banana-butterscotch cream tarts

These. are. RIDICULOUS.  Not just a little.  They are majorly ridiculous.

You want to make these.  Today.  Right now.  Seriously.

Remember how enthusiastic I was about those ginger-molasses lemon cookies?  That’s kinda how I feel about this.  Only … they are totally not the same.

Where the cookie is chewy and sweetly tart, these tarts are creamy and sweet.  Really sweet.

Bananas.  Butterscotch.  Whipped cream.  Winner … Oh yes.  Holy heck yes!

I would tweek one thing about this recipe … the size.  Holy heck – 4-inch tarts are too big.  It took 5 of us to eat one.  Mind you we’d all just eaten some monkey bread … but still.  2-inch tarts would do.  They would hit the spot.  They would be perfect to offer on your holiday buffet.  How about you make these for tomorrow night.  You know you want to impress people, but you don’t want to spend another entire day in the kitchen slaving away.  So don’t.  Make these and get outside.  Enjoy the snow.  Or curl up with that book you got for Christmas.  Basically – this is the perfect dessert to make, assemble and then … chillax.

Let’s do it!

Be forewarned – this tart is made in three steps.  Steps one and two can be completed very quickly and can be refrigerated up to 2 days before finishing it.  The third step needs to be done the same day as you are serving this dessert.  So plan accordingly.

fyi – this is another David Lebovitz recipe.  His genius astounds me.  Oh how I heart his book, website, recipes.  I hope you have started to heart him too.

banana – butterscotch cream tarts

ingredients:

crust

1 1/2 c. crushed chocolate cookie crumbs and graham cracker crumbs (combo)

3 tbsp sugar

4 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Generously spray your mini tart pans (or a 10-inch pie plate) with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, chocolate cookie crumbs, sugar and melted butter together.  You’re looking to get a moistened, almost muddy texture (take it from a sandy texture to a muddy one).  If making small individual tarts (12 x 2-inch mini, 5 x 4-inch medium), evenly divide the cookie base between them – patting the mixture into the bottoms and sides of each tart pan.  If making the larger tart, simply pat the mixture evenly across the base of the pie pan and up the sides.

Refrigerate or freeze for 30 minutes.

Bake the crust until it feels slightly firm, about 6 minutes (mini), 8 minutes (medium), and 10 minutes (large).

Let cool completely.

Make the filling.

filling:

1 c. packed brown sugar

2 tbsp butter

3 tbsp cornstartch

1 1/2 c. whole milk

1/2 tsp salt

3 egg yolks, whisked together

2 tsp rum (sailor jerry’s of course)

1 tsp vanilla

3 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces

Combine the brown sugar and butter together in a small saucepan.  Stir while the butter melts.  Once melted, pour into a large bowl.  Set a strainer across the top of the bowl.  Set aside.

Grab a small bowl.  Whisk together the cornstarch with just enough of the milk to make a smooth slurry (David’s words … not mine.  Basically you want the cornstarch to dissolve and create a thin paste – similar to thick honey, not tomato paste).

Now … grab your medium saucepan (I promised easy – not easy on the dishes!) and heat the remaining milk and the salt.  When the milk gets hot, stir in the cornstarch – whisking everything together.  Cover over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken and boil.  It doesn’t smell great … not at this point anyway.

Whisk a small amount of the milk/cornstarch mixture into the beaten egg yolks.  Whisk quickly and drizzle the warm mixture slowly … it’ll prevent curdling of the egg yolks.  Once tempered, return the egg-yolk mixture into the medium saucepan – returning it to the heat.

Cook, again, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil and resembles mayonnaise (thickness).  Pour it through the strainer into the brown-sugar butter mixture (the strainer will catch any of those lumps and curdled pieces).

Add the vanilla and rum.  Whisk to combine.

Scatter the slices of banana in the base of the tart pans.

Pour the butterscotch filling into the crust, covering the bananas.  Cover the tarts and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (I left mine overnight).  This is when you should (1) go play outside or (2) curl up with a book.  Relax.  You’re almost done.

