Ganache is a spectacular thing yet it is only a combination of two very basic ingredients: cream and chocolate. Depending on their ratio, ganache can be made as thick as desired to spread over cakes, pipe onto cupcakes or even roll into truffles. For your ganache to turn out rich and creamy, use only the best quality cooking chocolate you can afford but if you are working with white chocolate, you’d have to go extra careful; this delicate confectionery scorches easily at high temperature because, as they say, it’s not really chocolate.

To achieve the perfect consistency for my ivory white ganache, I took the pain to add the hot cream a couple of teaspoons at a time and giving the mixture a furious stir till I developed cramps in my little finger. I grew quite alarmed when, after pouring in the first few spoonfuls, the mixture looked like a greasy mass of curds instead of the silky smooth texture I always get with dark chocolate. I was not about to let those precious Lindt chips go waste and therefore I had no choice but to keep adding more cream, drop by drop now, until by some obscure magic it all came together to my great relief.

Because of its overpowering sweetness I’ve never been a white chocolate fan, in fact I have never eaten as much as a square of the plain stuff as far as I can recall. However it lends itself beautifully to partnerships with a number of tangy add-ons like lemon, berries and macadamia nuts. The combination I used here is one of canberries, apricots and pistachios which was a huge hit when I made the same into barks for a Daring Bakers Challenge. If it tastes great and looks fantastic, there’s nothing more I’d look for in a dessert. Don’t you agree, friends?

WHITE CHOCOLATE TART

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

100 g unsalted butter, chilled

2 tbs cold water

125 g white chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup heavy cream

3 tbs dried apricots, chopped

30 g cranberries, chopped

2 tbs pistachios, crushed

Glacé cherries, optional

Method:

  • Rub butter into flour until it resembles coarse meal. Add enough water to form a soft dough.
  • Press into a 7″ tart pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  • Remove tart shell from refrigerator and prick all over with a fork before blind baking.
  • Bake tart shell for 25 minutes until golden brown in colour. Cool to room temperature.

  • To make ganache, place chocolate in a mixing bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan.
  • Pour hot cream, through a sieve, over chocolate. Stir until smooth and creamy in texture.

  • Pour chocolate mixture into cooled tart shell. Sprinkle with chopped apricot, cranberries and pistachios.
  • Leave the ganache to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Top with glacé cherries before serving, if desired.

This is what I baked in response to the long standing request from my long standing friend, Guru, who wanted me to make something simple that he could recreate in his own kitchen. However as old habits die hard, I turned the classic banana bread recipe I was hoping to share into something that sounded more grand and imposing than it actually was: The Browned Butter Banana Cake.

Though you can totally make this cake without going through the hassle of getting your fingers burnt or your patience tested, the nutty flavour of browned butter is what gives it an edge over and above all other banana cakes and breads I have ever baked. And to finish in style, the browned butter glaze is a must so trust that little voice in your head and just do it.

BROWNED BUTTER BANANA CAKE

Ingredients:

For the Browned Butter Banana Cake

1/2 cup butter, unsalted

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 ripe medium bananas, mashed

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp table salt

1/2 cup yogurt

For the Browned Butter Glaze

1 tbs butter

1 tbs milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup icing sugar

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease 4 mini loaf pans. To make browned butter, melt butter in a small saucepan on the stove.
  • Continue cooking it on medium-high heat until it boils. Turn heat down to medium. Do not worry if butter bubbles or foams.
  • Keep cooking it. As the butter begins to brown, you will see specks of darker brown develop at the bottom of the pan.

  • Stir these up and cook until butter has a nice and even dark honey color. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together browned butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one by one, then beat in vanilla extract and mashed bananas.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mix.

  • Stir to combine. Add in the sour cream, followed by the remaining flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed.
  • Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  • For the brown butter glaze, in a small skillet, brown the butter as above. Pour into a medium bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  • Whisk milk, vanilla and about 1/2 cup icing or confectioner’s sugar into the browned butter until smooth.
  • Gradually blend in additional icing sugar until you have a glaze that is thick enough to drizzle generously over the cake.

For my SSRMC 2005 Batch

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