Bananas with Cashew Craquelin

1 banana needed per person

This recipe is from Jean-Georges Vongerichten & Mark Bittman’s Simple to Spectacular; how to take one basic recipe to four levels of sophistication. Again, I owe this mind-blowing eating experience to my friend Jana, of Jana’s Apple Pie; she’s turned me on to more than one of the cook books in my library.

As they say in the book for this series of bananas cooked in butter

At its most basic, a fine, quick dessert that can be made at the last minute with three ingredients you undoubtably have in the house – bananas, butter and brown sugar.

This recipe is the 3rd of 5 recipes in the series, so not the basic one and not the most complicated. IMO the only thing that makes this complicated is that you really do need to make the cashew craquelin ahead of time. I make a batch of craquelin and keep it handy for months, which makes throwing this together last minute 100% possible.

  • Butter, as needed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup chopped cashews (roasted & unsalted)
  • 4 TBL butter
  • 4 ripe bananas, peeled
  • 2 TBL brown sugar
  • Vanilla ice cream, lightly whipped heavy cream, or crème anglaise
  • To make the craquelin, which can be made days ahead of time
    • Use the butter to grease a baking sheet with a rim
    • Place the sugar in a large heavy skillet and turn the heat on low
    • Cook without stirring until the sugar turns liquid, then stir constantly until it turns golden but not brown
    • Stir in the cashews and immediately pour the mixture onto the greased baking sheet. Cool completely, then break into large pieces and put into a plastic bag and smash into pieces the size of granola. note: I place the baking sheet on the floor to get more leverage. I use a rolling pin to get the craquelin rolled out flat like peanut brittle, placing a large piece of parchment paper over the craquelin mixture to prevent it sticking to the rolling pin. This all happens wicked fast, so get the baking sheet, rolling pin etc all ready before you need to mix in the cashews and pour it out.
  • To make the bananas
    • Preheat oven to 450
    • Place an ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter
    • When the butter melts an its foam subsides, add the bananas
    • Quickly turn once, then sprinkle with half the brown sugar and then turn again, sprinkle with the remaining sugar
    • Place in oven
    • Roast for 5 minutes, or until browned on one side
    • Turn and cook for another 5 minutes or so
    • Carefully remove and turn in the craquelin
    • Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or crème anglaise
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