I’m a monster for introducing this into your life. It’s so easy and hideously, just hideously, good. It’s also a lot of bang for your effort buck because 2 out of the 10 ingredients are *gasp* pre-made. Seriously, make this the next time you ask someone “what can I bring?” and they tell you to bring dessert. Trust me, you will be beloved by all that you place this before. Except for those who don’t love the classic combo of bananas and Nutella, but they are not to be trusted anyway.
Banana Nutella Tarte Tatin
Adapted from Tieghan Gerard (Half Baked Harvest)
**A note about the skillet used in this recipe: I recommend using something that is both oven-proof (a must) and that has a bit of non-stickability (not required, but highly recommended; this does not mean a non-stick pan strictly, a cast-iron could also work if it were well-seasoned and broken in). I opted for this specific skillet, which is my favourite pan for a lot of tasks.
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (preferably all-butter; puff pastry usually comes in a 14-oz package, weight is not important though – you just need enough to roll a 10-inch circle from), thawed
1 cup Nutella
4-6 large bananas, ripe but still firm and yellow
2/3 cup white sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp heavy (whipping) cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup hazelnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Generously dust a work surface with flour. Roll the puff pastry out (if not pre-rolled) to about 1/8-inch thickness. Cut the dough into a large round, depending on the diameter of the skillet you plan on using, which should be somewhere around 8-10 inches. You want a pastry circle that is about an inch bigger in diameter than your skillet. Shake off any excess flour and transfer the circle to a large lined (or floured) baking sheet. Spread the pastry round with an even coating of Nutella (you may not need the full cup). Refrigerate the pastry until ready to use.
Slice each banana in half lengthwise, working carefully so as not to break them. It’s not a tragedy if this happens, but the end result does look less aesthetically pleasing. Set aside. In your 8-10 inch skillet, heat the sugar over medium heat until melted, stirring frequently. Keep cooking and stirring until a medium amber colour is achieved. If you are using a dark pan and can’t tell when the sugar is changing colour, spoon a tiny bit onto a white plate to gauge the shade. Remove the caramel from the heat and let sit for 2 minutes (that’s not enough time to do anything – don’t walk away!) before stirring in the butter, salt, and cream. Mix until smooth and glossy. Arrange the sliced bananas into the skillet, cut side up. This dessert tends to look good no matter how you arrange the bananas, as long as you generally try to limit how many pieces you have to further cut in order to fit. You may not use all of the banana pieces, depending on your size of pan. It’s okay, in fact preferred, for the bananas to overlap a little. Drizzle the vanilla over the bananas and place back on the heat for 2 minutes until bubbling gently. Remove from the heat.
Carefully transfer the refrigerated pastry round to the skillet, Nutella side down. Use your fingers to try and tuck the pastry against the inside edges of the pan. Gently prick the top of the pastry all over with the tines of a fork. Bake in the centre rack of the oven for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden brown. While the tart bakes, lightly toast the hazelnuts (if using) in a large pan over medium heat. Transfer the hazelnuts to a plate and let cool slightly. Rub the nuts between two paper towels to release any loose skins (discard). Coarsely chop the hazelnuts and set aside.
Let sit for 2 minutes and then place a plate/serving platter/cutting board on top of the skillet and turn to invert the tart onto your serving vessel. Be confident – use a quick, steady, firm motion when you flip! There is a direct correlation between confidence in flipping and aesthetic presentation (not really, but you’re more likely to screw up if you’re slow and tentative). If any of the bananas were misplaced during the flip, just re-arrange as needed to pretty everything up. Sprinkle with as many handfuls of hazelnuts as you like. Let cool and serve at room temperature (it’s also good warm, because it’s chocolate so duh). Serve with mountains of vanilla ice cream and die, just die, its so goddamn good.