Monday, 3 March 2014

Banana Tarte Tatin with Coffee and Amaretto Ice Cream

The 24th of February to the 9th of March marks Fairtrade Fortnight the aim of which is to highlight the good work that Fairtrade do but also to inform and bring to attention the work still required to be done. Fairtrade stands for better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. More information about Fairtrade and what they do can be found on their website which I urge you all to have a look at. 
With this in mind I decided to make something where the main ingredient was Fairtrade. I chose to use a fruit which is one of the most bought and consumed in the UK. The banana of course! Thanks to Fairtrade 1 in 3 bananas in the UK are now Fairtrade but more work is required to ensure farmers are paid fairly for their produce and this is really at the heart of this years Fairtrade Fortnight. If you feel like you want to support the cause then there is a petition you can sign via their website to ask the UK government to look into the issue of unfair supermarket pricing practices. The coffee I will be using for this recipe is also Fairtrade.
The other reason for deciding to make this decadent dish was to try and bring some much needed warmth and sunshine to what has been a bit of a washout for the start of the year. So what better than a tropical take on a French classic accompanied by a super easy 'no churn' ice cream?(Some actual sunshine might also be quite nice, I presume will be the majority response). This fantastic dessert I'm afraid is not of my invention but the recipes I have used have been slightly adapted for my needs. The tarte tatin is from the great baking Silverback that is Paul Hollywood from his Pies & Puds show and the ice cream recipe is a Nigella special from her Nigellissima cook book.

Banana Tarte Tatin - makes a fantastic dessert for 6 people

  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 25g Butter
  • 8 Fairtrade bananas (approximately) - peeled and cut into 4cm-5cm chunks
  • 320g ready to use puff pastry sheet
  • 1 egg, beaten 
Coffee and Amaretto Ice cream - easily makes enough for 6 people
  • half a 397g can of condensed milk  
  • 600ml of double cream
  • 2 tablespoons of Fairtrade instant coffee
  • 2 tablespoons of Amaretto

Firstly the ice cream, you'll have to start this the day before you want to serve it, whisk all the ingredients together until soft peaks start to form and all the coffee granules have blended into the mixture. Then pour into an air tight container and freeze over night. Delicious home made ice cream just like that! I've used Amaretto in this recipe but a dark Rum would be great to use and would reinforce that tropical flavour.
Now for the main event, preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade/gas mark 6. Place the caster sugar into a 28cm non-stick ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat. A slightly smaller similar frying pan will be fine as long as it can be used in the oven.  Once the sugar has dissolved and started to turn into a golden brown colour, remove from the heat and stir in the butter. You now have your caramel base.
Sit the banana chunks upright in the caramel, packing them close together and trying not to leave any gaps.
Next remove the puff pastry from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Cut to size so that it fits over the bananas with some excess to form a crust. Using a plate of a similar size to the pan as a template works well for this. Cover the bananas with the puff pastry and tuck in any excess around the edges. Brush with the beaten egg to glaze the pastry.
Next place the pan in the oven  a bake for 30 mins or until the pastry is golden in colour. Ok, now for the tricky bit! Invert a plate/serving board over the pan and turn out the tarte tatin, watch out for very hot caramel! Then stand back and admire your good work. 
Let the tarte tatin cool slightly then divide and serve with a couple of scoops of the ice cream.
This is a fantastic dessert and would make a show stopping end to a dinner party or for a special occasion it is definitely worth a try!
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