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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chocolate Tart with Baked Bananas and Caramel

How I turned this.....
Into this!

This dessert was inspired from this recipe, it has great instructions and wonderful pics!
I used the exact recipe for the ganache but I halved the caramel to make room for the bananas.
I made it for some friends of ours and they all liked it very much. I don't get to make desserts very often so this took me a lot of time to prepare.
This makes a 10" tart enough for 8 people easily.

Pie Crust

I used Chef Alton Brown's recipe for the pie crust.
The quantities are very accurate and you get enough dough for the bottom of a 10" pie dish (had a little left over).
Minor changes:
Instead of the lard I used vegetable shortening just because I don't like the sound of lard. I read on several baking blogs that using a combo of butter with lard or shortening makes for a flakier crust rather than going all butter.
It's easier to chop up all the butter and shortening first and then place it the freezer, otherwise it gets too hard to cut and melts while you are using you fingers to handle it!
I placed all the fat in the freezer for at least an hour.
The chilled water, I never used a spritzer, I just added it gradually to the dough one tablespoon at the time.

You will have to blind bake the crust.
Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
Butter and flour a 10" tart pan or a pie dish.
Roll out the dough and place it inside the dish and press it gently against the sides and bottom of the pan.
Since this is a tart and not a pie you don't have to flute the corners and make a fancy edge just cut the over hang with a knife.
Use a fork to poke holes all over the bottom and sides to keep it from rising up during baking.
Place it in the fridge for another 30 mins.
Use pie weights or dry beans and arrange them inside the dish.
If you are going to use beans, I recommend placing them over a sheet of aluminum so that you can remove them quickly.
Bake for 10 mins in the middle rack, remove the weights and bake for another 15 mins.
Keep aside and allow to cool down.

This is something intereseting that I recently read.
Adding some vodka to the dough makes it super flaky!
So for Alton Browns recipe I would use 2 Tbs water and 2 Tbs vodka.

Sea salt roasted peanuts

You will need about 1/3 cup of roughly chopped peanuts.
These you can buy, like Planters dry roasted peanuts with sea salt.
Or do what I did.
I took some dry roasted unsalted peanuts, tossed them in 1/2 tsp of oil and heated them up quickly on a frying pan and then sprinkled some coarse sea salt over them.
Chop these up and keep aside.

Baked bananas

Bananas 3 large - ripe
Butter 1 tsp
Dark rum or pineapple juice 3 Tbs

Pre heat oven to 345 degrees.
Take a large sheet of aluminum foil and fold up 1" from each side to make a shallow container. It should be large enough so all the bananas can lay snug to each other. Place this aluminum container on a cookie sheet or inside a baking dish.
Peel three ripe bananas and slit them in halves lengthwise.
Rub a small amount of butter on each side of the cut bananas and sprinkle about 3 Tbs of dark rum or some fruit juice over them.
Bake on the middle rack for 15-20 mins or until the bananas feel tender but firm we don't want these to be mushy.
Remove from the baking dish and let them soak in the juices until they cool down completely
Cut into 1" chunks and keep aside for later.

* Inspired from this recipe.


Sugar 2/3 cup
Corn Syrup 1 1/2 Tbs
Salt 1/8 tsp
Water 3 Tbs
Butter 3 Tbs
Heavy Cream 3 Tbs

Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and water in a sauce pan.
Cook over medium high heat until the temp is 365 degrees on a candy thermometer.
I don't have a candy thermometer, but at 365 degrees the caramel is at the hard ball stage.You can check that by dropping a small amount into a glass of very cold water. The syrup will settle to the bottom of the glass and if you scrape that off and roll it between your fingers it should feel very hard.
It took me about 8 minutes to get to that stage.
Whisk in the butter and cream.
You will get a pale yellow and very soft caramel.
Very delicious!
Keep aside and allow this to cool for an hour at least.

* Click here for the original source
Chocolate Ganache

VERY IMPORTANT: You can't make the ganache in advance because it will set, therefore make it just when you are ready to pour it.

Heavy cream 1/2 cup (I used 36% heavy cream)
Bitter chocolate 4 oz (I used a 3.5oz bar of Lindt Excellence 70% cocoa + 1/2 oz of Lindt Milk chocolate)
Butter 1 Tbs

I remember reading somewhere, a long time ago, that ganache should always be made in 2 additions. This ensures a smoother texture and prevents the ganache from separating.

Chop the chocolate into small bits and put half of it in a bowl.
Bring the cream to a soft simmer in a sauce pan over medium high heat.
Pour half of the hot cream into the bowl with chocolate and mix well.
Add the rest of the chocolate and the cream and make sure everything is well combines.
Mix in the butter and your ganache will get a nice sheen.

* Click here for the original source


At this point you should have these ready and at room temperature.
Pre baked pie crust
Baked bananas - cut into 1" pieces
Salted peanuts - roughly chopped

Arrange the bananas and cover the bottom of the pie.
Sprinkle the peanuts and pour the caramel.
Allow this to cool in the fridge for at least an hour before you can add the ganache.
After an hour pour in the ganache, tap your dish a few times to ensure even distribution and chill the tart in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours.

Sit back, congratulate yourself for finishing this task, relax and anticipate how it all tastes. Don't forget to let it rest on the counter for 15 mins before eating.
Longest 15 mins ever! :-)


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