Thursday, June 14, 2012

Banana Cream Tart(lettes)

Sooo, I had some pastry cream in the fridge that I had made earlier in the week to go with a cake we make at the bakery called a Basque Cake (if you’ve never tried it before, seriously come in to the bakery and get one because they are amazing). I was trying to figure out what I could do with the left over pastry cream I had, when we made some banana cream tartlets this week at the bakery. My mom and I arranged to have dinner with a family friend tonight, so I thought it’d be a perfect time to make a dessert tart with the cream I had. So here’s a really easy banana cream pie/tart that is delicious and extremely simple. You can spice it up by experimenting with the topping- pipe the whipped cream in a design, use multiple kinds of chocolate for the shavings on top-whatever you feel like.

For the tart shell I used the pate sucrée recipe in the Miette cookbook (a great book filled with pretty simple yet classic recipes), a straightforward pastry dough that uses a stand mixer. You can make this dough in advance, and have it ready a few days before you need it, or even save it for up to 2 months in the freezer. Here it is:

3 1/3 cups all purpose flour (17 oz)
¼ cup sugar (2 oz)
½ tsp salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 egg yolks
4 to 8 tbsp heavy cream

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with the paddle attachment on low for 30 seconds. Then add the butter and beat until it resembles corn meal, about 5 minutes.

In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 2 tbsp of cream. Add to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. If your mixture isn’t wet enough to incorporate all the flour bits, add more cream until it’s all together. Gather into a ball, pat into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

After the dough has chilled, divide it into the portion you need for your tart(s)—I made one 9 inch tart, but this recipe makes about a pound of dough, which should be enough for two 7 inch tarts or ten 3 ½ inch tarts). Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a ¼ inch thick disk. You want it to be about an inch greater in diameter than you are using for your tart shell. Place the dough over the shell, and carefully press the dough into the “corners” to ensure that it is snugly inside. Then use a knife or your fingers to gently trim off the excess dough around the edges. Poke the bottom of the shell with a fork several times, and put the whole thing in the freezer for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To ensure that the shell doesn’t puff up while baking, you can use pie weights (I used dry rice, beans work too) to keep it down. Put a piece of parchment over the shell, and pour in your weights up to the brim. Then press down into the corners of the shell to make sure that the weight is distributed well. To fully bake the shell (for pies/tarts that have precooked fillings, or fillings that do not require baking), bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. The edges will brown before the inner part, so make sure to check underneath the parchment when looking for doneness.

Let cook on a wire rack. I had a pan with a removable bottom, so once it was cool enough, I unmolded the shell before filling it, and placed it on a lovely pink plate. You can leave it in the tart shell if you’d like as well. 

Then, I just layered the tart shell with an easy chocolate-y cream (semi-sweet chocolate chips partially melted in the microwave, with a small amount of hot heavy cream mixed in).

I stuck a layer of caramel sauce (which we make at the bakery, but I just used some bottled caramel we had at my house for sake of time) over the chocolate layer. 

Then you put down a single layer of sliced bananas, and quickly cover them in a generous layer of pastry cream <I made the recipe we use at the bakery, but you can use any pastry cream you'd like...just make sure it has lots of vanilla in it! Vanilla's the best! Here's a good recipe in case you can't find one>. Then, you cover that in a mounding layer whipped cream. 

Top it off with shaved chocolate (or whatever topping you fancy!). I used a Microplane chocolate shaver with 62% Scharffen Berger chocolate, but at the bakery we just use a giant chef's knife, on a hunk of dark chocolate, and that works just as well. 

Easy, but very decadent and delicious! :) 

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