Maida Heatter says:
"Run----don't walk---- to the kitchen to make this."
Well...what more is there to say? Maida is my dessert guru and I have all her books; if she says it's awesome, I'm making it. The results? If you're looking to impress, this terrine will do it. Extremely rum-laden, which I love, but confess I amazed myself by actually cutting back on the amount. It was suggested 3/4 cup dark rum altogether and I reduced it somewhat, reflected in this recipe. It was still pretty strong, but perfectly balanced and delicious.
Yes, it takes a little time, but you can do it the day before, a big plus. If you are familiar with Maida's desserts, you know her instructions are detailed and lengthy. I have trimmed them down as best I can, but if you don't have access to this particular book and need more information, email me and I'll email you her exact instructions (which actually took up 4 pages in the book!).
I remember I used to find those soft ladyfingers easily, but no more. Just by chance, I went to the bakery section and asked...sure enough, they had them in their freezer. You have to use the soft ones, the hard cookie/biscuit ones just don't give the results you want. That cake-like border is imperative here. (I've added a photo of the soft ones at the bottom.)
Banana Rum Terrine
From Maida Heatter's Best Dessert Book Ever
Ingredients for the terrine:
2 large bananas
soft ladyfingers, about 3 packages, 6-9 ounces (I found them frozen in the fresh bakery section of my market)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup plus another 1/3 cup dark rum (such as Myer's)
5 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream.
Prepare a loaf pan, about 10 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 3/4, by lining the sides neatly with tin foil. I cut the short side to fit, then cut one narrow one for the long side. I turned the loaf pan upside down and fitted them over the bottom, one at a time, then flipped over the pan and dropped them in.
Place the two bananas in the refrigerator.
Cut one end of the ladyfingers so they stand flat against the sides and line both sides of the loaf pan (do not line the two short ends), with rounded side against the foil. Then line the bottom with ladyfingers, rounded side down. Set aside. Take remaining ladyfingers and crumble them, stick them in a low oven to crisp them up. You will use them later.
Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let stand a few minutes. Then mix in 1/4 cup of the rum, reserving the rest. Let stand for 5 minutes, then place in a pan of hot water and stir until melted. Set aside, keep warm.
In the top of a double boiler, off the heat, beat the yolks for a few minutes. Slowly add the sugar and beat on high. Put the pan back over the hot water and beat for another 3 minutes while it thickens. Immediately transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat in the warm gelatin mixture, the remaining 1/3 cup rum, the salt and the vanilla. Let stand.
In a chilled bowl, with chilled beaters, beat the whipping cream until it holds its shape, but is not stiff. Set aside.
Place the bowl with the egg mixture into an ice bath and stir until it thickens somewhat, about 10 minutes. Remove from the ice bath, but don't throw the ice bath out. Slowly add to the whipped cream and carefully fold until blended.
Take the bananas from the fridge, peel and slice them into 1/2 inch pieces and add to the mixture. Place it back in the ice bath and stir carefully until it thickens a bit more so the bananas won't sink.
Pour the chilled mixture into the loaf pan, smooth the top. My mixture came nearly to the top of the ladyfingers. Sprinkle with the reserved ladyfinger crumbs. This will help prevent sticking later when you slice.
Refrigerate until firm, several hours or overnight, covered.
If the mousse does not come up to the top of the ladyfingers, trim them so it's even. Cover the terrine with a long serving plate and turn it over. Remove the foil.
Ingredients for the topping:
1/2 cup apricot preserves
a teaspoon of water
Method for the topping
Heat the preserves with the water and strain. Brush the top of the terrine with the preserves and set aside.
Slice the remaining bananas sharply on the diagonal, about 1/4 inch thick, make them as long as possible. Overlap them on top of the terrine and finish off with more apricot preserves, which will prevent the bananas from turning brown. Refrigerate again until ready to serve.
To serve: Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.
The soft ladyfingers: