Friday, October 8, 2010

Banana Tarte Tatin

Well, this was a bit of a mess.  I bought puff pastry a few weeks back for some BBQ recipe that I'll never make, so Mike suggested a dessert instead.  And who am I to turn down a request for dessert.  I had just been looking through the dessert chapter in Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution cookbook and saw a yummy looking recipe for Banana Tarte Tatin which looks ridiculously easy.  So where did I go wrong?

Have I mentioned that I like to play fast and loose with measurements?  Well I also do with ingredients.  I'm still working on getting my well-stocked pantry together, and I simply don't have any "superfine" sugar.  Okay, I didn't even know what it was until this recipe went awry and I looked it up.  Anyways, I also used organic sugar which is (at least from Trader Joe's) very coarse.  So I melted my butter and added the sugar.  There was nothing to really cook since it was a thick paste.  Not much caramelizing going on here.  So I added more butter.  A lot more.  Another 1/4 cups worth more.  Now we've got something to cook, so I cooked it.  And cooked it.  And cooked it.  And the sugar just didn't want to dissolve.

Okay.  Mike suggested just to go ahead with the recipe since plenty of time in the oven would certainly result in dissolved sugar.  It also took considerably longer, um, almost an hour for the puff pastry to bake through.  It came out nicely (I left the turning out bit up to Mike), but it wasn't the somewhat healthy confection I had hoped for.  I added some whipped cream (probably totally unnecessary by this point), and hoo boy was it sweet.  My teeth hurt just thinking about it.   Liam loved it, and then was bouncing off the walls for the next hour.  Perhaps not wise to serve 15 minutes before bedtime.  It was fairly tasty, but not enough so considering how many calories it was, what with the extra butter I added. 

I'm going to try this recipe again (I have another sheet of puff pastry in the freezer), but with pears and will use different sugar, at the very least just regular granulated sugar, as well as cutting the sugar and butter a bit rather than adding more.  Ah well, they can't all be winners.

Jamie Oliver's Banana Tarte Tatin

1/4 cup unsalted butter

 3/4 cup superfine sugar
4 large bananas
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 orange
plain flour, for dusting
1 sheet puff pastry
optional: crème fraîche
optional: vanilla ice cream and a few tablespoons of desiccated coconut

To make your caramel bananas
• Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4
• Cut your butter into cubes and put into a sturdy deep-sided baking tray approximately 19 x 30cm
• Place the tray on a low heat, let the butter melt, then add the sugar and stir constantly until completely combined
• Continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until the sugar has all dissolved and the mixture is golden and caramelized. By the time this happens the mixture will be roasting hot so be very careful and whatever you do, DON’T be tempted to put your fingers in the mixture as you’ll give yourself a nasty burn
• Meanwhile, peel the bananas, halve them lengthways, and lay them carefully on top of the golden caramel
• Remove from the heat, then sprinkle over the cinnamon and finely grate over the zest of half your orange

To make your pastry topping
• Dust a clean work surface and rolling pin with flour
• Rather than putting your pastry down flat and rolling it out, place it on its side (see the picture opposite) and roll it from there, as this will give you a lighter, crisper texture
• Roll it out until you have a rectangle shape about the same size as your tray and about
0.5cm thick
• Drape your pastry over your rolling pin and carefully lay it on the baking tray, gently tucking it around the bananas to make sure they’re well covered, with no gaps
• Using a knife or fork, prick the pastry a few times
• Place the tray at the top of the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden

To serve your tarte tatin
• When your tarte tatin is ready you must turn it out at once or it will end up sticking to the baking tray. Again, you want to be very careful and make sure you don’t burn yourself on that hot caramel mixture
• To turn the tarte out, cover your hand with a folded tea towel, carefully hold the tray with a serving plate or board on top and gently turn it over
• Using the tip of a knife, pull a corner of the pastry up to check if it’s all cooked underneath (if not, pop it back into the oven for another couple of minutes), then ease the whole thing out of the tray
• If using crème fraîche, put it into a bowl, grate over the rest of your orange zest and stir well
• If using vanilla ice cream, sprinkle a few tablespoons of desiccated coconut on a plate and quickly roll a scoop of ice cream in it until coated
• Serve your tarte tatin with a dollop of crème fraîche or coated ice cream and eat immediately!

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