It’s Persian New Year! I was at my local Persian grocery store today and I noticed an abundance of whole hazelnuts being sold. They looked beautiful, so I bought a large bag of nuts, which were eaten fairly quickly by all the family. I turned the remaining nuts into a fine mill and made frangipane tarts in the evening.
To make the dessert look ultra fancy without being too complicated, I topped the hazelnut cream with bruléed bananas. Caramelizing the bananas brought out additional flavors that really complemented the hazelnut cream and the flaky puff pastry.
My cousin’s husband Hoss from Ohio is Persian, so we called him to send him our best wishes. But unfortunately, he changed his number and didn’t tell us. The person who picked up was utterly confused. So Hoss, if you’re reading this, “Happy Nowruz”!
1. Info for Caramelized Banana Tart with Hazelnut Cream
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
- Servings: 6
- Calories: 330 kcal
2. Ingredients for Caramelized Banana Tart with Hazelnut Cream
- 4 ripe bananas
- 6 (5 x 5-inch) squares frozen puff pastry dough (store-bought)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, + extra for greasing the molds
- 1-½ teaspoons pure banana extract (optional)
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar, to taste
- 12 tablespoons hazelnut powder, (10 ounces)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla powder (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, freshly ground
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Make sure the puff pastry dough is thawed but still cold so it’s easy to roll out. Place the dough in 6 individual mini pie shells previously lined with parchment paper (or in a 9-inch pie pan). Follow the curve of the molds and crimp the dough against the edge. Gently press the dough with your fingers so there are no air bubbles. Leave a little excess above the edge because the dough will settle a bit in the oven. Prick the dough with a fork 3-4 times to let some of the steam out as they bake.
- Using the back of a fork, mash 1 banana. In a non-stick pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the mashed banana and cook until well seared. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Toss well. Once the purée slightly thickens, turn off the heat. Using an electric hand-held mixer, whisk the egg with 3 tablespoons sugar until you get a pale yellow foam. It will take about 5-6 minutes. The consistency should be very airy. Add the banana extract (if used) and the mashed banana mixture. Set aside. Cream the softened butter (at room temperature). Pour in the egg mixture. Add the hazelnut powder. Mix until the batter is smooth. Cinnamon sugar: On a plate, combine 4 tablespoons sugar, salt, vanilla powder and ground cinnamon. Mix well.
- Making bruléed bananas: Peel the bananas. Cut them in thirds, lengthwise. Place the sliced bananas on the sugar mixture. Coat the bananas on one side. Sprinkle with more sugar if necessary, then caramelize with a culinary torch until the sugar melts and starts to bubble. The sugar will caramelize and can burn fast, so watch it carefully as it changes color until the sugar crust is formed.
- Fill the tart shells with banana hazelnut cream.
- Bake for 5 minutes at 375°F, then lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 30 minutes. The dough should be flaky.
- Remove from the oven and smooth the hazelnut cream using a flat spatula. Top with pieces of bruléed banana. Let the tartlets cool for a few minutes. Remove the shells from the molds.
- Serve them with a nice cup of hot Vietnamese coffee.
- Bon appétit!