To confine your use of miso to just soup would be to miss out on a multitude of exciting gastronomic opportunities – one of the best of which would have to be the miso butterscotch that goes with Jikoni’s famous banana cake. This dessert has such a cult following that certain die-harders will call ahead to make sure we have a portion saved for them.
The banana cake is based on the idea of a sticky toffee pudding, although it is much less dense. Then there’s that dizzyingly luxurious miso butterscotch with its compelling mix of sweet and salty flavours. To top it all off, we have the ‘nostalgia in a bowl’ of Ovaltine kulfi, a condensed-milk ice cream that has an almost chewy texture. And if that wasn’t enough to make you fall in love with this dessert, making it is a piece of cake!
Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 6 hours chilling
Cook time: 1 hour
Photography: Kristin Perers
Food Styling: Joss Herb & Lizzie Kamenetzky, assisted by Hattie Arnold
Prop styling: Tabitha Hawkins
1 tbsp black tea leaves 200ml boiling water
200g pitted dates
110g unsalted butter
350g dark muscovado sugar
1 tbsp treacle
1 tbsp date syrup
400g self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
200g peeled bananas
For the kulfi
450g condensed milk 300ml double cream
For the butterscotch
500ml double cream
175g demerara sugar
175g unsalted butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
60g white miso
The kulfi will take at least 6 hours to set, so make it ahead of time. In a large bowl, mix the Ovaltine into the condensed milk until there are no lumps. In a separate bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks, then fold it into the condensed milk mixture. Pour the kulfi into a tub and freeze until set. It really is as simple as that!
Preheat the oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C/Gas Mark 5. Line a 24cm square cake tin with baking parchment.
Put the tea leaves in a heatproof jug or bowl, pour over the boiling water and allow to infuse for a minute. Strain the tea, discarding the tea leaves, then soak the dates in the hot tea for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Stir in the treacle and date syrup, followed by the flour, and mix well. Mix the eggs in one at a time.
Tip the soaked dates and tea into a blender or food processor, along with the vanilla extract, and blitz to a puree. Add the bicarbonate of soda and pulse briefly, then add to the bowl and mix thoroughly.
Wipe out the blender, add the bananas and blend until smooth, then add to the cake batter and stir in well. Pour into the tin and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Meanwhile, to make the butterscotch, put the cream in a saucepan over low heat. Add the sugar, butter and golden syrup and whisk until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted. Finally whisk in the miso, then remove from the heat.
Turn the cake out on to a wire rack and leave to cool a little.
To serve, cut into 12 portions, then serve warm with the hot miso butterscotch and the Ovaltine kulfi.
Ravinder writes as beautifully and eloquently as she speaks, telling stories of people, places and identity through food. Her own history and cultural background comes through in each recipe and the bold flavours she brings together. Recipe taken from Jikoni: Proudly Inauthentic Recipes from an Immigrant Kitchen by Ravinder Bhogal (£26, Bloomsbury). Photography © Kristin Perers.