Jacques Torres' Chocolate Soup With Caramelized Bananas

Jacques Torres' Chocolate Soup With Caramelized Bananas
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Recipe for Chocolate Soup With Caramelized Bananas by chef Jacques Torres of Le Cirque 2000. This unique dessert consists of a hot chocolate soup over caramelized bananas and topped with a spectacular meringue crown.

Ingredients

  • For the Caramelized Bananas:
  • 4 large bananas, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • For the Soup:
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 10 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • To finish the Soup:
  • 7 large egg whites
  • 1 3/4 cups confectioner\'s sugar

Directions

  1. Prepare the caramelized bananas:
  2. Heat a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat. If it starts to smoke, it is too hot and you need to run it under cool water, dry it, and start again. When it is warm sprinkle the sugar into the pan. Try to keep the sugar in an even layer to allow it all to caramelize at the same time. As soon as you see the sugar begin to melt, start moving the pan over the burner to keep the sugar from burning. Tilt the pan from side to side so that the melted sugar runs over the unmelted sugar. Cook until all of the sugar is a light golden brown. Chef Torres usually adds a tablespoon of butter at this stage because it makes the caramel smoother. Add the bananas and rum and spread evenly in the pan. When cooking with alcohol, there is always the chance of it catching on fire, so be very careful when adding the rum. Continue to cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated and the bananas are soft but not mushy; they should still hold their shape. Remove from the heat and pour the caramelized bananas onto a plate. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool for about 20 minutes. Covering the hot bananas with plastic wrap keeps the caramel from drying as it cools.
  3. Prepare the Chocolate Soup: Pour the milk into a 2 quart heavy -bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until well combined and the Chocolate has melted. Bring the mixture to a boil again, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside while you prepare the soup bowls.
  4. For this recipe, the bowls Chef Torres uses hold 4 1/2 ounces. You can use any oven-safe bowls. Place one large spoonful of the caramelized bananas in the bottom of each soup bowl. The bananas will give texture to the soup, so be generous. Cover the bananas with the hot soup, filling each bowl three-quarters full. Set the soup bowls on a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator until chilled, about 2 hours. The soup will set and thicken, allowing it to support the meringue; chill it well before topping it.
  5. To Finish the Soup: Place the egg whites in a medium-size mixing bowl and whip with an electric mixer on medium speed until foamy. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and make a French meringue by adding the powered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and whipping the whites to stiff but not dry peaks.
  6. Place the meringue in a large pastry bag fitted with a 3/4-inch star tip. Remove the soup from the refrigerator and pipe the meringue onto the tops in a decorative pattern. Place the soup bowls in a deep roasting pan or baking dish and fill it with warm water to come one third of the way up the side of the bowls. Let stand for about 30 minutes to warm the soup. If you do this before you serve dinner, the soup should be ready to be browned by the time you have finished eating.
  7. Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Remove the soup bowls from the warm water bath and place them on a baking sheet. Place in the oven just until the meringue begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. The soup should not get hot. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
  8. Notes When you cut Chocolate, start at one corner and always cut it on an angle. Don\'t try to cut big pieces, because it is too difficult. If you cut on an angle, it will be easier and safer. This way, you do not have to cut so much surface at one time.
  9. Place the diced bananas in a medium-sized mixing bowl with the rum and toss to coat. Set aside to let macerate at room temperature while you prepare the caramel. Chef Torres likes to top the warm soup with meringue to add another layer of texture and enhance the visual appeal. You can skip this step if you prefer.

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