The word banshee means female spirit. The banshee, according to Irish folklore, wasn’t just any fairy woman, but one of forecasting doom and gloom. Her wailing was the harbinger of impending doom and bad or evil luck. She was featured in traditional stories as a white-clothed figure. The banshee is now often incorporated into Irish-American ghost stories.
How this delicious Halloween dessert got is evil spirited name, no one knows. It could be that the whiteness of the pears resembles the well-known banshee spirit. It just could be that the scrumptious flavor made the guests wail for more. In either case, the dessert is both elegant and devilish delicious and worthy of a Halloween treat.
6 tbsp. sugar
1 cup water
4 tbsp. peeled and chopped hazelnuts
1 tsp. Poire William liqueur
2 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. lemon juice
1 large ripe mango
1 cup cream, whipped
4 tbsp. butter
6 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. brandy
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1. Caramelized pears: Peel pears and cut into 8 pieces. Place sugar and ½ cup water in a medium saucepan. Heat over a medium fire. Add pears and cook until sugar starts to turn brown. About two to three minutes. Add ½ cup water and liqueur along with the chopped hazelnuts. Stir well and allow cooling to room temperature.
2. Mango fool: In a medium saucepan over a high heat, boil sugar, 2 tbsp. water, and lemon juice until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and allow the sugar water to cool completely. Peel mango and puree in a food processor. Blend sugar water with the mango puree in the food processor. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Fold cold whipped cream into the mango mixture.
3. Brandy snaps: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, melt butter, sugar and honey. Bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and add brandy and flour. Mix well. Place four tablespoon full of mixture onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Smooth out the spoonful shapes with a spatula. Bake for about four to five minutes or until golden brown. Remove and allow cooling. Mold baked brandy snap into a cone.
4. To assemble: Place eight slices of pear along with the caramel sauce and hazelnuts on one side of each plate. Place molded brandy snap on the other side of plate. Fill brandy snap with the mango fool.
Side notes: Once consider exotic, mangos are quite common in Ireland and America. A Poire William can be either a true pear brandy or distilled from pears. The dish is great served with a glass of Muscat wine.