i made this tarte tatin a few weeks ago, and looking back at the pictures, i can’t decide if it looked gross or amazing. a tarte tatin is a traditional french dessert made with apples that are caramelized on the stove and then topped with puff pastry and finished in the oven, so that the final product can be flipped over to reveal a beautiful caramel-covered tart. this version, from the smitten kitchen cookbook, uses bananas instead of apples and has some added liquor (i had bourbon in my pantry, but ideally it would be scotch) in the caramel to give it a nice butterscotch-y flavor.
the smell of this tart baking in my oven was unreal – i can’t really put it into words, but just imagine bananas, caramel, and lots and lots of butter all rolled up into one explosion of delight for the senses. it smelled so good, i wasn’t sure the taste could actually live up to my expectations, but it totally did. the bananas were soft and a little bit gooey, swimming in a sticky, sweet, vanilla and bourbon-flavored caramel. all sitting on top of a flaky, buttery puff pastry crust. at first glance, this may not have been the most visually appealing dessert i’ve ever made – in the cookbook, deb actually suggests that you slice the bananas in half length-wise instead of cutting them into rounds the way i did, which might have resulted in a slightly better look. but regardless of the appearance, the taste was amazing enough to have everybody sold after the first bite.
gooey caramel-covered bananas, cooked to perfection and sitting atop a flakey puff pastry crust.
- 1 sheet of puff pastry dough, thawed but cold
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 5 large ripe (not over-ripe) bananas, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon bourbon or scotch
- preheat the oven to 400ºf. roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface and trim it down to a 9-inch circle. put it in the fridge for now.
- in a 9-inch cast iron skillet*, melt the butter over medium-high heat. add the sugar and salt and cook the mixture, swirling occasionally, until it is medium amber, about 3 minutes.
- arrange the bananas in the skillet with the caramel. let them cook without stirring for 3 minutes, then drizzle the vanilla and alcohol over them. let them cook until the liquid has thickened a bit, about 2 minutes.
- remove the skillet from the heat and take the puff pastry circle out of the fridge. lay the pastry on top of the bananas and put the skillet in the oven. bake for about 25 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden.
- carefully flip the tart onto a serving plate and serve warm.