Banana Pie or Banana Tarte Tatin?
What is a tarte tatin?
A tarte tatin is a pie that is made upside down. Most people think the term tarte tatin refers only to a French apple pie, as this is the most famous version of a tarte tatin. However, you can make a tarte tatin with any fruit. You can even make a savory version with vegetables. See for instance my recipes for a Belgian Endive Pie and a Tomato Tarte Tatin.
A tarte tatin usually starts by caramelizing your featured fruit or vegetable in a little butter and sugar in a pan. Next you roll out dough on top of the fruit or vegetables placed nicely in a baking dish, tucking the edges of the dough inwards to catch any spillover juices. Then pop the pie into the oven to bake until the dough becomes golden brown. Once the pie cools slightly, flip it over onto a plate so the caramelized fruit or vegetables appear on top.
In short, a tarte tatin is an upside-down pie. It’s nevertheless a pie. So this dessert is both a Banana Pie and a Banana Tarte Tatin. No matter what you call it, this pie is delicious and easy to make.
How else can you make this Banana Pie?
In this recipe, I use a pâte brisée (pastry crust) for the crust. I like the contrast between a firmer crust and the softer, stickier caramel banana filling.
However, if you prefer a flakier crust, try making this pie with a quick puff pastry crust. Or try a denser shortcake base to absorb the juices from the caramelized bananas. See for instance, Nigel Slater’s Banana Shortcake recipe, which resembles this recipe.
Chocolate and Nuts are perfect additions to this Banana Pie. Add the walnut or pecan pieces at the end of the caramelization process so they incorporate fully in the melted caramel.
Chocolate, however, is best added to the bottom of the pie dish, with the bananas placed on top. This way, when you flip over the pie there will be melted chocolate on top of the caramelized bananas.
How to Serve the Banana Pie
Banana Pie is delicious served warm. You can make the Banana Pie in advance and then heat it in the oven before serving. No need to heat it too much as the flavors come out best when warm, not steaming hot.
Serving a warm piece of Banana Pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or with a dab of sweetened whipped cream is really perfect. Ice cream or whipped cream pairs nicely with the banana and adds a cooler touch to the warm pie.
Banana Pie (or Banana Tarte Tatin)
- 2/3 pastry crust (homemade or store-bought)
- 4 bananas slightly under ripe
- 2 tbsp lemon juice from one lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 55 g butter
- 140 g raw cane sugar or white sugar
- Prepare two-thirds of a recipe of pastry crust or use store-bought dough. Although you will only need two-thirds of the pastry crust dough, you can use the remaining dough to make another pastry treat or to freeze for another time.
- Preheat the oven to 350º F (175º C)
- Slice the bananas in bias or diagonal cuts. You can also cut them in rounds, but the bias or diagonal cuts offer more surface to caramelize. However, it's up to you. Place the banana slices in a bowl.
- Squeeze a lemon and pour the juice onto the banana slices. Gently make sure all slices are coated with juice. The lemon juice will help prevent the bananas turning brown. It will also enhance the flavors of the bananas. Add the vanilla and blend with the bananas.
- In a frying pan over medium heat melt the butter. Add the sugar and continue to heat until it dissolves. Continue over heat until the butter and sugar begin to caramelize. Don't overheat, as the buttery caramel sauce will cook more during the baking process in the oven.
- Reduce the heat to low. Add the banana slices to the frying pan, without crowding too much. If you need to, you can slightly cook the banana slices in two batches. Cook only until the banana slices to start turning soft, without cooking them through. It's important that the slices remain in tact.
- In a 9 inch (23 cm) pie dish, arrange the bananas in concentric circles, making sure the entire surface is covered. Once the first layer is finished, use the remaining bananas to add a second layer of concentric circles. If you have extra slices of bananas, add them on top.
- Pour all the caramel sauce over the banana slices.
- Roll out the pastry crust dough on a floured surface. Fold the dough over the rolling pin and then gently lay it on top of the pie dish with the bananas. Tuck the edges of the dough along the inside edges of the pie dish.
- Place the pie dish into the preheated oven. Bake for thirty minutes or until the crust becomes golden brown.
- Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool a little so the caramel starts to solidify a bit. Otherwise, the caramel will spill everywhere when you flip the pie over. When it's ready to flip, place a serving dish on top of the pie dish, pass a knife along the edges, and then flip it over so the crust lies on the bottom and the fruit on top. Serve warm. Reheat later if needed.