Wow, two months since my last post! The fact of the matter is, my focus is rather divided these days. I’m studying a post-graduate diploma in arts therapy and it’s full-on – barely any kitchen time these days, other than to rustle up some basic (and very boring) meals. But hey, I finally caught a break this weekend and got to make these decadently divine Banoffee Tarts.
They’re loosely based on the classic Banoffee Pie and combine the standard bananas, caramel and pastry, along with a good dollop of whipped cream. I found the recipe in an old New Zealand Home & Garden magazine (Sep, 2015) and got seriously seduced by their good looks.
I kept to the recipe, though I did add salt, both to the caramel (to make it a nicely balanced salted caramel) and to the chocolate to balance the sweetness. With their layering of caramel and chocolate, they reminded me of Millionaire Bars, or Caramel Slice, as we call it here in New Zealand. The caramel was just the right consistency – firm, but slightly gloopy, while the baked chocolate custard was slightly bitter with a nice soft texture.
As you can imagine, the dessert is pretty sweet, which is why it needs the balance of salt and the bitterness of the dark chocolate. The bananas provide the necessary ‘freshness’ and the whipped cream adds moisture. These babies are certainly rich and decadent, but everyone needs a bit of that now and then, right?
- 150g (5.2 oz) butter, softened
- 100g (3.5 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 egg
- 250g (8.8 oz) flour (I used Spelt flour)
- 100g (3.5 oz) butter
- 100g (3.5 oz) soft brown sugar (I used half brown sugar and half dark muscovado sugar)
- 395g (13.3 fl oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt (I use Himalayan salt)
- 500ml (16.9 fl oz) cream
- 125g (4.4 oz) dark chocolate (62%- 70% cocoa), finely chopped
- 4 egg yolks
- Pinch of salt
- To serve:
- Bananas (I used one small finger banana for each tart)
- Chocolate shavings
- Whipped cream
- Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg, then fold in flour (I used the lowest setting on the mixer rather than hand-fold it) until just combined (try not to overwork it).
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and rest in fridge for at least 20 minutes.
- Heat oven to 150C (300F). Roll dough thinly (the dough is very sticky, so I found it easier to divide the dough into equal portions and roll them out separately). Lightly grease 8 x 10cm (4 inch) loose-bottomed non-stick tart tins (I used 6 x 12cm (4.7 inch) tarts. Rest for a further 20 minutes then bake pastry cases blind (line with baking paper and fill with baking beans) for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Take out the paper and beans and allow to cool then place the tarts on a baking tray so they can be carried in and out of the oven more easily.
- Melt butter and brown sugar in a heavy based saucepan set over a low heat, stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved.
- Add condensed milk and bring to rapid boil for about a minute, stirring constantly until mix is a thick, golden caramel. Add salt incrementally and check for taste.
- Spread caramel in cooled pastry cases to about 1cm (third inch) thickness. Allow to cool.
- Turn oven to 100C (212F). Heat cream in a pot until just about to simmer. Take off heat and add chocolate and whisk until completely melted and combined.
- Whisk in yolks one at a time then mix in the salt. Leave to rest for about 10 minutes to cool, then give it a good stir and pour (it will be quite liquid) over the caramel layer to cover it completely (and take it as close as possible to the top of the pastry case). Any left over custard can be refrigerated and used within 7 days).
- Cover the tarts with foil and bake for about an hour, or until the filling is just set with a slight wobble in the centre (they will firm up as they cool).
- Take tarts from oven and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
- Slice bananas on a slight diagonal and layer gently over top of the cooked custard. Garnish with shaved chocolate and serve with a good dollop of whipped cream. Left-overs can be stored in the fridge.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Continuous Fluorescent Lighting Softbox