“What does it mean for something to be a dessert?” asks Jean-Paul El Tom, chef and co-owner of Baba’s Place. “People sometimes say it’s high in sugar, [but] many savory dishes contain a lot of sugar. If you start trying to find the boundaries of what a dessert means, it becomes much more difficult and a pointless activity.
Although El Tom’s toastie recipe is rich, sweet and creamy, it’s definitely more than just a dessert. The combination of smoky bananas cooked over charcoal, creamy mascarpone and crispy Biscoff spread works just as well for breakfast as any sweet danish or croissant (or, as he puts it, “have a food of type dessert for breakfast is not uncommon”).
Charcoal is very present in the kitchen of Baba’s Place and it is the secret of El Tom. If you’ve eaten Baba’s smoked banana sundae, you’ll have an idea of what to expect here with the banana cooked over charcoal.
The key is to start with a very ripe banana, otherwise it will become firm and rubbery when cooked. Before placing the banana on the fire, poke a few holes in the skin “otherwise it will split and you will have burnt banana pieces,” says El Tom. “As soon as it starts to sag, it’s gone too far.” The result is a smooth, creamy banana infused with a subtle smoke. If you don’t have a charcoal grill, El Tom recommends a cake rack over an open flame like a gas burner.
The other key is the Biscoff spread. A spreadable version of Belgian cookies, the caramelized jar cookie has become a real obsession for El Tom. “I’ve eaten a lot of Biscoff lately,” he says. “Me and my girlfriend Georgia have spent many nights drinking too much Biscoff. I can honestly say that I like it more than Nutella right now, which is a big statement.
The last step is the one that puts the toast in a toastie, but you’ll have to be careful how far you push it when you add the sandwich to the pan. “When you’re grilling it, you don’t want to press on it,” says El Tom. “Let it heat gently, crisp the bread without pressing it down too much.” You’re aiming for a golden, crispy loaf that balances out the creamy texture of the filling.
To serve, El Tom recommends a little whipped cream as an accompaniment. “I love whipped cream. You don’t need it, but why not?
Banana, mascarpone and biscoff toastie
Yield: 1 serving
Preparation time: 2 minutes + 5 minutes cooling
Cooking time: 10 minutes
1 ripe banana, unpeeled
60g Biscoff crispy spread
2 slices of Abbott’s Bakery light rye
Butter at room temperature
whipped cream (optional)
Poke a few holes in the banana peel. Grill on a charcoal grill over high heat or on a cake rack over a gas burner (enough to blister the skin, but still holds firm and doesn’t sag).
Once cooled, peel the banana and mash it with the mascarpone.
Apply the Biscoff spread on each slice of bread. Top one side with the banana mascarpone mixture and finish the sandwich by placing the other slice spread over the filling. Butter each outer side of the bread (not too much or it won’t dry out and become crispy).
Grill in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown and crispy like toast.
Serve with whipped cream if desired.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Abbott’s Bakery.