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Upside down banana tart May 19, 2010

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Fruit, Sweet things.
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Bananas are not generally an ingredient I associate with dessert. I like bananas – I eat a lot of them – but the only dessert that usually springs to mind is banana bread, which I only turn to when I have too many overripe bananas lying around. Apparently Fritz and Nero Wolfe don’t think of them for dessert either – there are no recipes in The Nero Wolfe Cookbook with banana as the main ingredient.

Intrigued by the thought of using banana as a dessert ingredient, I turned to the internet to find a suitable recipe. I finally settled on this one, for an upside down banana tart.

To start with, I made a batch of Stephanie’s shortcrust pastry which I added a little sugar to. I put it in the fridge while I continued with the rest of the recipe.

I started by making the sauce / caramel that bound everything together. In a frying pan, I melted butter, then added brown sugar, a cinnamon stick and pieces of lemon zest. H brewed me up some strong coffee, and I added that as well. I stirred the mixture to help it mix together and continued to stir intermittently until it boiled.

After it boiled, I reduced the heat until the mixture began to thicken. At this point I removed the cinnamon stick and lemon zest, and added some vanilla extract. Once this was all mixed together, I added the bananas.

The recipe called for 6 bananas, but I chopped up 3 large-ish bananas into medium sized rounds, and this seemed to be a sufficient amount. I put them into the frying pan and moved them around with the spoon to get them coated in the sugar/coffee mixture.

After they were all coated, I removed the dough out of the fridge and rolled it out to the size of the frying pan. I carefully laid it over the top of the banana/caramel mixture and smoothed it down as best I could. As you can see the sauce leaked out over the top of the pastry a bit, but I did get it all sealed over the top.

I put the frying pan into the oven for about 25 minutes. Incidentally, it is important to remember to use an oven-proof pan or dish for this recipe! After the 25 minutes were up, I removed the frying pan and let it cool for 15 minutes. After this time, I used a spatula to separate the sides of the pastry from the pan, and flipped the tart out onto a plate. I was concerned that in the flipping, pastry or bananas would be lost, but thankfully this was not the case.

This was a very nice dessert. The pastry was light and flaky, and even crunchy in places. The bananas had cooked, but not enough to lose their shape and a bit of firmness, and they were still distinguishable from the caramel – this made a nice change from things like banana bread where I think that often the bananas get lost in the rest of the mix. The caramel was delicious with the citrus from the lemon coming through particularly, and the addition of the coffee meant it was not overly sweet.

I think that maybe Nero Wolfe never thought to use bananas because he never tried a recipe like this. I’d heartily recommend this recipe to Wolfe or anyone else who is interested in trying something a little different with this ingredient – just try not to go bananas while doing so…

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