ACTIVE TIME: 1 hour 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 bananas
- Sugar, for coating
- Ice cream, for serving
Combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small, heavy saucepan and place over high heat. Do not stir the mixture or agitate the pan at this stage. Lay out three large sheets of parchment paper and set aside.
When the mixture reaches 230ºF on a digital instant-read thermometer, reduce the heat to medium, and allow the sugar to color gradually. As the temperature approaches 300ºF, the color will start to turn to amber. At this point, it's safe to swirl the pan gently to help distribute the heat evenly. As the caramel heads towards 340ºF, it will reach a deep amber color.
Remove the pan from the heat and slowly stir with a metal spoon, allowing it to cool until the caramel falls from the spoon in a solid stream, like a string. When it does, it's doodad (caramel candy swirl) time.
Form doodads by holding the spoon 12 to 16 inches over the caramel and drizzling patterns onto a large piece of parchment paper. (Hint: allow the spoon to unload into the pan for a few seconds before attempting a doodad. This will allow a narrower stream.) Quick back and forth motions or side to side movements are best. It's all in the wrist. Allow doodads to cool for 15 minutes, then peel the paper off (not the other way around). Stack in an airtight container with wax paper between each piece.
After making 15 to 20 doodads, you should have sufficient caramel remaining to move on to the sauce phase. Return the remaining caramel to medium-high heat and continue cooking until you see the first sign of smoke. Immediately remove from the heat and add the cream, all at once, at arm's length. (It will boil furiously.) Once the mixture calms down, return to medium heat, and boil 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool to room temperature, move to a squirt bottle, and refrigerate for up to a week.
Pour sugar onto a plate or 9-inch pie pan. With the peel on, quarter the bananas and rub into sugar to coat thoroughly. Remove peel and place on a wire rack set over several layers of foil. (Don't try this on your dining room table.) Don your safety goggles and fire up your torch. Hold the torch so that the very tip of the flame barely touches the banana, and move quickly back and forth until the sugar melts, turns brown, and bubbles. As soon as it looks like caramel, move on. You know you've got it down when a solid, glasslike sheet of gold (no graininess) has formed on the banana.
To do the split (so to speak), squirt a pattern of caramel sauce on a chilled plate, top with 4 banana pieces (Lincoln log-style), a scoop of ice cream, and a doodad.