Banana Layer Slab

Banana Layer Slab B

Banana and pecan that classic combo, paired here with chocolate (an all-time favourite) into a five-layer dessert. I agree the name ‘slab’ is a bit heavy-handed, but I couldn’t think of a way to describe it better, so here it is: Banana Layer Slab!

Banana Layer Slab

Serves 8

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Ingredients

for the pecan dacqouise

  • 50g pecans
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg white (from medium eggs)

for the banana sponge

  • 110g light brown soft sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 70g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 240g very ripe banana, mashed (about 350g unpeeled)
  • 160g self-raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

for the chocolate ganache

  • 120ml double cream
  • 20g dark brown soft sugar
  • 100g plain chocolate, finely chopped
  • for the honey cream
  • 200ml double cream
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Method

Make the pecan dacquoise: preheat the oven to 190°C (180°C fan)/375°F/gas mark 5, then toast the pecans for 10 minutes, stirring halfway. Transfer to a plate and leave to cool. Once completely cool, grind the nuts in a food processor until fine. Cut a sheet of non-stick paper to fit a swiss roll tray (33x25cm) and mark two lines 12.5cm apart, lengthways on the paper. Invert the paper and place on a swiss roll tray. Reduce the oven to 110°C (100°C fan)/225°F/gas mark ¼.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg white with an electric hand mixer until soft peaks form. Whisk in the sugar a teaspoon at a time until it is all added and stiff peaks form. Carefully fold in the ground nuts, then spread evenly on the paper within the lines. Bake in the oven for two hours until crisp and light, it should be lightly browned but not coloured much. Once baked, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then make the sponge.

Make the banana sponge: preheat the oven to 190°C (180°C fan)/375°F/gas mark 5, grease a swiss roll tray and line with non-stick baking paper. In a large mixing bowl beat the sugar, eggs and melted butter with a balloon whisk until smooth, then mix in the mashed banana and vanilla. Sift in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon then fold in, mixing until smooth.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared tray, spreading evenly and bake 20 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch. Allow to cool in the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Once the dacquoise and sponge are completely cool make the ganache.

Make the chocolate ganache: heat the cream and sugar in a pan, stirring, and bring to the boil. Once boiling remove from the heat and allow to cool for one minute. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour over the hot cream. Stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Place the bowl of ganache in an ice bath (a larger bowl part-filled with ice and water, make sure the water doesn’t come more than halfway up the sides of the bowl of ganache) and stir the ganache as it chills. Once the ganache gets considerably thicker (like the texture of thick frosting), remove the bowl from the ice bath and beat with a whisk until light and fluffy.

Make the honey cream: whisk the cream and honey together until stiff.

Assemble the slab: cut the banana sponge in half lengthways and lay one half on a large chopping board. Spread the ganache evenly over this half, then top with the dacquoise. Spread the honey cream evenly over the dacquoise, then top with the other half of the sponge (top-side up). Trim the edges to neaten, so all five layers can be clearly seen, then transfer to a serving dish. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

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