Pear, Banana, and Dark Rum Tart - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Pear, Banana, and Dark Rum Tart

Dark rum gives this tart and extra layer of warmth and deliciousness.

For Alex Guarnaschelli, a regular judge on Chopped who’s worked as a chef and led restaurant kitchens for decades, her true food education began at home. Her mother was a cookbook editor, and every year meant exploring a new cuisine. With her new book, Cook with Me, Guarnaschelli pays homage to her family with dishes like this boozy banana tart, created for her dad, who waited tables for a couple of years after school. “He was, as he proudly described it, ‘the main flambé captain in the dining room of the Garden City Hotel.’ That meant he was in charge of cooking all of the classic desserts tableside: cherries jubilee, crêpes suzette, and, his favorite, bananas Foster,” writes Guarnaschelli. Her take on the dessert encapsulates the classic flavors in an easy-to-serve tart topped with spiced, caramelized pears. “The banana-rum filling replaces a more traditional cream filling with a fruity and slightly boozy center.”

Ingredients

  • CRUST:
  • 6 Tbsp. (3⁄4 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 Tbsp. at room temperature for greasing the pan
  • 1 1⁄2 cups (12 to 14 oz.) slivered almonds, finely ground in a food processor
  • 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
  • FILLING:
  • Scant 1⁄2 cup dark rum
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 medium-size ripe bananas, peeled Kosher salt
  • PEARS:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 6 medium-size ripe Bosc or Anjou
  • pears (about 2 1⁄2 pounds), unpeeled, halved, and cored
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • Whipped cream or ice cream, for serving

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Grease the sides and bottom of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with the room-temperature butter.

Make the crust: In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, ground almonds, and granulated sugar until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the crumbs to the buttered tart pan and spread them out evenly, using the bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup to press the crumbs into a solid, even layer over the bottom of the pan and up the sides. (The sides are not high on this tart; the crumbs should rise just high enough to hold the fruit—they may not reach the top of the pan.) Place the tart pan on a sheet pan, put it in the oven on the center rack, and bake until the crust is firm and golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove the tart pan from the oven and set it aside; keep the oven on.

Make the rum mixture: In a small saucepan, combine the rum, brown sugar, and vanilla. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and stir to dissolve the brown sugar. Shut off the heat and cover the pan to keep the mixture warm.

Finish the filling: In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, then cook, swirling the pan often, until the white bits on the bottom of the pan turn light brown and the butter smells nutty, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the whole bananas, arranging them in a single layer. Sprinkle the bananas with a tiny pinch of salt and cook on one side until they have softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn them over and cook for an additional minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the rum mixture over the bananas. Add 2 tablespoons of water, return the skillet to the heat, and cook until the bananas become tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Mash the bananas into the rum mixture with the tines of a fork, and set it aside to cool.

Cook the pears: In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the granulated sugar over low heat until it melts and turns a very light brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Carefully remove the skillet from the heat and add the molasses, cinnamon, and ginger. Arrange the pear halves, flesh-side down, in a single layer on top. Return the skillet to medium heat and cook, moving the pears around from time to time with a wooden spoon, until they brown and start to soften, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the vinegar and carefully transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until the pears are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 8 to 10 minutes. (Pears vary in cooking time according to ripeness and variety; when they are cooked, the knife will slip in and out of the pears with little effort.) Remove the skillet from the oven and set it aside to cool.

Assemble the tart: Remove the ring from the edge of the tart pan. Place the tart crust (still attached to the pan bottom) on a serving platter. Spoon the banana-rum filling into the crust, leaving a 1-inch border. Top with the pears in a single layer, flesh-side up, and pour the cooking liquid from the pears over them. Let the tart set for about 1 hour at room temperature before serving. Serve the tart at room temperature, topping each slice with whipped cream or ice cream. Leftover tart will keep in the refrigerator for a day or two. Serves 10-12.

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