Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Caribbean Chocolate Soup: Sweet or Savory

The other day I mentioned that there will be a Caribbean Chocolate Soup available for tasting at the Berkeley Chocolate and Chalk Art Festival. Got me thinking of various recipes I've posted for Chocolate Soups (Cocoa Soups). I'm sure the one that's going to be available at the festival will be savory, and below I have a link to a recipe for a savory Caribbean Chocolate Soup.

But... I really like sweet soups. This recipe for Chocolate Soup With Caramelized Bananas is by chef Jacques Torres (posted on FabFood). He developed it for Le Cirque 2000. The chocolate and bananas fit the bill for Chocolate Caribbean Soup! This dessert consists of a hot chocolate soup over caramelized bananas and topped with a spectacular meringue crown. What could be better?!! It's not that difficult, looks fabulous and tastes divine. Definitely more elegant than a chocolate covered banana on a stick!

FROM JACQUES TORRES ABOUT THE RECIPE:
The clients at Le Cirque love chocolate desserts, so I am always trying to come up with new ones. One year, Kris and I went to Disney World. She insisted I try a frozen chocolate covered banana and, quite frankly, I questioned the concept. Well, I loved it! I didn't think Sirio would be too pleased if I served bananas on a stick at his restaurant, so here is the version I adapted for the dessert menu.

JACQUES TORRES' CHOCOLATE SOUP WITH CARMELIZED BANANAS

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 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 tsugar into pan. Try to keep  sugar in  even layer to allow all to caramelize at same time. As soon as sugar begins to melt, start moving pan over the burner to keep sugar from burning. Tilt pan from side to side so melted sugar runs over unmelted sugar. Cook until all of sugar is a light golden brown. Chef Torres usually adds a tablespoon of butter at this stage because it makes the caramel smoother. Add bananas and rum and spread evenly in pan. When cooking with alcohol, there is always the chance of it catching on fire, so be very careful when adding rum. Continue to cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated and bananas are soft but not mushy; they should still hold their shape. Remove from theat and pour caramelized bananas onto plate. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool for about 20 minutes. Covering hot bananas with plastic wrap keeps the caramel from drying as it cools.
  3. Prepare Chocolate Soup: Pour milk into 2 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Add chopped chocolate and stir until well combined and Chocolate has melted. Bring mixture to boil again, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat and set aside while you prepare soup bowls.
  4. The bowls Chef Torres uses hold 4 1/2 ounces. Use any oven-safe bowls. Place one large spoonful of caramelized bananas in bottom of each soup bowl. Bananas will give texture to soup, so be generous. Cover bananas with hot soup, filling each bowl three-quarters full. Set soup bowls on baking sheet and place in refrigerator until chilled, about 2 hours. Soup will set and thicken, allowing it to support the meringue; chill well before topping it.
  5. To Finish Soup: Place egg whites in medium-size mixing bowl and whip with electric mixer on medium speed until foamy. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and make French meringue by adding the powered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and whipping whites to stiff but not dry peaks.
  6. Place meringue in large pastry bag fitted with a 3/4-inch star tip. Remove soup from refrigerator and pipe tmeringue onto tops in a decorative pattern. Place soup bowls in deep roasting pan or baking dish and fill with warm water to come one third of way up side of bowls. Let stand for about 30 minutes to warm 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 oven to 450°F. Remove soup bowls from warm water bath and place them on  baking sheet. Place in oven just until meringue begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Soup should not get hot. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
  8. Great Tip: When you cut Chocolate, start at one corner and always cut 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 diced bananas in medium-sized mixing bowl with rum and toss to coat. Set aside to let macerate at room temperature while you prepare the caramel. Chef Torres tops the warm soup with meringue to add another layer of texture and enhance visual appeal. You can skip this step if you prefer.
I tend to think, though, that the recipe for Caribbean Chocolate Soup that will be served at next week's Chocolate and Chalk Art event in Berkeley will be more like this recipe from Maricel Presilla on Gourmet Sleuth. 

CARIBBEAN CHOCOLATE SOUP

Ingredients

1 ounce cacao nibs
1 chile guajillo
4 plum tomatoes (about 10 ounces), stemmed
1/2 white onion (about 3 1/2 ounces)
4 garlic cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon aniseed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon brown loaf sugar (preferably Colombian panela or Mexican piloncillo), grated or demerara natural brown cane sugar
2 pounds calabaza (or Caribbean pumpkin, acorn, or hubbard squash) peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
8 cups well-flavored chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ounce dark chocolate (preferably 58.5 percent or 60 percent cacao content)

For Garnish:
1 cup Mexican cream or creme fraiche
1 cup cubed Manchego cheese
Kekchi Cacao-Chile Balls, recipe follows

For Directions on how to make this Caribbean Chocolate Soup, go here
Also directions for making Kekchi Cacao-Chile Balls!

6 comments:

yummychunklet said...

Ooh, bookmarked! I need to use up some bananas before they go bad.

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

What creative and delicious sounding recipes! It's so great to find a blog devoted to chocolate! I've signed up to follow and so looking forward to more! That chocolate soup sound divine!!
Mary x

Spencer said...

Sounds delicious! I wouldn't mind trying some.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Intriguing! Those are interesting soups.

Cheers,

Rosa

Janet Rudolph said...

Love these soups..the sweet one is the one I've made, but I'm up for the savory!

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

That chocolate soup sounds fascinating. I pretty much have everything except the cacao nibs. Where do I find those? Seriously, I've been looking for them.