befriending the banana, the story continues

banana tart tatin with vanilla icecream

Earlier this year I was foolish enough to begin and publicly announce on this very site, a quest to overcome my last remaining food dislike: the banana. And while I am still a long way from considering myself a banana fan, I have been making inroads into the land of monkey food since my last encounter with a super moist banana cake.

Armed with the knowledge gleaned from Jeffrey Steingarten’s amusing article entitled ‘The man who ate everything’ I have been increasing my banana exposure. According to Steingarten, you only need to eat something ten times to rid yourself of a dislike. An open mind doesn’t go astray either. My snow bunny sister, Batgirl is a prime example of this. Like me she’s never been a banana fan, but she does eat them from time to time to increase her potassium, intake. She swears that over the years she’s consumed well in excess of the magical number ten, but still she doesn’t enjoy the experience. Then again, I don’t think she considers herself a pilgrim on the path to banana nirvana.

Tart Tatin has been on my mind of late, particularly since viewing the gorgeous looking traditional apple version on the cover of a recent issue of Donna Hay magazine. So it was no stroke of brilliance that led me to come up with the idea of a banana upside down tart when I was looking for something to ease myself further along the path to banana enlightenment. Apart from being easy on the eye, this tart had me wolfing down the sweet caramelly baked bananas like I was their biggest fan. So you could call it a minor triumph.

To be honest though, I did feel like I was cheating a little. I mean pretty much everything tastes good when drowned in butter, golden syrup and cinnamon atop a bed of delicately flaky pastry. So the next morning I took things a step further. A breakfast of sliced banana topped with natural yoghurt was the plan. And while I did almost enjoy it, I do have to confess that I weakened at the last minute and added a drizzle of my good friend golden syrup. Let’s just call it a work in progress….all good things….

A simple bistro classics dinner*
roast little chickens with watercress & lemon
celeriac salad
roast banana tart tatin with vanilla icecream

* Note: To find the stonesoup recipes for the menu items not included in this article, click on the links in the menu.

roast banana tart tatin
serves 4 – 6

I’m not normally a fan of store bought puff pastry as it always seems to look prettier than it tastes but I read something recently that said the trick to puff pastry was to cook it until you thought it was done and then put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes. After giving this a go, the results were encouraging but there was still a bit of that gluey texture on the parts closest to the fruit. So time permitting, I’d still opt to make my own.

Golden syrup has been on high rotate in my kitchen at the moment. It has a lovely caramel flavour that is more intense and less floral than honey. If you can’t get your hands on some golden syrup feel free to substitute in either maple syrup, honey, or even brown sugar.

If you prefer a more traditional round tart, feel free to cut the bananas into rounds instead and use these over the base of a round tart dish (not one with a removable base) or an oven-proof frying pan.

70g unsalted butter
170g (1/2C) golden syrup
4 bananas, peeled & halved lengthwise
1t ground cinnamon
1 – 2 sheets frozen pre-rolled butter puff pastry
vanilla icecream, to serve

Preheat oven to 220C. Place butter and golden syrup in a rectangular baking dish large enough to hold the banana halves in a single layer. Bake for 2-3mins or until butter has melted. Place banana halves cut side down in a single layer to cover the base of the dish and bake 10mins.

While the bananas are baking remove the pastry from the freezer and allow to thaw. Cut pastry to a rectangle 1-2cm larger than the base of the dish and cover bananas, tucking in the edges at the sides. Bake for 20-25mins or until pastry is well cooked keeping in mind the note above about cooking times. Allow to stand for 2mins then turn out onto a plate or baking tray and serve hot or warm with a generous scoop of icecream. Feel free to make the tart ahead of time and reheat just before serving.

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