Besides coffee, bananas are staples in my diet. Like clockwork, my body craves cinnamon oatmeal topped with sliced bananas. I can’t stop it; it’s like my body goes on autopilot. They make a fine couple with peanut butter; in fact, I remember munching on peanut butter and bananas while I was kid. Some would call me monkey, and I’d happily agree. My appetite for bananas was practically inherited as bananas wee a main staple in my mom’s childhood. Other tropical fruits like mangoes, papayas, and pineapple along with bananas are her favorites so it is no surprise that I grew up loving them as well.
However, bananas are fickle creatures. Soft, sometimes mushy. Sweet, almost to the point of too sweet. I have a couple of friends who run at the sight of a banana. “Too mushy and too sweet,” they claim. Their reactions baffle me as bananas play a healthy role in the everyday-diet. Full of potassium and fiber, runners rely on bananas to give them a good boost before a run.
But I am not here to talk about the healthy banana. I doubt my doctor would be proud to hear that after making this banana walnut tart, I almost devoured the entire pan. That would probably not make me her patient of the year. Although I dare her to look this tart in the eye and not fall in love with it.
Perfectly baked pie crust with layers of sweet pastry cream and sliced bananas. To make it even more sweet (and who doesn’t like that), fresh whipped cream is piled high, making the tart seem heavenly and ethereal. When I grabbed it from the fridge, I smiled in satisfaction. Now this was a dessert meant to impress many, unlike that other cake that from here on out will NEVER be mentioned again. After that disaster, I was doubting my kitchen skills and feeling a little insecure about myself. However, once I tasted this tart, I knew my mojo had come back to me. (Ok, I am slightly delusional but I swear it felt like a kitchen curse was upon me!)
Anyways, this tart is good for those who want to make a treat ahead of time as all the components can be made the day before and assembled hours before served. I made the tart dough and pastry cream two days before serving, and saved the whipped cream for last. The tart dough was extremely easy and barely required any patching. Ken Haedrich surely knows his stuff and I think his recipes produce the tastiest of tarts. They are easy, not touch-sensitive, and don’t fall apart upon baking. My limited experience with tart dough has been from playing with recipes from Dorie Greenspan, Martha Stewart, and Nick Malgeiri but I can tell Ken Haedrich knows his stuff. Plus, the recipes I’ve made from him (Lemon Curd Pie, Pumpkin Praline Pie) are my Slow Like Honey favorites.
Many love those sky-high Banana Cream pies served at local diners, and I admit, I drool when I see them too. But halfway through my slice, my stomach starts to rebel and I am left with major digestive issues. Instead of going the original pie route, I decided to make it a less-heavy tart. You can finish a whole slice without wanting to curl up in the fetal position and die. In fact, if you eat a big brunch and eat a slice of this tart as your mid-afternoon snack, I bet you would have enough room for a second slice right before bedtime. You know, I just imagine that would be possible. It’s not like I have done that before… right…
Crazy about bananas? Try these recipes:
Date and Banana Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce via Butter Sugar Flour
Caramel Walnut Upside Down Banana Cake via Smitten Kitchen
Banana Chocolate Chunk Ice Crem via Love and Olive Oil
Yeasted Banana Bread Waffles via Seven Spoons
Double Chocolate Banana Espresso Muffins via Chocolate Shavings
Banana Cream Tart
Origin: “Pie” by Ken Haedrich
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 5 hours
● 1 recipe all-butter crust, baked and cooled
● 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
● 1/3 cup cornstarch
● 1/8 tsp salt
● 3 cups whole milk
● 3 large egg yolks
● 3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
● 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
● 1 cup heavy whipping cream
● 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
● 3 medium ripe bananas
Prepare the crust, and let cool as directed.
Once crust is cooled, cut 1 banana into quarters lengthwise and place on top of the crust.
Combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium-size heavy saucepan. Whisk in the milk and egg yolks. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring more or less continuously until the mixture thickens and bubbles, 5 to 7 minutes, Continue to cook, whisking continuously for about 1 minute, Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and butter, one piece at a time.
Pour the filling into chilled pie shell, smoothing the top. Gently press a piece of plastic wrap against the filling to help keep a skin from forming. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight.
When you are ready to finish assembling the pie, make the topping. Using a chilled medium-size bowl and chilled beaters, beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer until it won’t quite hold soft peaks. Add the confectioners’ sugar and continue to beat until it is stiff but not grainy. Smear a thin layer of the topping over the filling, using no more than half of it. Cut the rest of the bananas into quarters lengthwise, then cut them crosswise into small chunks, letting them fall over the pie. Arrange the chunks in a more or less single layer, then mound the remaining topping over the top. You can also pipe on the topping using a pastry bag.
Refrigerate until ready to serve, preferably not longer than an hour. There is no need to cover the pie for an hour but beyond that, cover with loosely tented aluminum foil