Cook the Book: Banana Tart Tatin

"This is a wonderful dessert recipe to keep in your back pocket."

©iStockphoto.com/DNY59

20100104-jamiesfoodrevolution.jpgThe aim of Jamie's Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver is to teach people that making a satisfying meal isn't difficult. So far this week we've covered a simple pasta (Broccoli and Pesto Tagliatelle), an easy curry, and some basic stew and roast chicken, and now it's time for dessert.

Many novice cooks are a bit shy when it comes to baking but this recipe for Banana Tart Tatin is a cinch, especially if you forgo making your own puff pastry as Oliver does in this version.

Tart tatin is nothing more than caramelized fruit topped with a layer of puff pastry, baked and then dramatically inverted to reveal a gorgeous gooey, fruit-topped dessert.

The most complex step is making a caramel, but all that really involves is melting butter and sugar together, some stirring, and a careful eye to make sure it doesn't burn. Aside from that, it's just placing the bananas in the pan, topping with a layer of pastry, and then a half-hour in the oven.

Every good cook should have at least one dessert recipe in their repertoire and this is a wonderful one to keep in your back pocket. It has all of the elements of a more labor-intensive dessert—beautiful presentation, rich flavors, even a fancy French name—but none of the time-consuming parts, like measuring, mixing, creaming, and whipping.

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As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Jamie's Food Revolution to give away this week.

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Cook the Book: Banana Tart Tatin

About This Recipe

Yield:6

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 4 large bananas
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 orange
  • Plain flour, for dusting
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted if frozen
  • Optional
  • Crème fraiche
  • Vanilla ice cream and a few tablespoons of shredded coconut

Procedures

  1. 1

    Preheat your oven to 350°F. Cut your butter into cubes and put into a sturdy deep-sided roasting pan approximately 7 1/2 x 12 inches. Place the pan on a low heat, let the butter melt, add the sugar, and stir constantly until completely combined. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is golden and caramelized. Meanwhile, peel the bananas, slice them lengthwise, and lay them on top of the golden caramel. Remove from the heat, then sprinkle over the cinnamon and finely grate over the zest of half your orange.

  2. 2

    To make your pastry topping: Dust a clean work surface and rolling pin with flour. Rather than putting your pastry down flat and rolling it out, place it on its side and roll it from there, this will give you a lighter, crisper texture. Roll out the sheet of pastry until you have a rectangle shape about the same size as your pan and about 1/8 inch thick. Drape your pastry over your rolling pin and carefully lay it on the roasting pan, gently tucking it around the bananas to make sure they're well covered, with no gaps. Using a knife or fork, prick the pastry a few times. Place the tray at the top of the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden.

  3. 3

    To serve your tart tatin: When your tart tatin is ready you must turn it out at once or it will end up sticking to the pan. To do this, cover you hand with a folded kitchen towel, carefully hold the tray with a serving plate or board on top, and gently turn it over. Using the tip of a knife, pull a corner of the pastry up to check if it's all cooked underneath (if not, pop it back into the oven for another couple of minutes), then ease the whole thing out of the pan.

  4. 4

    If using crème fraiche or whipped cream: Put it into a bowl, grate over the rest of your orange zest, and stir well.

  5. 5

    If using vanilla ice cream: Sprinkle a few tablespoons of unsweetened shredded coconut on a plate and quickly roll a scoop of ice cream in it until coated.

  6. 6

    Serve your tart tatin and eat immediately!

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