Banana caramel panna cotta:
11/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cold water
21/2 tablespoons powdered unflavored gelatin (3 envelopes)
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
1 banana, diced
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
Spiced banana foam:
3 tablespoons cold water
1 scant teaspoon powdered gelatin
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup half-and-half
1 banana, diced into 1/2" cubes
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground star anise
1 cinnamon stick
One 1" wide strip orange peel
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces extra-bitter chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup whole milk
1. Make banana caramel panna cotta: Place cold water in a bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top. Allow gelatin to soften for at least 3 minutes.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water. Stir to combine and cook over high heat until sugar caramelizes to a deep amber color, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately add banana, cream, milk and remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Return to heat and bring back to a boil to melt any remaining lumps of caramel. When caramel is smooth, remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain into a bowl. Whisk in gelatin until fully dissolved.
3. Place bowl inside a larger bowl filled halfway with ice water and let stand, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Mixture should be cool but not gelatinous. Pour 1/2 cup mixture into each of twelve 6-ounce martini or wine glasses. Refrigerate until panna cotta has set, at least 4 hours.
4. Make spiced banana foam: Place water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top. Let stand for at least 3 minutes. In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except heavy cream. Place over medium heat until mixture begins to simmer. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes, then strain into a bowl. Whisk gelatin/water mixture into hot milk mixture until gelatin is dissolved. Place bowl in a larger bowl filled halfway with ice water for 10 minutes or until mixture is cold. Remove from ice bath and whisk in heavy cream. Pour cold mixture into whipped cream dispenser and set aside.
5. Make chocolate sauce: Melt chocolate according to directions. In a small saucepan, combine corn syrup, half of cream, sugar, and vegetable oil. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then whisk hot liquid into chocolate until chocolate is melted. Whisk in milk and remaining cream. Sauce should measure 21/4 cups. Pour sauce into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
6. To serve: Warm chocolate sauce and pour a thin layer over panna cotta. Carefully dispense foam over chocolate sauce according to manufacturer's directions. Sprinkle a touch of ground cinnamon on top of foam and serve.
Park Avenue Cafe, 100 East 63rd Street, New York, NY, 10021; 212-644-1900; www.parkavenue.com.
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