One of my food philosophies is that if I buy an unusual ingredient, I want to find lots of ways to make use of it. I hate waste so when I bought myself some freeze dried banana powder, I got brainstorming and started testing what it works well in. The first creation was my Banana & Custard Donuts – now they are worthy of the purchase of the powder alone!
Once I’d worked out that the best way to get the flavour of the banana through was to only very lightly cook it (as per the custard) or stir it in to fillings or frostings to get that delicious banana flavour coming through. As I contemplated no-bake uses for it, an old fashioned dessert popped into mind and my Banoffee Macarons were born.
Banoffee Pie is one of the ways I enjoyed bananas in my sweet treats as it simply involves layering up ripe and sliced bananas with dulce de leche, whipped cream and shaved chocolate on a biscuit base. No icky mushy banana texture here! Turning this classic pie into macarons was really easy and the best part for me is that the macaron shells seem to bake even better, for the inclusion of the freeze dried fruit powder – I think the extra moisture it brings produces a chewier macaron, as opposed to a splintery flakey one, which I think is a very good thing.
The thing is that the flavour doesn’t come through very strongly in the shell after baking so to make sure you can taste it in the finished macaron, I simply beat it into my dulce de leche. Don’t forget that I’ve put my method for making dulce de leche in the Instant Pot up on the blog too. As the banana powder I buy is 100% pure banana, dried and ground down, for every 10g you add to a recipe, you’ve getting 100g of the fresh fruit concentrated flavour.
As filling macarons with whipped cream runs the risk of making them soggy quite rapidly, plus it not being the most stable of fillers I thought a good substitute would be to pipe a simple vanilla buttercream around the edge of one shell then pipe a blob of banana flavoured dulce de leche into the centre.
Once sandwiched together with another shell, rolling the edge in a crumbled up Cadbury’s Flake – boom! The essence of Banoffee Pie repackaged as a macaron! Of course, I can’t stop myself from piping out some banana shaped macarons and piping on some chocolate to give them the definitive markings of a ‘nana. Super cute but a bit more fiddly so don’t feel this is essential!When a classic no bake dessert meets patisserie, you get Banoffee Macarons! Click To Tweet
I’ve written about making macarons a lot now and there are loads of tips in my other posts – find them all here. But a couple of pieces of kit make it a lot easier to take the guess work out of making these tricky little (delicious) buggers! And here they are:
- Either silicone macaron mats (like these from Iced Jems) or reusable silicone baking sheets like these Bake-o-Glide ones give more consistent results as some baking parchment may cause them to stick
- A reliable, accurate thermometer is an investment I really encourage anyone who wants to do sugar work, confectionary or even just check their Sunday roast is cooked to perfection! Thermapens deliver big time here, I wouldn’t be without one
- Strong, large disposable piping bags. These ones from Lakeland – the Get-a-Grip bags – are brilliant and one large roll of them lasts even me for maybe a year!
Banana flavoured macaron shells filled with banana dulce de leche, vanilla buttercream and rolled in crushed chocolate flakes. Turn a classic dessert into patisserie you can definitely make yourself at home!
- 144 g egg whites (I use pasteurised egg whites in a carton or defrost egg whites I've previously frozen)
- 20 g freeze dried banana powder
- 180 g ground almonds
- 180 g icing sugar
- 180 g caster sugar
- 45 g cold water
- 1/2 tsp Sugarflair Egg Yolk Yellow gel food colouring
- 4 tbsp dulce de leche
- 2 tbsp freeze dried banana powder
- 130 g soft butter
- 250 g icing sugar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla powder or use the seeds from one pod of vanilla
- 2 Cadbury's Flakes
Bring the egg whites to room temp before you begin and put 72g in a large mixing bowl and 72g in the bowl of a stand mixer. It's one of those recipes which is much easier (and safer giving you're working with boiling syrup) to use a stand mixer, not a handheld mixer.
Blitz the ground almonds and icing sugar in a food processor for 90 seconds then stop the machine, stir it well to break down any clumps and give it another 60 second blitz.
Mix the banana powder and egg whites together in the mixing bowl then sift over the mix of nuts and icing sugar. Mix well with a spatula to a very thick and sticky paste. Set aside whilst you make the Italian meringue.
Weigh your caster sugar and water into a small, heavy based saucepan and get the thermometer ready. Turn the heat onto medium-high and swirl to combine the sugar and water.
Start whisking the egg whites in your stand mixer on medium high and let it run until stiff peaks form. You may need to start the whisking off by hand or tip the stand mixer up to get the eggs to catch as there is such a small amount - obviously the second option could be a tad risky so beware!
Bring the sugar syrup to the boil, with the thermometer immersed in the sugar until you reach a temp of 118˚C. Stir in the food colouring with a spatula or metal spoon. Turn the stand mixer back on and steadily pour the syrup onto the egg whites in a thin stream avoiding the whisk and the side of the bowl or it will solidify and form little shards of sugar. The egg whites will really increase in volume at this stage. Once all of the syrup has been poured onto the egg whites, leave the mixer running until the outside of the bowl has cooled. It will take several minutes.
Scrape the Italian meringue into the bowl of banana-almond paste. Use a firm motion with your flexible spatula to mix the meringue into the paste and stop as soon as there are no streaks left.
Use your spatula to draw a line through the mixture and start counting to 30 - the line should have disappeared in that time. If not, give it 3-5 more firm turns and try again. Be cautious but as long as you're not beating away for a minute or more at a time, you won't over mix it.
Fill a large piping bag with the macaron mixture, cut an opening 7-8mm across the tip and pipe out onto your prepared trays. Holding the bag vertically and keeping it still works very well - aim for about 2.5-3cm across and space at 1-2 inches apart (if using a silicone macaron mat, stop 2 mm short of the rim to allow for spreading; note that these make quite small macs so you may get closer to 50 out of this mixture). A properly mixed mac mixture will smooth down and lose any nipple effect after standing for 30 seconds. If it doesn’t, it need a few more turns to mix it. (You can pipe a little bit of the mixture before filling the bag with the full amount to be sure but once you've made them a few times, you'll get a *feel* for the proper texture and won't need to bother).
Tap the trays of macarons onto the counter top to knock any excess air out up to 3 times - just don’t be too heavy handed! Leave for at least 30 minutes before baking somewhere cool until a skin forms on the outside. Preheat the oven to 160˚C WITH THE FAN ON. It just works better than an ordinary oven. And I can't recommend using an in-oven thermometer highly enough, do not rely on the dial on your oven!
Cook one tray full at a time for 12 minutes - open the door and test by pushing the macaron a little (very gently) on the top - it should not move. If it wobbles, cook another 2 minutes and test again.
Now to be certain they are cooked, leave each tray to cool for 5 minutes then try to lift one of the central macs straight off the tray - if it doesn’t come off cleanly, pop it back in the oven for a few more minutes. Cook the remaining trayfuls in the same manner and leave on the trays until completely cold before removing them and filling.
Make the buttercream by beating the sift butter, icing sugar and vanilla together until soft and fluffy. A top tip is to use a little cooled boiled water if the buttercream is too thick - just make sure not to add more than a tsp at a time. Scrape into a piping bag and set aside for now.
Beat the dulce de leche and banana powder for the filling together until well mixed and scrape into another piping bag. When ready to sandwich, pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge of one shell then pipe a blob of the dulce de leche into the centre. Sandwich together with a second shell.
Crush the Flakes with your fingers into a shallow bowl and roll the macarons in to pick up little flakes around the edge. Macarons are best left over night somewhere cool before eating to allow the shells to absorb a little moisture from the fillings.
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Get your freeze dried banana powder here 😀