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Ivan Marquez’s Chocolate and Banana Crémeux

Article Courtesy of Dandelion Chocolate

"Ivan Marquez, head pastry chef at PRESS Restaurant in St. Helena is a new believer after being introduced to the new Dandelion chocolate chips. Aesthetically, he loves how the chocolate chips remind him of Maldon salt flakes. Ivan was inspired by the chocolate chips from Ecuador. They had tons of banana, malt, nutmeg—even Szechuan peppercorn notes."

by Ivan Marquez

Makes 1 - 1 1/2 quarts

To Make Banana Cream
1 ripe banana (preferably very ripe/slightly overripe)
2 cups heavy cream

Cut the banana (peel included) into large dice and infuse in heavy cream overnight. Strain and keep 2 cups to make the cremeux.

To Make Banana Custard Infused Crémeux
2 cups banana cream
 2 cups milk
 2 vanilla beans, sliced lengthwise and scraped, saving only the seeds
 10 large egg yolks
 ½ cup sugar
 2 sheets gold leaf gelatin (3/4 tbsp powdered gelatin may be substituted)
 14 ounces Costa Esmeraldas large chips (or Maya Mountain works too)
 12 cloves of black garlic
 As needed, Costa Esmeraldas cocoa nibs
 Figs or mulberries
 Maldon salt to finish

1. Bloom your gelatin in two cups of water with ice for 5 minutes. 

2. Place the chocolate chips in a glass bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals until completely melted. 

3. In a saucepan, combine your milk, banana cream, and vanilla-bean seeds and bring to a scald. 

4. In another bowl, whisk your sugar and yolks together. Temper your yolks by ladling half the hot milks and whisking at the same time to avoid curdling. Add everything back into the saucepan and heat to 186° Fahrenheit. Strain this resulting banana custard through a fine-mesh strainer and save 4 cups. 

5. Add your gelatin, mix well, and let custard cool in an ice bath. 

6. Using an immersion blender, mix the banana custard, black garlic, and melted chocolate until thoroughly combined. Lay plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and wait 24 hours before using.  

7. At home, Ivan likes to pipe the crémeux into a bowl. For a bit of crunch he sprinkles on Dandelion Chocolate cocoa nibs (also from Costa Esmeraldas, Ecuador to keep to the theme!), and tops with sliced figs or darker fruits like mulberries. Of course, because the chocolate chips remind him of Maldon salt flakes, he finishes his dish with a light dusting of the salt on top.

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