I know, I know… this celebratory cake is not a traditional Peruvian dessert, and doesn’t have any native Peruvian ingredients, (although we do produce the best organic cacao in the Amazon jungle!), but it´s so divine that I want to share it with all of you as an addition to our first eBook: 6 Christmas Treats, so you get the chance to make it and impress your friends and family these holidays. The recipe was given to me by my good friend and wonderful pastry chef, Daniel Punchin, who created this beauty for my gourmet magazine a few years ago. I´m making it myself this year, because it´s not only delicious but also drop dead gorgeous and festive on the table. Your guests will love it.
When I lived in Peru, we used to celebrate Christmas with a huge dinner on the night of the 24th. This was the time to exchange gifts with everyone, and the little ones stayed up late waiting to catch a glimpse of Santa Claus, or Papa Noel. Before dinner, they had fun playing around and lighting up some firecrackers, while the grown ups drank cocktails and chatted away in the kitchen and living room. Turkey was always prepared, and in fact still is what most people in Peru have for Christmas dinner, although lots of people are now changing to pork, because they find it more flavorful. For many families, tamales are essential, as well as hot chocolate and panetón.
After dinner, the most devout people go to church for Misa de Gallo. This is a lovely opportunity for families to share a beautiful mass, with choirs singing Christmas carols. Let me tell you, there is something extremely unique and charming about going to church at midnight, even if going to mass is not your thing. Then, of course, for many families Christmas means party!!!
The 25th, the beaches of Lima are crowded from the early morning until sunset (since the summer is shining bright in South America at this time of year), as well as all the city’s parks, zoos, and every other outdoor place. You can see kids running and playing with their new toys, taking a plunge in the very cold water of the Pacific Ocean, and enjoying this day -maybe the first of the beach season-, while their parents relax with the sounds of the water against the stones. As you can see, our Christmas in Peru is a little different from the one I’m celebrating this year in the Northern hemisphere.
However, I will do what I always have: make special food that everyone will remember for the rest of the new year. I hope you like this dessert as much as I do. And for more Christmas recipes download our first eBook:6 Christmas Treats . Here you will find 6 recipes for side dishes, some sweets, and a cocktail. Have fun and be jolly!! Merry Christmas, everyone!!
- 5 eggs
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- Dash of salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup cocoa
- ½ cup ground almonds
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 bananas, peeled and sliced
- ¼ cup Rum
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 3 cups heavy cream, lightly whipped (the cream has to be very cold when you whip it. When it's ready it should look like thick yogurt)
- Mint leaves
- Red ribbon
- Heat oven to 350ºF
- In the mixer, whip eggs and sugar at high speed until they double in volume.
- Add and fold the flour, salt, baking powder, cocoa and almonds. Spread in a baking sheet covered with silpat or parchment paper.
- Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and cool in a rack.
- In a saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat, until melted, and add the brown sugar.
- Add banana slices, and cook until lightly golden.
- Add the Rum, stir, turn off the heat, and cool.
- In a heavy saucepan, heat the sugar without stirring, over medium-high heat, until melted and lightly golden. Add butter and 1 cup heavy cream. Be careful because it can boil over. Turn off the heat.
- Add the chocolate and let rest for 10 minutes. Stir very gently until completely combined.
- Add and fold the lightly whipped cream. Keep in the fridge.
- TO ASSEMBLE:
- Line the bottom and sides of a 9 inch round pan or ring with the biscuit.
- Add the cooked bananas.
- Add the mousse. Freeze for 3 -4 hours.
- Unmold over a nice plate, and garnish with red fruits (strawberries, raspberries)
- Wrap a festive red ribbon around the cake.
- You can make the dessert ahead of time and keep it in the freezer without the decoration. I recommend eating it all in the moment, but you can store it one night in the fridge.