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Caramel Torte with "Milk Punch" Sauce and Caramelized Bananas
Adapted from Bob Kinkead
Published April 2004

Yield: Ten 3-inch individual tortes

Milk Punch Sauce (recipe follows)
Caramelized Bananas (recipe follows)

Shortbread

1/2 pound butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 ounces brown sugar
3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 pound all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Cheesecake layer

1 pound cream cheese
4 ounces sugar
1 Tablespoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup lime juice
3 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup heavy cream

Caramel Bavarian

1/4 pound bar sugar
3 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
4 sheets gelatin

For the shortbread, cream butter and two kinds of sugar and the vanilla extract. Add the flour and salt and mix until everything just comes together. Do not over mix. Press onto paper-lined circular molds and bake in a 325°F oven for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cut into 3-inch circles. Return to oven for about 7 minutes or until brown.

For the cheesecake, bring cream cheese to room temperature. Cream with sugar until fluffy. Add lime juice, heavy cream, sour cream and vanilla. Mix at low speed. Mix eggs separately and fold into cheese mixture with a spatula until smooth. Line a sheet pan with parchment and pour in mixture. Bake in a water bath at 300°F for 20 minutes. Cool and then freeze. Cut 3-inch circles and chill.

For the Caramel Bavarian, bloom gelatin leaves in cold water. Drain. Caramelize 3 ounces of sugar until quite dark. Pour in 2 cups of the heavy cream and cook on low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Whisk in remaining sugar and off the heat whisk in the yolks. Return to the heat and cook 5 more minutes. Add gelatin and mix well. Drain through a fine sieve and into a clean stainless bowl over an ice bath. Whip the remaining heavy cream to soft peaks and fold into the Bavarian mixture.

Line twenty 3-inch diameter by 2-inch molds with plastic wrap and place on a sheet pan. Place cookie crust circle on the bottom. Top with cheesecake circles and smooth cheesecake so that no space is between cake and liner (to hold Bavarian). Top with the Caramel Bavarian mixture and chill. Smooth out all bubbles with a blowtorch (optional).

To serve, remove from the molds (can be done in advance when completely chilled and set). Serve with Milk Punch Sauce and Caramelized Bananas (see recipes). Layer.

Caramelized Bananas

Yield: 10 bananas

1/4 stick unsalted butter
10 baby Caribbean bananas (or regular ones)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 lime
1/2 orange

In a sauté pan over high heat, add the butter and when melted add the sugar. When dissolved add the bananas. Do not crowd. Turn frequently until the bananas are quite brown and caramelized. Squeeze the lime and orange over them. Keep warm.

"Milk Punch" Sauce

Yield: 2 cups

4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
2 ounces brandy

In a stainless steel bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until lemon-colored. In a saucepan add the milk, heavy cream, 1 ounce of the brandy and vanilla beans and seeds and bring to a boil. Pour the boiling mixture over the yolks and whisk continuously.

Return the mixture to the saucepan and heat until it coats a spatula. Do not boil! Pass through a very fine chinois or cheesecloth. Add the remaining brandy and refrigerate.

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