- 150g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
- 150g butter, chopped into pieces
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
- 4 tbsp dark rum
- 700g rough puff pastry or re-rolled trimmings, or you can use ready-bought puff pastry
- 4 large, firm, just ripe banana
Probably the best known, most popular tropical fruit, their name probably derives from the…
- 1 egg yolk
- a little sifted icing sugar and crème fraîche, to serve, optional
Put the sugar and 2 tbsps water in a heavy-based frying pan and allow to stand for 10 mins so that the sugar becomes saturated.
Flatten the vanilla pod with the back of a large knife. Slit it open and scrape out the sticky seeds inside. Add these to the sugar pan. Heat the pan over a low heat until the sugar dissolves, swirling the pan occasionally to stop the sugar catching. Raise the heat and cook it to a dark golden brown.
Cool for 30 secs and stir in about a third of the butter, then mix in the rum and the remaining butter, stirring the mixture to a smooth caramel. Pour into a heatproof jug,but don’t chill or allow the caramel to set.
On a lightly floured board roll out the pastry to a rectangle approximately 50 x 30 cm and the thickness of a £1 coin.
Slice each banana lengthways keeping the halves as even as possible. Place each half rounded side up on the pastry and cut round the fruit, leaving a good 1cm border all the way round.
Lift the bananas up, paint them with the egg yolk mixed together with 1 tsp water, then drape the pastry cut-outs over them, pressing the dough around the sides. Leave to rest in the fridge for 30 mins. Divide caramel between 2 ovenproof frying pans or a shallow baking tin and swirl around the pan as you would a pancake. If the caramel is too thick, re-heat it slightly.
Heat oven to 200C/fan180C /gas 6. Put tatins in the frying pans or baking tin, leaving a little space between each one. Cook the tatins for about 12-15 mins until the pastry is light golden brown and crisp. Remove the pans or tin from the oven and stand for a minute or so. Slide a long palette knife under each banana and carefully lift it up, then flip over onto a waiting dessert plate so the banana is showing.
Brush over any caramelised pan juices and serve with a dusting of icing sugar and a dollop of crème fraîche, if using.
Choice of fruit
Make sure the bananas are just ripe – not green – but still firm. If they are too soft, they’ll go limp and won’t hold their shape when you cook them.
Choose the right shape pan
Unlike normal fruit tatins, this recipe uses a large ovenproof non-stick frying pan so the curves of the pan match the banana shapes. If you haven’t got one, then swirl the caramel base round a shallow baking tin – a Swiss roll tin would be ideal. Gordon recommends using a heavy-bottomed pan for making the caramel to ensure the sugar doesn’t burn before it caramelises.
When making caramel, Gordon always keeps a pastry brush and some cold water handy. If the sugar starts to crystalise, then he dips the brush in the water and brush around the edges to prevent the sauce burning on the sides of the pan.
Try other fruits and flavours
You can flavour the caramel with cardamon or star anise, and any robust fruit will cook well as a tatin. Change the fruit with the seasons; autumnal apples and pears are classic choices, but apricots also work really well, too. Simply drizzle some caramel into blini pans (or muffin cases), add the fruit and tuck in circles of pastry.
The lightest, crispiest tatins which don’t rise too much, are best made by re-rolling any left-over trimmings of puff pastry, as Gordon does in the restaurant – but homemade rough-puff is also perfect. For the best results, make sure you cook these just before serving, although they may be assembled up to 2 hrs ahead.