Saturday, January 21, 2012

Roasted Banana Muffins

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of roasting. Roasting is a good way to concentrate and intensify flavors in vegetables and fruits. I like to roast my carrots when making carrot soup, for example, and sliced 

mushrooms for mushroom soup. And beets, of course, are lovely when roasted. Though most people don’t think of roasting bananas, it’s an excellent way to bring out their musky flavor, especially if  

you sprinkle them with brown sugar and a bit of dark rum first. I recently came across a recipe for Roasted Banana Muffins, and decided to give them a go. The recipe comes from Eric Lanlard, a

 London-based pâtissier and owner of Cake Boy pastry shop. Eric’s original recipe did not include a streusel topping – he called for topping with banana chips – but I added it because everything

 tastes better with streusel, non? Eric has a book out now, Cake Boy: Home Baking from Master Pâtissier (Mitchell Beazely, 2011), and is working on another book on tarts, Tart It Up, which will be out in the fall. You’ll also be seeing him on t.v. soon, so stay tuned, because after meeting him I can tell you that he’s as charming as he is talented.

Roasted Banana Muffins
Adapted from Cake Boy by Eric Lanlard

Makes 12 muffins

Roasted Bananas:
2 large, ripe bananas
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons dark rum

½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into chunks

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ cup superfine sugar
¼ teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

Roast the bananas:
2. Peel the bananas and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle them with the dark brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and rum. Wrap up the foil into a loose, but secure package, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until soft and very fragrant. Cool.

Make the topping:
3. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon and brown sugar. Add the butter pieces and, stir and mash the mixture with a fork until the topping is crumbly. Set aside.

Make the batter:
4. Melt the butter and allow it to cool. In a medium bowl, mash the roasted bananas and their roasting liquid well. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, melted butter and milk. Add the mashed bananas and mix well.
5. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Make a well in the center and add the egg and banana mixture, stirring roughly with a fork until it is a lumpy paste. Divide the batter among the muffin cups and top each one with some of the banana chips. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool.