I may have gone beyond the pale with this one. If you’ve visited this blog before, you know I love a good hybrid dessert. The recipe for these S’mores Alfajores is just one of many examples. But today’s Banana Split Pavlova Terrine borrows from 4 separate dishes. It’s one part Baked Alaska, one part ice cream terrine, one part pavlova, and of course, one part banana split. It is however entirely nuts. But hopefully, it comes across as nuts in a good way. This is a layered dessert, so it has many moving parts and it does require a little patience. I say this not to intimidate you because each step is actually fairly simple, but I would encourage you to start this dessert at least 3 days before you need it.
This Banana Split Pavlova Terrine starts with a basic pavlova recipe. But instead of forming a volcano-like structure out of the whipped egg whites, I piped them out onto parchment in a rectangular shape. I wanted their dimensions to line up with a 9×5″ loaf pan. If they wind up being a hair too large, you can always shave them down with a serrated knife after they cool. So air on the side of too big when you are piping them.
Making pavlova itself isn’t particularly difficult but it is time-consuming. Once the pavlova layers are baked, you have to turn the oven off and let them sit in there undisturbed for a full hour. And yeah, this step occurs after nearly an hour of baking. Do you see why I want you to get cracking on this dessert long before you need it? But, like many of the steps in this recipe, there is a fair amount of inactive time and almost all of it occurs while the oven is off. Which means you don’t even have to stay close. You can just go live your life while your pavlova layers solidify inside an idle oven.
Next up is the strawberry layer. And yes, this is not your typical banana split. Well, I suppose that’s obvious. But even beyond the format change, I’ve also switched up the cast. A banana split is typically comprised of vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate syrup, strawberry sauce, and pineapple sauce sandwiched between two banana halves and garnished with whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and peanuts.
My version of a banana split takes a little more a Neopolitan approach. My version features strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla ice cream. And the sauces are also a little different. Despite being a fan of fresh pineapple, I’ve never really gone in for the syrupy stuff. So I lost the pineapple sauce and replaced it with a salted caramel and I am very secure in that decision.
So, as I said, this Banana Split Pavlova Terrine starts with a layer of strawberry ice cream. A strawberry sauce and the first layer of pavlova follows the ice cream. At this point, the loaf pan takes a brief nap in the freezer before the next layer is added. This is crucial to ensuring the finished terrine has a layered appearance. So make sure the strawberry layer has really set before adding anything else to the pan.
Once the strawberry layer is set, it’s vanilla’s time to shine. And on top of the vanilla ice cream goes, the pineapple stand-in, salted caramel. With another pavlova layer in place, the loaf pan returns to the freezer before adding the final layer. The final layer is the chocolate layer complete with chocolate ice cream, a DQ-esque fudge layer, and the final piece of pavlova. At this point, the terrine needs a good 8 hours to set up completely.
Once the terrine is completely set, it’s time to unmould it. You can make this easier on yourself by lining your loaf pan with plastic wrap. It will leave creases all over the surface of the ice cream, but that shouldn’t be a problem because we’re going to cover it with toasted Italian meringue. So don’t worry about the aesthetics of the ice cream block.
After messing with so many (too many?) classics, I left the garnishes alone. Yes, peanuts, maraschino cherries, and the tell-tale banana are the only decoration this beast needs. I didn’t add whipped cream, though. It just felt like serious over-kill. The meringue more or less acts as a stand-in for it, anyway.
So that’s everything you need to know about this Banana Split Pavlova Terrine. It takes a lot of chilling time to pull together but this dessert is oh so worth it in the end. Definitely worth every ounce of patience it requires.
Banana Split Pavlova Terrine with Toasted Meringue
- 5×9 loaf pan
- Large baking sheet
- small saucepan
- Stand mixer with a whisk attachment
- Large skillet
- 5 egg whites room temperature
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp cream of tartar
- 3 tbsp cold water
- 1¼ cups superfine sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ pint strawberries hulled and halved
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juiced
Salted Caramel Sauce
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter cut into cubes
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 113g (4oz) dark chocolate chunks or chips
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- 3 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp light corn syrup
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- ⅔ pint strawberry ice cream
- ⅔ pint vanilla ice cream
- ⅔ pint chocolate ice cream
- 3 egg whites room temperature
- ⅛ tsp cream of tartar
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp water
- 1 banana split lengthwise
- 8-10 maraschino cherries
- ½ cup whole peanuts
- fresh mint leaves and blossoms for garnish
For the Pavlova
- Preheat the oven to 250°F.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and trace the underside of the loaf pan onto the paper three times using a pencil. Flip the parchment so the pencil side is facing down and set the baking sheet aside.
- Place the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk on high until medium-stiff peaks form. Reduce the speed to low and stream in the water.
- Slowly add the sugar to the egg whites. Once the sugar is fully integrated, increase the speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form. Fold in the vanilla, lemon juice, and cornstarch until no lumps remain.
- Transfer the pavlova to a large piping bag fitted with a large round tip ** Pipe the pavlova onto the parchment paper so it fills each of the 3 outlines you made.***
- Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the pavlova is lightly golden. Turn the oven off and let the pavlova sit for one hour. Don't open the oven door. Take the pavlova out of the oven and set them aside.
For the Strawberry Sauce
- Place the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and cook until the berries break down and become saucy, about 10 minutes. Take the berries off of the stove and set them aside to cool.
For the Salted Caramel
- Place the sugar in a dry skillet. Place over medium heat and cook until the sugar melts and turns a deep amber color. Remember to swirl the pan occiasionally.
- When sugar reaches the right color, add the butter and whisk it into the sugar. The sugar will bubble violently. Once the butter is integrated, turn off the heat and add the cream. Whisk until well integrated. And finally, whisk in the salt.
- Pour the finished caramel into a heat-proof jar and set it aside to cool.
For the Fudge
- Microwave the chocolate in 30-second increments until melted. Sift in the cocoa and stir until a thick paste forms and no lumps remain. Set aside.
- Pour the sugar, heavy cream, water, corn syrup, and salt into a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and stir until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Take the mixture off of the heat and pour it over the chocolate mixture. Whisk until smooth. Add the butter and continue to whisk until fully integrated.
- Line the loaf pan with plastic wrap with plenty of overhang.
- Soften the strawberry ice cream and using a rubber spatula, scoop it into the bottom of the loaf pan and smooth the top to create an even layer.
- Spoon the strawberry sauce over top, only using only as much as it takes to cover the ice cream. You may or may not use it all. Top the strawberry sauce with a pavlova layer, before covering with plastic wrap and placing the loaf pan in the freezer. Let freeze for 1 hour.
- Repeat these steps with the vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, and the chocolate ice cream and fudge sauce. The last thing you add to the pan should be a pavlova layer. Transfer the loaf pan to the freezer and let freeze for 8 hours or overnight.
- Once the 8 hours have passed, place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add the cream of tartar and whisk on high until medium peaks form.
- While the egg whites are being whisked, place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over high heat. Heat the mixture until it reaches 240°F.
- With the mixer running, slowly stream the hot sugar mixture into the egg whites. Continue to whisk on high until stiff peaks form.
- Remove the ice cream block from the loaf pan using the plastic wrap overhang as handles. Invert the block onto a serving platter so the chocolate layer is on the bottom. Peel off the plastic and cover the block with whipped meringue.
- Toast the meringue with a kitchen torch until golden. Place the banana halves on either side of the loaf and top it with chocolate chunks, peanuts, cherries, and mint leaves and blossoms. Slice and serve immediately.****