellow food coloring (if used). Stir well. Transfer the banana custard to a bowl. Place the bowl into an ice bath. When the cream is cool completely, cover with a piece of plastic wrap; make sure the plastic wrap is directly in contact with the pudding to keep it from forming a skin. Let it cool completely.


Grilling the bananas: Peel and slice the bananas. Cut them in slices. Brush a hot non-stick griddle pan with oil. Using a brush, lightly coat the banana slices as well. Place the bananas on the griddle pan. Cook until you get grill marks (about 2 minutes on each side) over medium heat. As soon as the bananas are grilled, transfer to a platter.


Assembly time:

Bring the banana filling back to room temperature (if refrigerated).

Spoon the filling into the puff pastry pie shells. Level the filling with a spatula.

Arrange the banana sliced on top of each pie. Using a silicone brush, immediately brush the top of the bananas with the warm apricot jelly, to make the bananas more moiet and to add a burst of bold fruit flavor and a nice glossy look.

Garnish with mint leaves.

Serve immediately.

Bon appétit!


Tips

I usually use store-bought puff pastry dough from a local Middle Eastern market. I know what you're going to ask: Why this particular store? Often, I have found that the puff pastry dough sold at local chain stores is made with hydrogenated oils or lard instead of butter. At Middle Eastern markets, it's always made with butter.

A pinch of salt brings out the flavor of the dessert and enhances its sweetness.

If you don't have baby bananas (more intense in flavor), you could use regular bananas.

Baby Banana Picture

I used my friend Laura's apricot pie jelly (apricot, lemon, cinnamon and sugar) for the glaze. Her pie jelly is one of the many homemade jams and preserves she makes. You can find her preserves at the annual Belmont Arts and Crafts fair or directly online at www.domainebrix.com. Just warm the apricot preserves in the microwave for a few seconds (or on the stove). If you fancy some rum flavor, add a drop to the glaze.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on April 29, 2011.


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