I had a bit of leftover shortcrust pastry after making my two cheese and rosemary tart and had a real urge for something sweet after all that cheese. So the leftover pastry was hastily moulded into a (fairly ugly) tart shell and filled with whatever I could find. Imagine my surprise when I took it out of the oven, bit into it and was rewarded a mouthful of yum. A buttery, super short pastry, warm bananas glazed with pure maple syrup and cinnamon and topped with some cold whipped cream. This is all about the pastry, so this time I've included the pastry that I used, because it turned out fantastic and was so buttery and flaky it was almost like puff pastry.
Banana Maple Tartlets
(Includes Stephanie Alexander's shortcrust pastry recipe)
180g unsalted butter
240g plain flour
3 tbsp water
Pinch of salt
Bananas (approx 1 per 1-2 tartlets)
Pure maple syrup
Optional: Whipped cream for serving
(This quantity of pastry will line a 26cm loose bottomed tart tin and will make about 6 medium sized tartlets) Remove the butter from the refrigerator approximately 30 mins before making your pastry. Sieve flour and salt onto a clean, smooth work surface. Chop butter into smallish pieces and toss lightly in the flour. Lightly rub to combine partly. Make a well in the centre and pour in water. Using a pastry scraper, (and being mindful of the technique you have observed of mixing cement), work paste into a very rough heap of butter lumps of dough. (I don't have a pastry scraper, so I just sort of combined this using my hands and it worked out fine)
Using the heel of your hand quickly smear pastry away from you across the workbench. It will combine lightly. Gather together, then press quickly into a flat cake and dust with a little flour. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 20-30 mins. When required, roll out pastry dusting generously with flour. If you are using a big tart tin or smaller tartlet tins, roll out the pastry, then wrap it around the rolling pin and let it unroll over the tin. Press it into the edges of the tin wel and trim the pastry a tiny bit higher than the edges of the tin and fold the extra bit over the edge (this will help prevent shrinkage). If you're not using a tin, cut your pastry into equal portions (say 6 or so), roll out and use a sharp knife to cut out your tart bases and roll the leftover scraps into a thin long strip to use as the borders of your tart which you can press onto the tops of your tart bases after lightly brushing the edges of the base with some water. Chill or freeze your tart cases for at least 20 minutes before baking.
5 cent coins. Take care if you are using the coins as they are dirty, and get really hot. So don't touch them with your hands and don't let them touch the pastry! Bake the pastry at 200 degrees C for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5 minutes. Slice bananas thinly and arrange on top of your pastry, drizzle with a generous amount of maple syrup and lightly dust the tops with cinnamon. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes.