Sammy the Seal

Banana cream tart with honey-glazed pecans

In delicious on Tuesday, 28 February, 2012 at 23:11

banana cream tart with pecans 2

Ah, creation and food, a great way to fight the drabs. Marit Week has been temporarily suspended, as I’ve been dying to bake something. Not since the valentine ganache tarts more than two weeks ago had I done something worthwhile. (Banana bread doesn’t count, I can do that in my sleep.)  Since I’m going away for a few days and don’t want to shop, I threw something together with what I had lying about. It’s amazing how far the basic elements of food can get you. In order of preparation, I toasted the pecans, then made the pastry cream filling, then made the tart shells.

Since pecans are expensive up here (hell, back in TX we had a pecan tree in our front yard, still do, as long it’s still healthy– sigh, cheap nuts…), I only got 1/3 or 1/2 cup. I toasted them for 15 minutes at 300º, then set them aside on a sheet of wax paper, to be glazed with honey later.

Then it was time for the pastry cream:

2 c milk
2 t vanilla extract
1/2 sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
1 whole egg + 3 yolks

Over medium heat, I brought the milk to a simmer. While waiting for it do that, I put the sugar, cornstarch, and all egg-ness in separate bowl and whisked until smooth. Then I stirred the vanilla into the milk. While the milk is coming to a simmer, I added half (1 cup) to the other ingredients and stirred (to temper), then added it all back to the saucepan with the rest of the vanilla milk. Then, still on medium heat, I whisk-stirred thoroughly and constantly until the mixture thickened, which was very quick, less than a minute. Then I transferred it to a separate bowl and added about 1/2 teaspoon or so of ground mace (because I can’t let well enough alone), then whisked periodically throughout the entire process to cool, to prevent any skin or crust from forming, and to smooth out lumps.

The dough was pâte sablée, the same one I used for the animal cookies, just rolled out and draped over the mini-tart pans. I rolled the dough out to about 1/4″ thick, not too thin though, then lifted the dough and spaced the pans underneath about an inch or so apart. I then molded the dough into the pans, and ran the rolling pin over the top to smooth the edges. I then pressed down on the overhanging dough and tore it away, balling up the dough, wrapping it in plastic wrap, then refrigerating it. I filled the empty shells with small dry beans, placed them on a baking sheet, and baked them at 380º for 13 or so minutes, until the tip of the crust browns ever so slightly. At that point, I took them out, emptied out the beans, pricked the bottom and sides of the crusts with a fork, then returned them for another 13 minutes. Since I only have two of these mini-pans, I had to repeat this a couple of times, cooling the empty pans in the fridge while rolling out the next round of dough. So this took a while.

While waiting for crusts to cook, I glazed the outside (the rounded side) of each pecan half with honey and a pastry brush. It sounds tedious, but it wasn’t too precise a process, and I didn’t have that many pecans anyway. Some of the honey ran down onto the paper, but oh well. I just thought it’d be better than plain pecans. “Honey-glazed” sounds cooler.

Finally, the easy part. I sliced a couple of bananas into coins, then spread a layer of pastry cream into each shell, arranged banana slices on top, followed by the pecans in a cute little flower shape. The trick to eating them is to take one slice of banana per bite. It’s surprisingly filling. I’m pretty proud of these, no complaints from myself, for once, if I’m to be believed.

They looked pretty with just banana, even before the pecan flowers:

banana cream tart

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