What follows is my recipe for Chocolate Banana Cream Tart. Just hearing those words all together makes you ready to swoon, doesn’t it? Well, you’ll feel even more intoxicated when you taste it. It all started with a Chocolate Cream Pie recipe from Food and Wine magazine. Here are my modifications:
1. Why make a pie when you can make a tart? For heavens sake, it’s just a matter of using a tart pan with a removable bottom!
2. The bananas on my counter weren’t getting any younger, and there are few combinations more satisfying than chocolate and banana. In they went.
3. The original chocolate filling recipe lacked vanilla, and since when do you want chocolate and banana without rum? Add a splash of each.
4. The original cream topping wasn’t enough to fully cover the thing, and where’s the sense in that? So I increased the amounts and substituted confectioner’s sugar for the granulated, since it dissolves more easily.
5. Why spread cream when you can pipe it? I loaded the pastry bag.
6. The magazine suggested garnishing with chocolate shavings and while you can’t go wrong there, I didn’t have a high quality chocolate bar on hand but I did have these fetching little Valrhona chocolate balls, shiny and small, that I get from the gourmet foods section of a local liquor store. So I scattered a bunch over the top and voila! Chocolate Banana Cream Tart.
chocolate wafer cookies, finely ground in the food processor
4 1/2 tablespoons
unsalted butter, melted
Filling and Topping
bananas, sliced in 1/4 inch rounds, or enough to cover the bottom of the tart pan
unsweetened cocoa powder
1 7/8 cups
milk (1% is fine)
unsweetened chocolate, melted
unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups
confectioner's sugar, or to taste
a few tablespoons
chocolate balls, or chocolate shavings, or a small smattering of cocoa powder, for decorating
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the crumb ingredients until moistened and press into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake about 8 minutes, or until the crust is fragrant. Remove it from the oven and using the flat bottom of a glass, immediately press down all over the bottom of the tart to keep it flat. Let it cool completely. Once cool, place the banana slices evenly on the bottom, in a single layer.
Sift the cornstarch, cocoa, and sugar into a large heavy saucepan and whisk well. Slowly stir in the milk, 1 cup cream, and salt, and then the melted chocolate. The chocolate won’t completely blend in at this stage, but it will as the mixture heats. Bring to a low boil over moderate heat, stirring constantly. Let it bubble until thickened, 1 or 2 minutes, and them remove it from the heat. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl, and slowly add about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture, steadily mixing, and then slowly pour back the egg/milk mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the milk, whisking constantly. Keep whisking, and cook over moderate heat until very thick, and the temperature reaches 200 degrees. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, vanilla and rum.
This step isn’t essential, but it does make for a smoother custard: Strain the filling mixture into the crust using a coarse sieve, pushing it through with a rubber spatula. You’ll see that there are some little egg and cornstarch lumps that won’t go through, and the custard will be much nicer for it. But if a few lumps don’t bother you, just pour the custard right in. Press some plastic wrap on the top and chill for a few hours.
Whip the 1 1/4 cups cream till stiff, adding the vanilla and confectioners sugar to taste. Keep in mind that the chocolate custard is sweet, so you’ll want to go easy on the sugar in the topping. You can spread it on top of the chocolate, or you can pipe it on using a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Sprinkle on your garnish of choice.