Today I have a real treat for you: I’m so excited to welcome a new contributor to Perpetually Chic,Elizabeth Ansfield! I got to know Elizabeth at work, but we quickly realized we would become dear friends. We’ve since bonded over a mutual love of great food and personal style, and a shared passion for putting pen to paper. A few months ago it dawned on me that while I love to cook and share recipes, I rarely bake—even though I love dessert. Elizabeth bakes all the time. Enter our new “One Last Bite” series, a nod to those of us who just cannot resist temptation when it comes to sweets. Elizabeth will be dropping by once a month with her quick wit and favorite, decadent dessert recipes. So please welcome Elizabeth, and let’s kick things off…
Elizabeth here with your first installment of One Last Bite. I’m going to be honest with you: the desserts I make are not for the weak of heart. My recipes will not likely please your nutritionist, lower your cholesterol, or help you get into those size 2 jeans you bought with your fingers crossed last summer. But I assure you that the recipes I share with you will cause you and your loved ones to make funny noises with every bite.
You can take comfort in the fact this recipe contains 5 entire servings of fruit (bathed in gooey caramel and nestled in a bed of flaky butter pastry). I made this Butterscotch Banana Tarte Tatin as a Valentine’s treat for the banana-lover in my life, my soon-to-be-husband. His compliments on my baking usually end with a caveat: “It’s so delicious, baby. But it would be even better if there were bananas in it.” I finally listened—and he responded by making funny noises until his plate was clean.
Butterscotch Banana Tarte Tatin
All-purpose flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff-pastry dough, thawed in the refrigerator for 1 day
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
5 large ripe (but not speckled) bananas, peeled, halved lengthwise
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tbsp bourbon or Scotch (optional)
Recommended additions: 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
For this recipe, you’ll need a 9-inch skillet heavy enough so you fear dropping it on your toes. I only had a 10-inch skillet, and it worked beautifully. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Roll out your puff pastry on a floured surface to a 9- [or 10-] inch circle, and trim if necessary. Place the pastry between two pieces of wax paper and transfer to the fridge until needed. Melt the butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the sugar, salt, and cinnamon or nutmeg (if using). Cook, stirring frequently to make sure the sugar doesn’t burn, until the mixture turns medium amber, about 3 minutes. Arrange the bananas in the skillet, overlapping them slightly. Cook, without stirring, for 3 minutes. Drizzle the vanilla and the alcohol of your choice (if using) over the bananas, and cook until most of the liquor has evaporated and the liquid has thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Remove the bananas from heat. Place the pastry round on top of the bananas, and transfer it to the oven. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and puffed, about 25 minutes. Remove the tarte from the oven, and carefully invert the tart onto a serving plate. Don’t even think about serving this without vanilla ice cream.
*Recipe adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, photos by Lauren Craig