I JUST GOT BACK from a quick trip to Philadelphia, which was cold and wonderful and filled with steaming mugs of chai and full-on, full-throated laughs with friends. My hands are still not quite recovered from the sudden plunge into the low 40s (luckily, shea butter comes quickly and ably to the rescue), but it was a lovely trip and I am so glad I got to spend it meeting up with old friends and newer friends, and catching up with a city I adore.
And now, with Thanksgiving approaching, I’m back in Texas and I’m planning dessert.
I made this tart a couple of weeks ago — I was hoping for a slightly different result than what I ended up with (sometimes, planning is so not my forte), but it turned out to be wildly popular with the neighbors and my mother. I’ll be making it as my contribution to the Thanksgiving potluck we’ve been invited to, and it really is an easy, satisfying tart. Good for dessert, teatime, or breakfast, it’s ready to be enjoyed all by itself or with a dollop of whipped cream on top.
Pumpkin Surprise Tart
The secret to this pie is the caramelized bananas. When I planned it out, I thought I’d be able to lay the bananas on top of the tart as decoration, but when I actually poured them from the skillet onto the soft pumpkin filling, they sank. Whoosh! There went that brilliant idea. Instead of throwing up my hands and grieving my plan, I swirled them into the tart filling and voilà: pumpkin surprise tart.
- 1 banana, peeled and sliced into rounds about 1/4 inch thick
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup cream (or half & half)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or bourbon, if you want)
- 1 can pumpkin puree
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 3/4 cup buttermilk (I used a yoghurt & milk mixture since I didn’t have any buttermilk on hand, and it worked perfectly: 1/4 cup yoghurt mixed with 3/4 cup milk, and then take the 3/4 cup needed for the recipe)
Preheat oven to 350F. Set oven rack in lowest setting.
Roll dough out onto a floured surface. Line tart pan and sever excess dough from the sides; patch as necessary. Set aside.
For the bananas, spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and add the bananas. Cook for about 1 minute over medium heat, just so they sear. Add the remaining ingredients — except for the vanilla (or bourbon) — and cook over medium heat, stirring gently, for about 3 minutes. The sauce will begin to thicken, reduce, brown, and caramelize. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Set aside.
For the filling, place the pumpkin puree in a bowl and whisk in the eggs. In order, whisk in the remaining ingredients.
You have a choice now, about presentation. Either spoon the caramelized bananas into the tart shell, then pour the filling on top (which would be very orderly of you) — or pour the filling into the tart shell, then spoon the caramelized bananas on top. As the bananas sink into the filling, swirl them through, so that they are more or less evenly distributed through the filling, but will still pop up as surprising accents as it is eaten. (Personally, since I did call this a surprise tart, I’m going to go with option 2.)
Bake at 350F until dough is baked through and the filling is set, about 40-50 minutes. Cool on a rack, then chill briefly. Top with whipped cream if you are so inclined, and enjoy!