When I was growing up in Brazil, our home had a banana tree in the back garden. This particular tree produced tiny mini-bananas, which was a very happy treat for a medium-sized child. Come to think of it, there were a number of interesting things in our back yard – eucalyptus trees, macaws, a swimming pool, an occasional tarantula. Alas, the back yard was far less exotic when returned to Detroit…
With the World Cup taking place in Brazil this month, all the hype (and other not-so-favorable coverage), have memories of Brazil bubbling up in my mind. I’m not sure how it is possible that I have not returned to visit this country I called home for four years… it really is very high on my list of “must visit” destinations. I suspect you’ll be seeing a few Brazilian recipes over the next few weeks as the “futebol” runs 24/7 at House Morell, and as the memories keep bubbling.
But yes, I started with my thoughts on bananas. Honestly, I don’t usually crave bananas. I crave cherries, berries, peaches… but bananas? Not so much. Then I discovered the British creation of Banoffee pie. Heard of it? A crust of digestive biscuits or graham crackers (depending on which side of the pond you are on), bananas smothered in toffee (or better yet, dulce de leche) and covered with whipped cream. Now this is a banana in a form I crave.
Better yet? Banoffee Eton Mess… a collision of the Banoffee pie, and another British fave, Eton Mess, (A mixture of strawberries, meringues and whipped cream traditionally served at the cricket match between Eton and rival Harrow.) I stumbled upon this while perusing the wonderful Sips and Spoonfuls blog… oh my.
My friend Shannon was looking for a tropical dessert to serve her party-of-thirty the other night, and this seemed just the ticket… We put a team of teenagers on the job, crushing the meringues, slicing the bananas, and layering the elements into little plastic cups…
At one point the boys were crushing the meringues using crab mallets. I say whatever tool gets the job done.
The result? A super simple dessert that was a crowd favorite. The crunchy meringues, tropical bananas, rich dulce the leche and slightly sweet whipped cream combined to create a tropical party in a cup. The thing is, I failed to adequately photograph the concoction… and not one was left over (alas, it would have made a lovely breakfast.) So, I recreated it today to photograph properly… (life is rough during summer vacation at House Morell) I dare you to find a banana presented in a more perfect form:
Banoffee Eton Mess
This is one of those recipes that can be very easily adjusted given how many people you are hosting, so I will give you the quantities for one Eton Mess, and you can adjust accordingly. The fact that “Mess” is in the title should give you comfort that it is an exceedingly forgiving dish to make…
- 6 mini meringues, quartered
- 1/3 to 1/2 sliced banana
- 2 generous tablespoons dulce de leche
- 3 generous tablespoons whipped cream sweetened with a bit of powdered sugar and vanilla
- (optional) crushed graham cracker crumbs and/or toasted almonds
In the bottom of a glass or plastic cup, place four of the quartered mini-meringues. Top with banana slices, spoon the dulce de leche, then the whipped cream over them. You may also want to sprinkle some crushed graham crackers or toasted almonds between the dulce de leche and whipped cream layer, but I’ll leave that to you. Garnish with an extra slice of banana and two more of the quartered (or crushed) meringues, and serve immediately. (or at least soon)