These sweet and sticky bananas are begging to be piled atop fresh crepes for a decadent weekend brunch. Fortified with whiskey and walnuts, this dish is a pinch to make, especially if you cook the crepes ahead of time.
One quantity crepes from this crepe recipe (minus the dark chocolate sauce)
2 tablespoons avocado or other neutral oil
5 bananas, peeled and halved lengthwise
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup whiskey (bourbon works well here)
1/2 cup walnuts
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bananas, cut side down, and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the top. Cook bananas until heated through and sugar is melted, about 5 minutes. Add whiskey and flip bananas over. Add the walnuts and cook until the bananas are caramelized and the whiskey has reduced to a syrup. Serve over crepes.
This is both the most delicious and the ugliest flan I’ve ever made. The texture is unbeatable: think the silkiest flan you’ve ever tasted, and then some. I didn’t do a good job unmolding the flan, hence the awful photo. But the recipe is too good to not share. You probably already have these ingredients at home, so why not make it now? Enjoy.
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
3 cups whole milk
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Place a kitchen towel on a work surface and set a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate on towel to protect from the heat. Place sugar in a medium heavy stainless steel saucepan. Cook over medium until sugar becomes fragrant and begins to melt around edges of pan, about 6 minutes. Gently swirl pan to incorporate melted sugar. Continue swirling pan until all of the sugar is completely melted and has darkened to the color of dark brown sugar, about 10 minutes. Immediately pour melted sugar into prepared pie plate, coating the bottom evenly. Let stand until cool, about 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, fill a large, deep roasting pan with hot water to a depth of about 1 inch (enough so it will not overflow when flan dish is added). Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Add whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla bean seeds, and whisk until smooth. Add milk mixture to pie plate.
3. Set pie plate in the roasting pan and carefully place in the oven. Bake until edges are set and center retains a slight wiggle, about 50 minutes. Remove pie plate from water bath. Cool completely on towel, about 2 hours. Run a knife around edge of flan to loosen. When pan is rotated, flan should float in caramel. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface; chill at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.
5. Set pie plate in a shallow dish of hot water to soften caramel, about 2 minutes. Invert flan onto a large rimmed platter and serve.
We eat a lot of energy bars in our household. You know the kind: grain-free and heavy on the dates and nuts.
These Persian Gulf-style date and coconut balls are just like those protein bars you’d find at Whole Foods, but more ancient and more delicious. And they’re a breeze to make. Serve these with tea for dessert or have them for breakfast. They pack well too, making them perfect for the road.
1 cup dried unsweetened coconut, ground to a coarse powder in a spice or nut grinder
2 tablespoons ground pistachios
1 tablespoon neutral oil
2 cups dates, pitted and sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons tahini
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup walnuts
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1. In a shallow bowl, mix the ground coconut and pistachios and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a wide skillet over medium-low heat. Add the dates and saute for 4 minutes until they are soft. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, tahini, almonds, and walnuts and saute for 2 minutes.
3. Let the date mixture cool, then transfer to a food processor and pulse until you have a grainy paste.
4. Use a spoon to pick up a 1 tablespoon portion of the paste. Moisten the palms of your hands with the orange blossom water and shape into a bite-sized ball. Repeat with the remaining paste and orange blossom water.
5. Roll the date balls in the coconut mixture until they are lightly coated. Serve at room temperature or store, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Raise your hand if you grew up salivating over these at every mehmooni. These cream puffs are giant to the max and fluffy to the max, with just a hint of fragrant rosewater.
Be patient mixing the dough on this — it’ll look like it’ll never come together, but it will. And the wait will be worth it, I promise.
These cream puffs are best eaten fresh the day of.
For the filling:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
7 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon rose water
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the dough:
1 cup cold water
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced into cubes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rose water
1 cup flour, sifted
4 room temperature eggs
For the dusting:
1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1. To prepare the filling: In a large bowl, combine the cream, sugar, rose water, and vanilla, and whip at high speed until soft peaks form. Cover and chill in the refrigerator.
2. To make the dough: Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 425F degrees.
3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, salt, and butter, and bring to a boil, stirring well with a wooden spoon. Add the vanilla and rose water. Reduce heat to very low and add the flour, all at once, stirring constantly (3 to 5 minutes), until you have a stiff paste.
4. Remove the dough from the heat and continue to stir for 4 or 5 minutes to help the dough cool down.
5. Make sure the temperature of the dough is around 150F degrees at this time and add 1 egg to the dough and stir for 1 minute. The dough should become glossy and silky. Continue to stir for another minute until the egg has been absorbed and the dough is no longer glossy. Continue adding the eggs, 1 at a time, stirring each time an egg is added until the dough is no longer glossy. The dough should be light, smooth, and airy.
6. Bake the cream puffs: Use an ice cream scoop to drop 12 equal portions of the dough onto the 2 prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each dollop. Bake for 20 minutes.
7. Without opening the oven door, reduce the heat to 350F degrees and continue to bake for another 20 to 25 minutes or until the puff pastries are golden.
8. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool thoroughly.
9. Just before serving, use a serrated knife to cut through the pastries crosswise. Use a pastry bag to squeeze the chilled filling into the pastry, dividing between the 12 pastries. Dust the tops with powdered sugar and serve.
It’s Norooz (Iranian New Year) season, so there’s lots of sweets everywhere I go these days. Norooz begins on the spring equinox and lasts for two weeks, and during this time, it’s customary to visit loved ones. Naturally, these visits are filled with sugary treats. Kind of like Thanksgiving and Christmas, Iranian style.
I usually make these cashew baklava to celebrate the arrival of Norooz. Much like our household, I make them a little bit Iranian and a little bit Sri Lankan. These aren’t traditional baklava. Cashews take the place of walnuts, and I add some coconut sugar to the mix. Lastly, I add both orange blossom water and Meyer lemon zest to the syrup.
The best part? These are easier to make than they look. Norooz mobarak!
1/2 stick plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup cashews
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons coconut sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
Finely grated zest of 1⁄2 Meyer lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
10 (16-by-13-inch) sheets phyllo
1. Heat the oven to 350F degrees. In a food processor, combine 5 tablespoons butter with the cashews, brown sugar, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt and pulse until the filling is finely chopped.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar with 1⁄3 cup water. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat, stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice juice, and orange blossom water and set aside.
3. Grease a foil-lined rimmed metal baking sheet with some of the remaining melted butter. On a work surface, lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough so the short sides are parallel to you. Brush the sheet with some butter and place the second sheet over the first. Brush the phyllo with butter and cover with the third sheet. Repeat until you have 5 sheets but do not brush the last sheet with butter. Arrange 3 tablespoons of the cashew filling in a line along the long edge of the stacked phyllo sheets. Roll the phyllo around the filling into a long, narrow log. Using a serrated knife, cut the log into 2-inch pieces and and place the pieces in the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining filling and phyllo sheets, arranging each filled piece of baklava against the others so they fit snuggly in a single layer in the baking sheet.
3. Brush the remaining melted butter over the top of the baklava and bake until light brown and crisp, about 35 minutes. Remove the baking pan from the oven, pour the cooled syrup over the baklava, and let cool to room temperature before serving.