Chestnut Blinis with Ricotta Flan and Caramelized Bananas

By • April 7, 2012 • 0 Comments

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Author Notes: Recently, my family was lucky enough to spend spring break in Italy. My sister and her fiance live there, so we went to visit them and meet his family. During our stay, we took a day trip to the Tuscan hill town of Arezzo, a beautiful, magical place, and while there, we chose, at random, a small restaurant and wine bar at which to eat lunch.
For my starter, I opted for the Ricotta Tortina with Chestnut Honey, and it was THE culinary highlight of the trip. I immediately pleaded with the chef to please share the recipe with me. He kindly obliged, and I've been noodling on it and amassing ingredients ever since.
His torta was served in a pastry shell which was scrumptious but not quite breakfast-friendly: I don't know about y'all, but I'm not going to make a pastry shell at 8 in the morning with two little boys running around me. :)
But a delicate pancake, small like a silver dollar or blini? Indeed!
I also loved the idea of a brown sugar-rum soaked banana as a nod to breakfast done right, and they were the perfect finishing touch. I knew my husband and I would enjoy these, but when my 3 year old begged for more, I felt I'd met with real success.
Buon appetito!

I adapted my blini recipe from a crepe recipe on epicurious.
Disclaimer: caramelized bananas don't photograph terribly well. ;)
em-i-lis

Serves 4

For the chestnut blinis

  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup + 2 T chestnut flour
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Combine all ingredients, whisk well to incorporate, cover and chill for 20-30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375.

For the ricotta flan and caramelized bananas

  • 1.1 pounds (1/2 kilo) fresh ricotta; I make Jennifer Perillo's and drain it well
  • 2 egg whites, whisked vigorously
  • 1 teaspoon chestnut honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • couple grinds of black pepper
  • butter and flour for greasing the ramekins
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoon dark rum
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, egg whites, chestnut honey, salt and pepper, and stir to combine well. Set aside and butter and flour 4 Pyrex ramekins. Divide ricotta batter evenly among the 4 prepared ramekins, put in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until the flan tops are turning golden and the flan looks set. It might still wobble a bit but will have a firm top. Remove from oven and set aside. They might sink a bit. No worries.
  2. In the meantime, melt the 1 T butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and rum; when the sugar has dissolved, add the banana rounds, and cook 3-4 minutes, until the fruit is starting to look a bit translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Set a griddle over medium-high heat and brush lightly with butter or non-stick spray. Remove blini batter from fridge. When the griddle is hot but not smoking, pour out small rounds (~2 T) of batter. Pay attention as bubbles rise and the bottoms brown. Flip once and cook until just cooked through. Transfer completed blinis to a plate and keep warm.
  4. Divide the blinis equally among 4 plates. Over each mess of blinis, invert a ramekin so that the flan tumbles out and sits atop. Garnish each plate with banana rounds and drizzle with chestnut honey. Serve immediately.
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