When you are ready to serve the tart – work on the topping.  You need to pull out your rum for this portion as well :0)

topping:

1 c. heavy cream

1 tbsp powdered sugar

2 tbsp rum (again… sailor jerry’s)

1 tsp vanilla

chocolate sprinkles to garnish

You haven’t had to use a stand-mixer or hand-mixer yet.  Now you do … unless you’d like to whisk.  If you do – then by all means … giver!

In the bowl of your stand-mixer, whisk the heavy cream on high speed until it begins to forth.  Add the sugar, rum, and vanilla, continuing to whisk until the cream holds peaks.  You want a pretty stiff cream.

Spoon the whipped cream into a large piping bag.  Now pipe each tart … creating a beautiful, creamy topping.  Sprinkle with the chocolate sprinkles.

Done.

Festive and beautiful.  And not too difficult!  In the course of an afternoon you’ve created an amazing dessert AND enjoyed some quality relaxing time.

Brilliant.  Perfect to celebrate the end of 2010 and the beginning of a new year.

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butter and scotch… well kinda, sorta….



Last week was all about getting myself into the holiday spirit. What better way than by baking cookies? Cookies are the ultimate in holiday goodies. There’s nothing better than making the perfect cookie and sharing it with friends and loved ones.

Deciding on cookies was the easy part. Then I starting thinking about what flavour combination I wanted to play around with. Butterscotch reminds me of the holidays. So I decided to tweak a tried and true recipe (Chocolate Damnation Cookies) and swap out the pecans and dried cranberries in that recipe with butterscotch chips for this one.

With the recipe sorted out I then had to remember another key component of baking cookies; it’s all about that perfect bite.

With these cookies it really is all about under cooking them just a wee bit… a gooey centre to bite your teeth into is always a good thing! These are already being handed out to friends and loved ones… my friend Jeff is a real fan (so is his office).

The one thing about these cookies… the batter needs to chill at least 60 minutes (or up to 3 days) in the fridge before you can shape the dough and bake them. Just factor in that extra “prep” time… and you’re good to go! Oh, and by using the salted butter you don’t need to add any additional salt to this recipe ;0)

Chocolate Butterscotch-Chip Cookies
ingredients:
10 squares of semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 c. salted butter, room temperature
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 c. dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. butterscotch-chips

Melt the chocolate in a saucepan (small pot) over medium-low heat, stirring continuously (so that the chocolate doesn’t burn). Once completely melted, set the pot aside and start on the rest of the batter.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda.

With your mixer, cream together the butter and sugars together (paddle attachment) – start at a lower speed (2) and then increase to a medium speed (4 or 6) to create that pale, fluffy look. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs (one at a time) and then the vanilla until everything is very blended. Beat in the melted chocolate.

Stop your mixer and add the flour mixture to the batter. Turn your mixer to the stir speed and slowly incorporate all the flour into the chocolate. Toss in the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips and turn on the mixer so that they distribute evenly into the batter (about 30 seconds). Cover the bowl and allow to chill for at least 60 minutes in your fridge (it will firm up). Easy eh?

When you’re just about ready to bake these babies… preheat your oven to 350 F. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Shape the dough into golf sized-balls – it’s easiest to form them with your hands; pull up your sleeves and get your hands a little dirty, it’s fun!

Place them about 2 inches apart – I got about 8 cookies per cookie sheet; and bake for 13 minutes – you want them to just set; soft cookies are good. Leave them on the cookie sheet for an extra two minutes (once out of the oven) and they will firm up a bit without getting too hard. Cool completely on a wire rack.

I got 25 cookies. If you decided to make small cookies (using a mini ice-cream scooper) you’ll get 4 dozen cookies and you should bake them for about 7-8 minutes.

Whichever size you decide on, you’ll end up with lots to share and even more people with huge smiles on their faces (oh, and a great smelling kitchen)!

Enjoy… and happy beginning of the season! :0)