So, at the last minute, I’ve decided to bring you the Cookbook of the Month recipe a day early. I was planning on posting all week, just taking Christmas off, but I’ve been run ragged this week and decided that I needed an extra day off! Besides, I’m guessing most of you will be with your families celebrating.
This will actually be the last recipe I bring you from this book. Next week, I will do my normal assessment of the book, and I will also be announcing what I will be doing for this Cookbook of the Month series for 2011. I’m so excited to tell you all, and I hope you will all be as excited about it as I am!
And back to the tart… The dessert section of this book was actually the section where I had the hardest time decided what recipe to choose to make. I went back and forth between a few of them, but in the end, this banana tart won out. First of all, because I had a sheet of puff pastry in the freezer that needed to be used, but mostly because I was intrigued by the fact that this recipe came from a Spanish cookbook of recipes compiled by nuns from various convents. And before this recipe, I didn’t know that nuns are considered master bakers in Spain!
And I can see why. I loved the flavors in this tart. One flavor that I think should be mentioned in the title is the pineapple, because it really is just as prominent as the banana is. It’s funny, because I took my first bite and thought it was just good, but by the time I finished my slice, I was thinking that it was amazing!!
The only word of advice I can give with this is not to mix your topping too far. I did – and you can tell by the way it looks that it was too clumpy. I shouldn’t say this, but it ended up looking like ground sausage to me – but it definitely tastes better!!
The Clarisa Nuns’ Banana & Hazelnut Tart
from The New Spanish Table
Make 1 9-inch tart
FOR THE PASTRY SHELL
all-purpose flour, for dusting the work surface
1 sheet puff pastry (from a 17 1/4-ounce package), thawed
FOR THE HAZELNUT TOPPING
1/4 cup chopped skinned hazelnuts
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
FOR THE BANANA AND CREAM FILLING
3 large bananas, cut on the diagonal into medium-thin slices
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
To prepare the pastry shell: Flour a work surface and using a rolling pin, roll the puff pastry dough into a 12-inch square. Cut out an 11-inch circle and transfer the circle to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough against the sides and the bottom of the pan and prick the bottom all over with a fork. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes.
While the pastry is in the freezer, position the oven rack to the center and preheat the oven to 375F.
Remove the tart from the oven and discard the plastic wrap. Bake the dough until light golden, about 20 minutes. When it is cool enough to touch, press gently on the bottom to deflate it. Let it cool completely.
Make the hazelnut topping: Place the hazelnuts, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a food processor and process until moist crumbs form. Put the topping in a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
Make the banana and cream filling: Place the bananas in a bowl and add the pineapple juice and the lemon juice. Let it stand for 20 minutes. Strain the liquid into a saucepan and set the bananas aside.
Bring the soaking liquid to a simmer over medium-high heat. In another bowl, place the sugar and the cornstarch. Beat in the egg yolks. Gradually whisk 1/2 cup of the hot soaking liquid into the egg mixture, then whisk the egg mixture into the pan with the rest of the soaking liquid. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it is thickened and just beginning to boil around the edges – 3-4 minutes. Strain the custard into a bowl and let cool slightly. Whisk in the butter, press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard, and let it cool to warm.
Preheat the oven to 425F.
To assemble the tart, spread the custard evenly in the bottom of the pastry. Arrange the bananas on top in a circle and sprinkle the hazelnut topping evenly over the top. Bake the tart on the center rack until the top is brown and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes. Let it cool on a rack and serve at room temperature.
And since this is my last post before Christmas, I just want to wish you all a very happy holiday. May you have a wonderful time with family and friends!