Chef's Recipes

Banana parfait

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for banana parfait by Tonka restaurant in Melbourne.

By Gemma Calleja
  • 2 hrs preparation
  • 55 mins cooking plus cooling, freezing
  • Serves 10
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Banana parfait
"This is one of the more contemporary desserts on the Tonka menu," says pastry chef Gemma Calleja. "It's like the ultimate banana split." At Tonka, the parfait is frozen in half-sphere moulds, but you can use any mould with a similar capacity. Begin this recipe a day ahead to freeze the parfait.


  • 50 gm brown sugar
  • 10 ml dark rum
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 120 gm overripe banana (about 2 small), coarsely chopped
  • 150 ml pouring cream
  • 1 titanium-strength gelatine leaf, softened in cold water for 3-5 minutes
  • 170 gm caster sugar
  • 90 gm egg yolks (about 5)
  • 375 ml thickened cream, whisked to soft peaks (1½ cups)
  • 1 tbsp roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • To serve: baby sorrel leaves (optional)
Chocolate mousse
  • 55 gm caster sugar (¼ cup)
  • 125 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 250 ml pouring cream, whisked to soft peaks (1 cup)
Cocoa crumb
  • 50 gm butter, softened
  • 35 gm caster sugar
  • 20 gm eggwhite (about 1/3 of 1 eggwhite)
  • 55 gm Dutch-process cocoa, sieved
Caramel popcorn
  • 20 ml sunflower oil
  • 1½ tbsp popping corn
  • 100 gm caster sugar
Salted caramel
  • 125 gm caster sugar
  • 60 gm chilled butter, coarsely chopped
  • 5 gm sea salt
  • 200 ml thickened cream, warmed


  • 1
    Stir brown sugar, rum, lime juice, star anise and cinnamon quill in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add banana and cook until softened (3-5 minutes), then discard cinnamon and star anise. Add pouring cream and stir to combine and warm through. Squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to banana mixture, stir to combine, then add teaspoon sea salt. Transfer to a blender and process until smooth, then set aside.
  • 2
    Stir caster sugar and 60ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil and cook until mixture reaches 120C on a sugar thermometer (4-6 minutes). Meanwhile, whisk yolks in an electric mixer until pale (3-4 minutes), then gradually add sugar syrup and whisk on medium speed until cooled to room temperature (4-5 minutes). Fold in banana mixture, then whipped cream and peanuts. Spoon into 125ml-capacity moulds, smooth tops and freeze overnight.
  • 3
    For chocolate mousse, stir sugar and 2 tbsp water in a small saucepan over medium-high until sugar dissolves, bring to the boil then transfer to a bowl to cool completely. Melt chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Set aside. Whisk yolks and sugar syrup in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until thick and pale (6-8 minutes). Working quickly and whisking continuously, pour chocolate into the egg mixture in a steady stream until almost combined. Whisk in a small amount of whipped cream to stabilise the mixture, then fold in the remaining cream in thirds. Refrigerate until firm (2-3 hours). Makes about 500ml (mousse will keep refrigerated for 1 week).
  • 4
    For cocoa crumb, cream butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Scrape down sides, then add eggwhite a little at a time until combined. Add cocoa in thirds until dough comes together. Roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper to 2mm thick and chill for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 175C. Peel off top layer of paper, and bake on a tray until firm and starting to darken at the edges (10-15 minutes). Cool, then break into pieces and pulse in a food processor to form fine crumbs. Store in an airtight container until required.
  • 5
    For caramel popcorn, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add popping corn, reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and shake regularly until corn pops (3-4 minutes), then set aside. Combine sugar with 30ml water in a large saucepan over low heat and swirl to combine. Cook without stirring, swirling pan occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until light caramel in colour (3-4 minutes), then remove from heat. Add popcorn in 3 batches, stirring to coat well. Spoon onto a lightly oiled tray and stand until hardened (3-5 minutes). Break into coarse pieces and store in an airtight container until required.
  • 6
    For salted caramel, stir sugar and 50ml water in a saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves, then increase heat to high and cook until it’s a dark caramel colour (4-5 minutes). Whisk in butter a little at a time (take care, hot caramel will spit), add salt, then slowly whisk in cream. Reduce heat to low, simmer until slightly thickened (5 minutes), then cool and refrigerate until required.
  • 7
    To serve, dip banana parfait moulds in a bowl of hot water for 2 seconds (take care not to get any water in the parfait), slip a blunt knife down the inside of each mould to release the parfait, then turn out onto serving plates. Place 2 small quenelles of chocolate mousse by the parfait on mounds of cocoa crumbs and salted caramel and scatter with caramel popcorn, roasted peanuts and baby sorrel.


Drink Suggestion: Henriques & Henriques ‘Bual’ 10-year-old Madeira. Drink suggestion by Travis Howe