Lime juice is sour, guava jelly is sweet. Combined, they lift this tart into heavenly territory. Filled with a combination of bananas and pastry cream, the tart is best served at room temperature; when it is chilled, the tart tends to harden and the flavors of the different components become muted.
The sauteed bananas also can be eaten by themselves or flambeed with dark rum and served with ice cream or crepes.
- For the dough
- 1 1/4 cups flour, plus more for the work surface
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons ice-cold water
- For the bananas
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Freshly squeezed juice from 2 to 3 limes (1/3 cup)
- 1 1/2 pounds (about 4) bananas, cut into slices (about 2 1/2 cups)
- For the pastry cream
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- For the glaze
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup guava jelly
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a 10-inch tart pan or flan ring on a baking sheet.
For the dough: Combine the flour, butter, sugar, salt and ice water in a bowl. Work the mixture with your fingers until crumbly.
Place the dough on a work surface and, using the technique called fraisage, use the palm of your hand to smear about 2 tablespoons of the dough forward on the surface, to blend thoroughly. Repeat until the whole mixture has been blended. One additional fraisage of the dough should be sufficient for the ingredients to be completely combined.
Lightly flour a cutting board. Roll the dough (rolling from the center out in every direction) into a circle approximately 1/8 inch thick and 14 inches in diameter. (Alternatively, roll out the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap.) Brush any excess flour from the top of the dough, then roll it up on the rolling pin. Unroll the dough over the tart pan or flan ring so that the side of the dough that was touching the work surface is now facing upward. Brush any excess flour from the surface. Lift up the dough hanging over the sides of the pan and ease it gently into the pan or ring; it is important not to stretch it, or it will shrink too much during baking. Push the excess dough in on itself all around the rim to create a thicker edge.
Roll the rolling pin over the edges of the pan, pressing down and rolling in one direction and then the other, to evenly cut off the excess dough. (If desired, wrap the excess dough and refrigerate or freeze for future use.) With your thumb and index finger, press on the dough all around the edge to create a small raised lip of dough that extends beyond the top of the pan. Then, with your thumb, roll a small amount of that dough over the rim of the pan all around, pressing it gently to anchor the shell and hold it in place so it won't collapse on itself during cooking. (This technique makes it unnecessary to line the shell with paper or foil and weight it.) Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. (Check during baking; if it appears to be browning too fast, cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
For the bananas: Combine the butter, sugar and lime juice in a skillet over medium-high heat; bring to a boil and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the mixture forms a pale blond caramel with the consistency of a thick syrup. Stir in the sliced bananas to coat them, then cook gently in the caramel for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
For the pastry cream: Heat the half-and-half in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil.
Meanwhile, combine the egg, egg yolk, cornstarch, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl, whisking until smooth. Whisk in the boiling half-and-half, mixing well; then return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with the whisk so it doesn't scorch, until it comes to a strong boil and thickens, 2 to 4 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes.
Pour the pastry cream into the baked, cooled pastry shell and spread it evenly all around. Pour the caramelized bananas and their syrup on top, and stir gently to mix the bananas with the pastry cream. Smooth the top.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the filling is lightly browned. Let the tart cool for 15 to 20 minutes, then carefully scrape off any overhang of dough holding the tart to the pan edge. Remove the sides of the tart pan or the ring.
For the glaze: Melt the guava jelly if it is not already soft. Brush the top of the tart with the jelly (you may have some left over).
At serving time, slide the tart onto a serving platter and cut it into wedges.
Adapted from "Essential Pepin," by Jacques Pepin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011).
Tested by Jane Touzalin.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.