The title of this post should read Rustic Apple-Banana Tart. The first word is my catchall term for all my less-than-photogenic baked goods. My favorite sweet pastry crust never fails me; in fact, most of the time the recipe is not to blame.
It’s this baker. How could I go from marveling at my perfectly rolled out dough this morning to having a shrunken, irregularly-shaped tart shell? Me. I’m the common denominator.
It’s not really all that bad. Imperfection in the kitchen doesn’t bother me…too much. Taste is what matters, wouldn’t you agree? However, when something turns out so good and I know I’ll be sharing it with you, I am disappointed just a little. In terms of looks this tart gets an average rating.
But let’s move on to taste. I have been wanting to bake an apple tart for weeks and banana bread has been calling my name, too. What to do?
I decided to put the two together in one dessert and conveniently found this Food & Wine recipe. I improvised a little, adjusting proportions and removing an ingredient or two but mainly, I wanted more bananas in my version. I also used my favorite pastry crust recipe.
This was the fruit of my labor: a delicately-flavored tart combining the best qualities of apples and bananas, first cooked in rum, butter, brown sugar and a vanilla bean. It is barely sweet and the two fruits don’t compete against each other for attention. I even dare say that the apples and bananas in this tart are sublime together. The crust? As bad as it looks here, it certainly doesn’t disappoint in taste and texture. It is flaky and crisp even at the bottom despite all that filling.
I am very selective about the recipes I encourage you to run to the kitchen to make because I don’t ever want those words to become cheap…but this apple-banana tart is one of those. I have confidence that you will make it beautiful in a way that I can’t but for taste alone, this tart gets an “A”. In fact, it is perfect.
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon plus two teaspoons sugar
- ⅛ teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 2¼ large Granny Smith apples, peeled, halved and cored (the remaining ¾ of the last apple should sliced thinly for the top.
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- ⅓ cup rum
- 2 bananas, halved lengthwise and cut into ½ inch pieces
- ¼ - ½ cup apricot preserves, melted and strained
- To prepare the crust, place the flour, 7 tablespoons butter, salt, and 2 teaspoons sugar in the food processor and process just until mixture has the texture of coarse crumbs, 10-12 seconds. Add the ice water and pulse about 6-8 times. Don’t let the mixture form a ball; stop when it just begins to hold together. Transfer the pastry to waxed paper and flatten the dough into a disk. Add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time if the dough seems too sticky. Wrap in the waxed paper and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- When the crust is ready for use, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- Roll out the dough into a 13-14 inch round circle on a lightly floured surface. Fit the dough into an 8-9 inch tart pan (I used a quiche pan) and fold the edges around the rim of the pan. Prick the surface of the tart shell with a fork. Butter the shiny side of a piece of foil (or spray with nonstick cooking spray) and place it buttered side down on the tart shell, making sure it fits tightly on the shell.
- Bake the tart shell for about 15 minutes or until it is dry and lightly colored. Let it cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
- To prepare the filling, cut about 2¾ of the apples into ¾ inch dice. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet then add the vanilla bean, dark brown sugar and the diced apples and cook on high heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar crystals disappear, about 2 minutes.
- Add the rum and cook the mixture until the apples are just tender, about 6 minutes. The rum should be almost evaporated at this point, too. Stir in the banana pieces, remove the vanilla bean and pour the filling into the cooled tart shell.
- Slice the remaining 1¼ apple pieces thinly. Starting at the edge of the tart, arrange the slices over the filling in overlapping circles. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar over the apples and bake the tart for 45-50 minutes, or until the apples are tender and golden. Remove the tart from the oven and and brush with the apricot preserves. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.