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Banana Tarte Tatin

October 19, 2009

For a moment, I felt a connection, a meeting of minds: a simultaneous spark of culinary creativity. It is not often that I have a connection with Michelle Roux Jnr, but on the possibility of banana tarte tatin, I felt our minds might have met. “Yeah, I’d order that from a menu, that’s just the sort of food I like.” My mind raced. A crescent sweep of sticky, caramelised banana, cradled in a yieldingly short pastry and served with a hazelnut cream? I think that could work. I think that could be amazing.

But, perhaps inevitably (this was on Masterchef, after all) the end product was a little underwhelming – a raw half banana, draped in puff pastry and baked by a ‘chef’ who clearly didn’t know his tarte from his elbow. I was not impressed, and Michelle wasn’t either – but his vision was a little different, hoping for a circular tart of sliced banana, not quite what I was thinking. A meeting of minds? Perhaps not.

But what does Roux Jnr know? The idea of a hot, curvaceous tart curling around a scoop of ice cream is just too good an image to let go. And so, in The Daydream Kitchen, I am assembling the thing. The banana, peeled and sliced lengthways, is caramalised in a frying pan with salted butter and brown sugar, the sticky liquor basted over the cooking fruit, seeping inside, rotting the five-a-day virtues with gluttonous goodness. Rolled thinly and cut to size, the pastry is draped over, and the whole pan transferred to the oven to cook, before being flipped and served with ice cream.

What else would work with this? Perhaps some whisky with the banana, or a rum and raisin ice cream, or a walnut pastry?

That’s what I’ve been thinking about this week.

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