I have a little smile on my face as I write this. If I hadn't been to England right before Easter then I wouldn't have been to the airport shop with all the magazines. Magazines in English. Well, it was England after all. If I hadn't been in the shop then I wouldn't have seen a particular cooking magazine. If I hadn't seen that magazine and brought it with me to the checkout counter then I would have never discovered this:
But I did. And halleluah. I haven't been taken with a recipe like this in a looong time. As soon as I saw the photo of the dish and read the ingredient list I said, Ok, I will be making that. And quick. I continue on my bandwagon of desserts that are both super easy and totally divine. And when fruit is a main ingredient the whole thing somehow seems virtuous. As in, I'll have another piece. And another.
You won't believe how easy this is. If you are at all timid about making your own caramel on the stove, just buy a jar of dulce de leche in the store. Or if you are in the U.S. buy a bag of Kraft caramels and get to melting. But honestly, making caramel on the stove is ridiculously easy...and way tastier than anything you can buy.
Here is what you need to do to get started on the tart: Make your go-to pie crust recipe. Don't have one? Surely you can ask your mother, aunt, or trusty neighbor for theirs. If that isn't an option, look in a cookbook or on one of the gazillion cooking websites or blogs. (I love cooking with a passion but even I get overwhelmed by all the sites.) Whatever you do, keep it easy.
Then you are going to get a few bananas. Maybe four, depending on their size. You want firm, yellow bananas. Not hard green ones or the super ripe spotted variety. Slice into fat coins and set aside.
Have your salt and pepper at the ready. I'll explain later. Trust me on this one.
For the caramel: put a 1/2 cup (100g) of white sugar in a saucepan and stir in 2T (2 soup spoons) of water. Stir over low heat until the sugar is melted and the mixture starts to bubble. Turn up the heat to medium and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until it turns a golden caramel color, swirling the pan gently from time to time to brown evenly. Don't let it burn (although it might smell a bit "too done") but don't undercook either. Remove from the heat, add 1T (1 soup spoon) of water (the sputtering and hardening is normal but will stop quickly), stir, then add 3.5T (50g) of butter. Stir to a smooth sauce and set aside.
To assemble: Pour the caramel in the bottom of a pie plate or tart pan (judge the size of the pan by how much caramel (and banana slices) you have). I used a 9" pie plate and the caramel covered the entire bottom, which is what you want.
Take a couple of big pinches of sea salt and sprinkle all over the caramel. Then scatter over a few pinches of black pepper or grind right onto the bananas. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then add the banana slices, pressing them into the caramel and pushing them together to fill the gaps.
Roll out your pie crust to the diameter of the pie plate, as thick or perhaps a little thicker than a coin (but not quite as thick as your banana slices). Place the pastry on top of the bananas and press down; tuck in the edges so it forms a sort of upturned bowl over the bananas. Prick the pastry with a fork.
Bake at 375F or 200C for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge, place a large plate over the top and carefully invert the tart onto the plate. You might need to reposition some banana slices. Be careful of the hot caramel. Serve warm or cold.
I ate it plain but it would also be nice with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Adapted from Lucas Hollweg's Good Things to Eat.