During a visit to my favourite grocer on the planet, The Lettuce Shop, I was offered a box of bananas. I don’t eat bananas raw, something about the texture doesn’t quite sit well with me. But when The Lettuce Shop owner threw in “do you bake with bananas?” I couldn’t get those babies in my car quick enough.
First stop: banana tarte Tatin. The obvious but somewhat safe choice would have been banana bread, but I’ve been there and although it is delicious fresh out the oven smothered in butter, I am always eager to try baking something new.
I have previously made a pear tarte Tatin, which was superb. With a banana filling, this caramelised little treat really works. I have made it twice in a week. Well I couldn’t let all those bananas go to waste now, could I?
Ingredients (serves 8):
5-6 ripe bananas, peeled, sliced in half and sliced down the middle
100g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter
1 cinnamon stick
2 sheets of puff pastry
Preheat oven to 200oC.
Scatter sugar over the base of a 20cm cast-iron ovenproof frying pan and place on medium heat. Add butter. Swirl sugar with a wooden spoon to ensure it caramelises evenly. Caramel will start to form as sugar turns to a toffee colour.
Add cinnamon stick and lay banana pieces in pan to cook in the caramel sauce. The sauce will bubble but won’t burn, swirl sauce in the pan occasionally. Allow sauce to simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Once bananas have caramelised to a nice golden colour and sauce has thickened, remove pan from heat.
Cut pastry sheets to make a circle slightly bigger than the pan. Once caramel has slightly cooled, position bananas in the pan in a decorative pattern, flat sides down so that when you invert the tart the inside of the bananas will be exposed. Do not use your fingers to move the bananas around, caramelised sugar is hot! Drape pastry sheet over the top of the pan, covering the bananas. Gently tuck the edges of the pastry down the inside of the pan and under the bananas, I use a big plastic spoon to ensure the pastry tucks right under. Repeat with second sheet of pastry.
Pierce the pastry a few times with a fork, then place pan in oven and bake for approx. 30 minutes.
Once pastry is golden in colour and cooked to crisp, flaky, puffy perfection, remove pan from oven and gently invert tart onto a serving plate. Be very careful as not only will your pan be hot, so will the caramel sauce.
Once plated, add a dollop of ice cream and devour. You can thank me later.