Baked Sunday Mornings: Banana Mousse Parfaits

It's a strange feeling -- after the Baked Sunday Mornings group has been posting about a recipe every single Sunday during the last nine months (so that we could finish up Baked Elements at the same time that we got a start on Baked Elements) -- now to go back to posting only every other week. I feel like a slacker. The fact that this week's recipe for Banana Mousse Parfaits is so easy makes me feel even lazier!

The Baked boys emphasize how quick this recipe is, claiming that it can be put together in about five minutes -- but that's just for the mousse itself, and not the finished parfait. It is true that making the banana mousse only takes about five minutes -- you simply blend bananas, milk, sugar, and vanilla, and then fold in whipped cream beaten to soft peaks. But once you make the mousse, you're still at least four hours away from enjoying a parfait.

First, there is the two hours of chilling time required for the mousse before you even assemble the parfaits. And even after you put together the parfaits -- by layering chopped brownies, mousse, bananas, granola, more mousse, and more brownies -- there is another two hours of chilling time before you can serve them. (Not to mention that the recipe assumes you have some brownies just sitting around. I made the parfaits twice, once with salted fudge brownies and once with hazelnut-brown butter brownies; either way, baking the brownies obviously required additional time for mixing, baking, cooling, and slicing).

The parfaits are supposed to be topped with simple chocolate syrup and whiskey whipped cream. The first time I made these parfaits, I also made the chocolate syrup (it's a boiled mixture of cocoa powder, water, and sugar, with salt added at the end), but I think I accidentally over-reduced it. It crusted over as it cooled and it was a gritty, ugly, inedible mess. I didn't want to fool around with the recipe again, and since I was using salted fudge brownies in the parfait, I decided to use the Baked sweet and salty caramel sauce instead. It's the same salty caramel that goes into the Baked Sweet and Salty Brownie and Sweet and Salty Cake, and it was a huge hit when I served it with the Antique Caramel Cake. I ended up skipping the whiskey whipped cream because I was serving these at a party and I just got too overwhelmed with other prep work to handle this last-minute task.

These parfaits were delicious and enthusiastically received by all of my tasters. The banana mousse is smooth and lightly sweet, and the overall mix of textures and flavors from all of the different parfait components add up to a very interesting and satisfying treat. While I'm sure the parfaits would be great with chocolate sauce, the salted caramel sauce was perfect. It just so happened that the granola I had in the house was Bear Naked banana nut, so the granola provided some extra banana flavor, as well as big chunks of almonds and walnuts. My husband Tom got a gluten-free parfait with peanut meringues instead of brownies, and gluten-free granola.

There was only one problem to note with the banana mousse. Both times I made it, I made it a day in advance. And both times, after chilling overnight, a layer of brown liquid (essentially banana juice) had separated out from the mousse. The stuff at the top of bowl the was perfect, fluffy mousse -- I just had to be careful not to dig down to the bottom of the bowl and the liquid when I was scooping out the mousse to assemble the parfaits. Also, I tried a leftover parfait that had been left in the fridge for a few hours, and the granola was all soggy. So I suppose timing is key here.

As suggested in the recipe, I also tried the mousse frozen. It has a wonderful sweet banana flavor, although the texture was a bit icy (but perhaps I should have been more patient and allowed it to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before digging in). My two youngest tasters (6-year old Alexander and his 3-year old brother Liam) both devoured their parfaits (although Alexander's didn't contain any brownie, given that he doesn't like chocolate) but they both expressed a preference for the frozen mousse over the regular mousse. I think you can't go wrong with either version.

Recipe: "Banana Mousse Parfaits" from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

Previous Post: "Baked Sunday Mornings: Simple Blueberry Parfaits," July 15, 2012.


Anonymous said…
Your parfait looks amazing!
Susan said…
Wow - these look and sound great! I love the combination of flavors you used.

I agree - I felt like a slacker, too! LOL!
Chelly said…
They look really yummy! And yea...I felt like a slacker too....haha!
Great looking parfait!!! I love that you used the salted caramel sauce. That would have been heavenly.
Bourbonnatrix said…
I really like being back to the once every two weeks schedule... hoping to bake a bit more with the group! your parfait looks delicious! great post!