Friday, June 24, 2011

Banana Brown Butter Frangipane Tart

Every now and then I get fixated on doing some sort of banana dessert because I love the flavor of bananas and they are always available just about everywhere. Since most of us have grown up eating bananas and they are so familiar to us, banana pastries and desserts nearly always please everyone whether it’s a cake, tea bread, pie or an ice cream dessert like the ever delicious Bananas Foster.

This tart begins with a basic pate sucrée pastry dough from Dorie Greenspan. It’s crumbly and buttery and a good vehicle for everything else. Frangipane is an almond cream that is ordinarily made by combining ground almonds, butter, sugar and egg. It bakes into a delicious pastry with a nutty cakey texture. I’ve perked this frangipane mixture up with great results by first browning the butter and adding a little bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest and rum. It goes well with ripe bananas that get baked into a crazy deliciousness. The finished tart is an indelible rendezvous of crispy crumbly tart shell, light and flavorful nutty filling and gooey bananas all conspiring to make it nearly impossible to have just a little bite.

Next time you have some bananas that are at their peak, nestle them into this delicious tart. I'm betting friends and family will be grateful you did.

Bench notes:
- The recipe below is for a 9” round tart. If you’d like to make a 14” x 4” rectangle tart as shown in these photos, use the ingredient proportions noted at the end of the recipe.
- If you prefer a sweeter filling, increase the sugar to 1/2 cup.
- You can make the filling and store overnight in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Bananas should be ripe but firm.
- If you don’t like rolling out tart dough, you can press the dough into the tart pan as soon as it is mixed. Press it evenly but gently across the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Use enough pressure so that the pieces adhere but the dough still retains its crumbly texture. Place in the freezer for a couple of hours before baking.
- For a good illustration of how to brown butter, see the guidance at Simply Recipes. Use a stainless steel pan so you can watch the butter carefully as it doesn't take very long to brown this small amount and can take just a moment to burn. Once you begin to detect an aroma, it’s just about ready. I lift the pan off the heat and swirl it for more control if I think it’s browning too fast or nearly done. It will continue to brown once you take it off the heat. Pour immediately into a heatproof bowl to stop the cooking.
- Note that the tart shell is baked at 375 degrees and the filled tart is baked at a lower temperature of 350 degrees.

Banana Brown Butter Frangipane Tart
Serves 9

Sweet Tart Dough
adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Makes one 9-inch tart crust

1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C confectioner’s sugar
1/4 t salt
4 1/2 oz (9 T) very cold butter
1 egg yolk

Brown Butter Frangipane

3 oz butter
1 C (3 oz) whole or sliced almonds
1/4 C + 2 T sugar
2 T flour
1/4 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
zest of 1 lemon
1 egg
1 egg white
1 T rum
1/2 t vanilla

4 bananas
1 t butter, melted
sugar for sprinkling
1 t honey for finishing (optional)

Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the cold butter into pieces, scatter over the dry ingredients and pulse until some of the butter looks like the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk and add it, processing in long pulses of about 10 seconds until the dough begins to form clumps. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and bring it together with your hands just enough to incorporate any dry ingredients. Wrap in plastic and chill for about 2 hours.

Remove the dough from refrigeration and let sit for a few minutes to warm up enough to roll out. Place the dough on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, plastic wrap or work surface and roll to a 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to be sure it isn't sticking. Place the dough into a 9" tart pan with removable bottom. Tuck and fit into the pan gently, sealing any cracks that may occur. Trim overhang and form a clean border. Pierce the dough all over with a fork. Freeze the tart shell for about an hour or two.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the tart shell on a baking sheet. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and press the buttered side down tightly against the tart shell. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until it just begins to take on some color. Remove and place on a wire cooling rack. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed up at all, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Cool completely.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

For the frangipane, cut the butter into pieces and place in a pan over medium heat. Cook until the butter is a medium brown with a nutty aroma. Take off the heat, pour into a clean bowl and cool.

Place the almonds, sugar, flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the almonds are finely ground. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest and pulse. Add the egg and egg white and blend. Add the cooled browned butter, rum and vanilla and process until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Pour into the cooled tart shell.

Cut the bananas into long diagonal slices. Place decoratively onto the frangipane. Brush the bananas lightly with butter and sprinkle them lightly with sugar. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes until the frangipane is puffed up and a tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Brush the bananas with honey for a more finished presentation.

For a 14” x 4” rectangular tart, use the following ingredient measures.
Tart Shell: 1 C flour, 1/3 C confectioner’s sugar, heaping 1/8 t salt, 3 oz cold butter, 1 egg yolk.
Frangipane: 2 oz butter, 2 oz almonds, 1/4 C sugar, 1 T + 1 t flour, heaping 1/8 t salt, heaping 1/8 t cinnamon, pinch nutmeg, zest of half lemon, 1 egg, 2 t rum, 1/4 t vanilla.
Fruit: 3 bananas


Victoria said...

Phew. Once again, a fruit I can get my hands on easily. I also love banana desserts. One of my favorite meals is a cold crabmeat starter, followed by shrimp creole, with a baked banana split (very similar to Bananas Foster). This would be a scrumptious replacement dessert, so I am definitely trying it.

pastry studio said...

Hello, Victoria! I went and checked out your baked banana split and it sounds really delicious:

Love the idea of adding orange juice to the mix for a bright punch of citrus. And that meal you describe sounds completely heavenly. Wish we were neighbors!!

Lori @ Girl Meets Oven said...

Wow! The almond paste reminds me of the filling in Dutch Letters, a pastry I grew to love while attending college in Pella, Iowa. The combination of almonds and bananas sounds incredible.

Elly McCausland said...

I love this. You see a lot of pear and stone fruit frangipane tart, but I've never thought of pairing almonds with bananas. Excellent timing too, as I have a load of bananas in my fruit bowl that are rapidly ripening and I need to do something with them...

*Chic Provence* said...

Hello Pastry Studio! I'm so glad to meet you.. and just now realized you are also in SF! Do you have a pastry shop?

Thanks for visiting Chic Provence, and for your incredible Gateau Basque readers are obviously crazy about it!

Stay in touch!


Pauline said...

Mmm, bananas! Love banana pastries.

Just curious. What do you do with all your baked goods? It seems like you bake nearly every day. Does your family eat it all? Do you give it to your friends? If I baked as much as you did, I for sure would blossom into a lovely little bubble, not that I'd be complaining, lol.

pastry studio said...

Lori, thank for that info and will have to research Dutch Letters!
Elly, hope you have a chance to enjoy this!
Chic Provence, I'm in SF but no longer doing pastry professionally. Best to you!
Pauline, I only post once a week and try to give all this stuff away to friends and family. I do everything I can to maintain a very balanced diet!!

Barbara said...

One of the things my grandmother used to do with leftover pastry when I was a child was to give it to me to make a little banana tart with. There's nothing like the flavor of a roasted or baked banana!
Your recipe combines three of my favorite things: almonds, bananas and rum. Somewhat like a visitandine with bananas. Love it!

Pam @ Sticks Forks Fingers said...

Only recently discovered you, and really enjoy your posts. I appreciate your bench notes section, and well, just your overall approach. Thanks!

My best, Pam

Jacob said...

Bananas and frangipane. I would have never thought of it, but they sound delicious together. Thanks for the recipe.