I was looking through the fridge a while ago and found a few old bananas that needed to be used or thrown out ASAP. First, I know many people will say that my bananas went bad because I keep them in the fridge. That is simply not true. Many years of working in a restaurant have shown me that when you store bananas in a refrigerator, the skins turn black but the fruit inside stays fresh much longer. The bananas just look old. This is why grocery stores will never store bananas in a cold place, but also why you should. The bananas in question were over 6 weeks old. Try doing that on your countertop! So now let's get back to those old bananas in my fridge. I had remembered a recipe for a banana souffle I saw in Trader Vic's book of food and drink from 1946. Here is that recipe, just as is was originally printed, followed by my tips and suggestions:
You may have to file this for future cooking, but don't forget to try it when bananas are plentiful. My trader in Tahiti, Geri Bergman, sent me this recipe and it's a lulu.
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
4 egg whites
Whip the egg whites until dry, with a pinch of salt. Add the banana pulp, sweetened to taste. Turn into a buttered casserole and bake slowly about forty-five minutes or until firm in the center. Serve plain or with a lemon sauce. For a more colorful dessert, serve it with a simple boiled custard into which has been stirred a couple of tablespoonfuls of strawberry preserves.
Ok, so you may have noticed that no specific amount is given for the powdered sugar nor is a recipe or directions provided for the boiled custard option. The baking temperature is simply referred to as "slow." This is typical of older recipes. A certain level of skill and culinary knowledge on the part of the reader is assumed. Several decades of mass-produced processed foods have erased the needed information from the banks of common knowledge. So I played around with this recipe and came up with what I find works for me.
I use two tablespoons of powdered sugar mixed with the bananas. I bake the souffle in my toaster oven at 350 degrees F with a small cup of water. I find the smaller cooking area in a toaster oven coupled with the water provides an ideal cooking environment for the souffle. I think the souffle by itself is a bit plain so I do make a boiled custard to serve it with. Sometimes I mix that custard with strawberry preserves as suggested and it does make for a very pretty presentation. The custard also provides a use for the yolks leftover when making the souffle. Here is how I make the custard:
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of Amaretto
Set up a double boiler with hot (but not boiling) water. Place all ingredients into the top of the double boiler and whisk together well. Continue whisking until the custard thickens to the consistency of a thin pudding. Remove from the heat and serve immediately or stir while it cools if you plan on using it later. This will prevent the custard from coagulating.