When life gives you too many bananas… you could make either banoffee pie, banana cake, banana bread, banana muffins… ba na na na na na na na…
You could just add chocolate. Now we’re talking!
And who better to turn to than the Master of all things dessert, Pierre Hermé? I’m still waiting for a couple of his cookbooks to swing by my way (damn international shipping!) so for now, while my fruit basket is burgeoning, I looked to Zen Can Cook. It’s a simple looking tart – pastry, banana, chocolate. But oh! The exquisiteness. Out of the oven, it quivers underneath a thin earthy crust that is just barely containing the molten innards. There will be an urge to pillage it with your fork post haste and indeed, I wouldn’t blame you if you gave in to the temptation.
I guess I don’t need to tell you of the paramount pleasure you’ll have if you do choose to go in early and attack the almost lava-like innards as it spills out. Get this recipe right and you’ll be richly rewarded with the smoothest, most silky ganache filling that just coats the tongue and sends you over the edge. The sensation of having warm melty chocolate assault your tastebuds is the height of culinary pleasure. Excuse me, I think I’m having another moment here…
But as if a chocgasm wasn’t enough! This tart is after more fireworks with the glazed bananas that were cooked with pepper and spiced butter. I couldn’t find the habanero pepper in the recipe so I just used a red chilli to spice up the butter (but just a little, I’m pitiful when it comes to spice). And of course, the filling is only as good as the chocolate you use, so be sure to go for the one you love.
By the way, if you wish, you could let this tart rest for a day (or do what I did, enjoy half of it warm and oozy and the other after a day) because that gooey lava filling will firm up upon cooling… as shown in these photos. It doesn’t detract from the taste, but it does make it ‘neater’ to eat. But just imagine the richness of the chocolate with the sweetness of the bananas, which is then followed by the tiniest hit of fire – it’s enough to send you bananas, as in Tom-Cruise-jumping-on-the-couch bananas.
Warm Chocolate and Banana Tart
Adapted from “Desserts by Pierre Hermé” by Dorie Greenspan (via Zen Can Cook). Like him, I chose to use a different (and simpler pastry) that I had ready in the fridge (recipe at the bottom).
For the Raisins and Caramelised Bananas
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 Tbl (45ml) dark rum
3 Tbl (45ml) water
1 ripe banana (I doubled this amount)
Juice of half a lemon
2 Tbl unsalted butter
1/2 habanero pepper, or to taste ( I used a small red chilli)
4 Tbl sugar
a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Combine the raisins, rum and water in a small saucepan and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow them to macerate a few hours.
Slice the bananas and cut them into 1cm thick rounds. Toss them in the lemon juice.
Melt the butter with the habanero pepper/chilli in a large non-stick sauté pan. Remove the pepper when the butter starts to bubble (leave it longer if you like it hot). Add the banana slices to the pan (avoid crowding the pan too much) and sprinkle the sugar over the bananas.
Cook until they’re a nice golden brown and flip them over to caramelise the other side. Add the black pepper. Cook one more minute and transfer them to a plate while you finish cooking the rest.
Fill a blind-baked sweet pastry crust with the macerated raisins and the caramelised bananas (putting aside some slices for decoration if you wish).
For the Chocolate Ganache
140g (5 oz) bittersweet chocolate (around 60% cocoa), finely chopped
113g (4 oz) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
2 Tbl sugar
Melt the chocolate and butter separately in two double boilers / pots. Let them each cool to 40°C (104°F).
In a mixing bowl, gently stir together the egg yolks, egg and sugar but be careful not to beat too much air into the eggs.
When the chocolate is at 40°C, gently stir it into the egg mixture using a rubber spatula in steady, gentle concentric circles. When the chocolate is incorporated repeat with the butter at 40°C. When the mixture is smooth and shiny, pour it into the crust to cover the caramelized bananas and raisins. If there are any bubbles, run a blowtorch over the surface to pop them but don’t let the heat sit for too long as it’ll scorch the chocolate.
Bake the tart at 190°C (375°F) for exactly 11 minutes. It will be still a little jiggly but that’s normal.
The tart will be ready to eat when it’s hot or warm but it’ll be oozy and gooey (well mine was anyway). You could leave it to cool down for a few hours or leave it for a day. The tart filling will firm up. Store it at room temperature but do not refrigerate it.
Adapted from Pastry by Michel Roux
250g plain flour
100g icing sugar
100g unsalted butter, slightly softened and chopped
pinch of salt
In a food processor, pulse flour and sugar until combined and to remove any lumps. Add butter and pulse until it’s crumbly. Add eggs and process until dough just comes together.
Tip it out onto a floured surface and give it a few gentle kneads to bring the dough together. Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Roll out the dough until 3mm thick and lift the pastry onto the rolling pin. Unroll over a loose-bottom tart tin and lightly press the pastry into the tin. Trim off the excess pastry by rolling the pin over the edges. Roll a ball of excess pastry and press into the sides to lift up the edges slightly above the tin. Prick the bottom with a fork to release trapped air and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 190°C. Line the tart with foil or crumpled up baking paper and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake for around 15-20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 180°C and remove the paper and weights. Bake for a further 5 minutes until the tart is lightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside.