Miso caramel is as intriguing as it sounds.
Like a twisted stepsister of salted caramel, miso adds an interesting, but round and intense saltiness to caramel which against the smoky cardamom-dusted bananas, brings a warmth that is both lively and mellow at the exact same time. If you can’t get hold of miso paste, you can just add two teaspoons of salt to the caramel in its stead, but I find miso paste to be so readily available in supermarkets these days.
Making the caramel is fascinating because you are totally dependent on sight – it will be too hot to taste, so you have to trust your instinct on how deep and golden you want it to get before removing it from the heat – any longer and it becomes hard toffee so I dare not take my eyes off it, hypnotised by the transformation.
Don’t let this intimidate you though; the payoff for a few moments of undistracted engagement is absolutely worth it.
There are a few steps involved, yes – making the base, making the caramel, whipping the cream, assembling the pie – but none of these are hard tasks. I like to make a coffee, put on a familiar record, and allow myself to wallow in the experience. That’s not saying that you need an entire albums length to pull this together, but if there’s an opportunity for me to potter around the kitchen to a Blondie record while slicing bananas and making caramel, then I’m going to take it.
Cuts into 8 slices
For the case
350g Bourbon or chocolate biscuits
100g unsalted butter
For the caramel
100g unsalted butter
100g soft brown sugar
397g can condensed milk
4 teaspoons soft white miso paste
For the pie
3 large bananas
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
250ml double cream
1 small square of dark chocolate
- For the case, add the biscuits with a pinch of salt to a food processor and blitz to a fine crumb. You can easily do this without a processor by bashing up the biscuits in a Ziplock bag.
- Gently heat the butter in a small pan until it has melted and add to the biscuits. Flip the switch on the processor so that the butter combines with the biscuit dust.
- Press the now damp biscuits into a loose-bottomed 23cm fluted tart tin, using either your hands or the back of a spoon to push the base into the ridges of the tin as best as you can. I use my knuckles here. I love the feeling of the biscuits going from a rubbly mass to a smooth shape, it’s like being a kid in the sandpit. Put the filled case in the fridge to set while you make the caramel.
- For the caramel, melt the butter and soft brown sugar together, stirring as you go. Once the butter is completely melted into the sugar, pour in the condensed milk, stirring until everything combines.
- Bring the mixture to a bit of a savage bubble but don’t be frightened. Keep it bubbling for about 3 minutes, stirring as you go so that it does not stick to the bottom. Stir gently and calmly. Keep it simmering until you can see it turn to a deep, golden colour but more on the light side of brown. After the 3 minutes is up, quickly take it off the heat, allow to cool slightly and then stir the miso paste through.
- Take your pie case out of the fridge, pour the golden caramel miso sauce into the centre of the case and using your hands, shuffle the tart tin around gently so that the sauce slithers right up to the edges of tin. Place it back in the fridge to set.
- You can keep the pie in the fridge until you are ready to serve and when you are, peel and slice the bananas and toss the banana slices in a bowl with a little lemon juice to stop them from browning and place them, slice-by-slice, over the caramel.
- Using your fingers, dust the cardamom over the banana slices.
- Pour the cream into a large bowl and using an electric whisk, whip the cream until it’s thick but not too stiff. Carefully spoon the cream on top of the bananas, using a gentle hand so that you don’t push the bananas all around the caramel. It won’t ruin it if you do, but it feels more pleasing.
- Grate the chocolate with a fine grater over the top of the cream, slice and serve.