By Karin Calloway

Karin Calloway is a working mom living in Augusta, Ga., with multiple freelance jobs and a ton of dirty dishes.

Banana Brulee

Few desserts come as close to perfection as Crème Brulee. The standard version, smooth and vanilla-laced with a crispy layer of caramelized sugar, is heavenly. Recently, I’ve begun experimenting with other flavors, and have found a new favorite way to enjoy the dessert in this recipe for pastry-encrusted Banana Brulee.

This elegant dessert doesn’t hint to its ease of preparation. Puff pastry shells are baked, and then hollowed out. Then, a simple banana custard is assembled in the blender, poured into the pastry shells and baked.

Individual banana custards would be luscious as they are, but add a topping of sliced ripe banana and brown sugar, then watch the brown sugar bubble up in a minute under a Viking infrared broiler, and you’ve taken something good over the top to unbelievable.

To broil the brown sugar, be sure to place your oven rack in the middle of the oven, and broil the Banana Brulees for just one minute. These must be watched carefully, lest you end up with overly browned puff pastry. If you don’t have a range with an infrared broiler, you can caramelize the brown sugar using one of the nifty small brulee torches available at many cookware stores.

  • 1 10-ounce package frozen puff pastry shells
  • 4 firm, ripe bananas, in all
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 6 teaspoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake frozen pastry shells on a parchment lined baking sheet for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and puffed. Set aside to cool. When completely cool, remove center pastry from each shell. (This step can be completed up to one day ahead.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine 3 bananas, lemon juice and granulated sugar in a blender or food processor. Pulse several times to combine. Add egg yolks and whipping cream and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pastry shells, filling to the top.* Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until custard is set. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, and as long as overnight.

Thinly slice remaining banana. Remove brulees from refrigerator and top each brulee with some of the banana slices. Sprinkle each brulee with 1 teaspoon of brown sugar. Broil for 1 minute, or until sugar begins to bubble, being careful not to burn.

Makes 6 servings.

*Extra custard may be baked in ramekins.