Banana Cream Tart with White Chocolate, Caramel and Salted Peanuts

November 22, 2010

Makes 8 4-inch tarts
1 recipe West Town Tavern Pie Pastry, (recipe, page 40)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
5 egg yolks
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon dark rum
2 large bananas, firm ripe
1/2 cup turbinado (raw) sugar
Caramel sauce, as needed (recipe, page 47)
1 cup unsweetened whipped cream, for garnish
4 ounces white chocolate
1/3 cup shelled, roasted, salted peanuts

This is one of our most popular desserts at the Tavern. Each step can be prepared in advance making these individual tarts perfect for entertaining.

Divide pie pastry in half; wrap and refrigerate half. On a lightly floured surface roll the remaining half pie pastry into an 11-inch circle. Place 3 to 4 of the 4-inch tart shells upside down on the pastry and cut circles 1 inch larger than the shells. (The circle may hold only 3 tart shells; in that case, reroll the pastry scraps and cut another shell.) Turn the shells right side up and fit the pastry into the shells, cutting the pastry off flush with the edge. Roll out the refrigerated pie pastry and repeat with the remaining 4 tart shells. Place the shells on a baking sheet and refrigerate them, covered with plastic, for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line the chilled shells with foil or parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake the shells until light golden and dry, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Remove the foil and beans. Shells may be baked 2 days ahead. Cool completely and reserve loosely covered with foil at room temperature.

In a 3-quart saucepan with a balloon whisk combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt and yolks. Slowly add the milk and cream, whisking constantly. Add the vanilla bean with its seeds and place the saucepan over medium heat. Whisking frequently, cook the mixture until it simmers and starts to thicken. When mixture begins to boil up whisk constantly for 1 full minute. Remove pan from heat and whisk in the butter and rum. Remove the vanilla bean and discard. Cool custard quickly using an ice-water bath and refrigerate until cold. Cover surface with plastic wrap to keep skin from forming. Custard keeps for 3 days refrigerated, covered.

When ready to serve fill the tart shells with the vanilla custard. Peel and slice the bananas crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Lay the slices over the custard in concentric rings with 1 banana slice in the center of the ring. Sprinkle the bananas with an even layer of turbinado sugar. Using a hand-held butane torch, caramelize the sugar by melting it onto the bananas. Place the tarts on individual plates and drizzle with caramel sauce. Spoon a dollop of whipped cream atop the tarts. Using a vegetable peeler shave white chocolate curls over each tart. Sprinkle tarts with salted peanuts.

Reprinted with permission copyright West Town Tavern: Contemporary Comfort Food by Susan Goss with Drew Goss

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