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Chocolate Banana Torte with Toasted Warm Banana Almond Crunch
Makes 10-12 servings
This recipe has a Southwestern twist to it with the use of the ancho chile powder, which adds a little smoky heat to the almonds on top of the torte.
- For the Pastry Cream:
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped of seeds
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large beaten egg yolks, room temperature
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- For the Torte:
- 1 package sugar cookie mix
- 1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
- 1 large egg
- 1 stick butter or margarine, melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup banana nectar
- For the "Warm" Banana Almonds and Assembly:
- 3/4 cup banana nectar
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 2 to 3 ripe bananas, thinly sliced
- For the Whipped Cream:
- 1 cup heavy cream, well chilled
- 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- For the Garnish:
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, shaved or chopped
- 1/4 cup dried banana chips, crushed
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
For the Pastry Cream: Whisk the milk, heavy cream, cornstarch and vanilla bean, including seeds in a medium saucepan; bring to a low simmer. Whisk in the sugar and remove the vanilla bean shell.
Add the egg yolks to a medium bowl and slowly add in some of the cream mixture to bring the yolks up to temperature. Drizzle the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan of cream and continue whisking for one minute or until thickened. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until melted and well blended.
Spoon cream into a dish, cover with plastic wrap, with wrap touching top of cream and refrigerate until cold or about 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
For the Torte:
Add the sugar cookie mix, chopped almonds, egg, melted butter or margarine and the banana nectar to a medium bowl; mix well.
Spray bottom and sides of a 10-inch spring form pan with non stick cooking spray; spread cookie mixture evenly into pan. Place pan in oven and bake for 12 minutes or until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely before removing from pan
For the "Warm" Banana Almonds and Assembly:
Add the banana nectar and brown sugar to a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Continue simmering until the mixture is reduced by three-fourths. Whisk in the ancho chile powder then coat the slivered almonds. Allow almonds to steep in the reduced banana nectar until they cool to room temperature; strain the almonds and lay out on a parchment lined baking sheet to dry.
To assemble the torte, carefully split the cookie in half lengthwise and place bottom half on a serving plate. Spread the chocolate pastry cream over the bottom half of the torte; place sliced banana over pastry cream then cover with the top.
For the Whipped Cream: In a medium mixing bowl, add the heavy cream and whip until it thickens slightly then sprinkle in the confectioner’s sugar and almond extract. Continue to whip until mixture forms stiff peaks.
For the Garnish: Spoon cream into a piping bag with a large tip and decoratively pipe onto top of the torte. Scatter shaved chocolate, crushed banana chips and the almonds over the top; dust with the cocoa.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Cheryl P., NC. All rights reserved.
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