My mom and dad got me an awesome tart tatin pan for my birthday this year and I couldn’t wait to use it. I had a recipe from Martha Stewart saved on my phone for the longest time and hadn’t gotten around to making it, but when I received this pan in the mail and looked at my five mysteriously mushy bananas on my counter, I knew what had to be done. Okay, so the mysteriously mushy bananas – I bought a perfectly yellow, no bruise bunch that were on the top of the pile, and a day later, I went to cut up one for Olive and they felt like bags full of jelly. ALL OF THEM. Still perfectly yellow, still no bruises, but all mush. What in the world?! I thought maybe since I’d put them beside tomatoes, that maybe the gasses from the tomatoes instantly ripened the bananas? So a day later, I bought another bunch and put one banana with the tomatoes and the rest far away from them and the banana that was with the tomatoes was fine. So, the mystery remains. Maybe they were on the bottom of the truck since they were on the top of the pile!
Despite their mushy texture, the bananas worked out perfectly for this recipe and I was glad to be able to use them. The French love their tart tatins. They basically do it with every fruit in season. And my theory is that the French use fancy terms to make ordinary dishes sound fancy. Like tartines. Tartines are various toppings on toast. That’s it. Some might call it bruschetta, some call it toast. It’s all the same. Or how about this tart tatin? Yeah, it’s an upside down cake/tart. They typically use puff pastry instead of cake batter, so the result is a crispy, almost turnover texture with caramelized fruit on the top. It’s a wonderful way to use up old fruit and to do something really simple in a hurry for guests. And you should always keep frozen puff pastry on hand. It’s a freezer staple for me. You can use it in so many ways from topping little strips with shredded cheese or sausage or peppers for an instant appetizer to using it as a base for a cobbler, strawberry shortcake or whatever you can dream up!
Bananas Foster Tart Tatin*
- All-purpose flour, for work surface
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 5 large ripe bananas, peeled, halved lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons dark rum
- 1 cup creme fraiche, for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured work surface to a 13 1/2-inch square. Using a large skillet as a guide, cut out a 12-inch round. Transfer pastry round to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Make three 1/2-inch slits in center of round; set pastry aside at room temperature.
Melt butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cook, swirling skillet occasionally, until mixture turns medium amber, about 3 minutes.
Arrange bananas in skillet, overlapping slightly. Cook, without stirring, 3 minutes. Drizzle vanilla and rum over bananas, and cook until most of the rum has evaporated and liquid has thickened, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Place pastry round on top of bananas, and transfer to oven. Bake until pastry is golden brown and puffed, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and carefully invert the tart onto a serving plate. Whisk creme fraiche until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Serve dessert warm or at room temperature with the creme fraiche.
*I didn’t adapt this Martha Stewart recipe at all, except that my tatin pan was 9″ instead of the 12 the recipe calls for. I didn’t have too many bananas – it worked out perfectly.