Do you like the caramelized taste and soft gooey texture of the inside of a fried banana? If you do, you need to make this recipe. And bonus if you love coconut like I do because it adds a great chewiness to go with the gooey-liciousness of the banana filling. The only thing I had trouble with was the tart crust. I'm insecure about my pie-crust-making abilities so I followed the directions to the letter, including not adding too much liquid as the author warned the crust would be soupy if too much liquid was added. But although I added a little more than 3 tablespoons of heavy cream, I don't think that was enough. The dough held together when I gathered it into a ball and smooshed it together to chill but it fell apart when I tried to roll it out. As in, it fell apart and mocked me. So I gave up on rolling it out and ended up patching pieces together and smoothing the dough into each mini-tart pan. It was filled with the banana-coconut filling so it turned out okay and you couldn't tell my Frankenstein job with the dough. Plus it was nice and flaky and a perfect complement to the filling. Thumbs up.
The pie crust recipe ended up covering 4 individual-sized tart pans and the filling recipe was enough for 5 so I made the 5th one crustless in a ramekin I normally use for creme brulee since it was approximately the same size and shallow depth as my tart pans.
Flaky Pie Crust
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup chilled vegetable shortening
3 tablespoons ice-cold heavy cream or evaporated milk, more or less as needed
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, slightly beaten
½ cup milk
1 ripe banana, mashed and peeled
1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut
1. Make the pie crust: Sift the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles a bowl of sweet peas. Tossing the mixture with a fork, sprinkle in the cream or milk 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue tossing until the dough holds together when lightly pressed.
2. With lightly floured hands, loosely gather the dough into a flat ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 350⁰F.
4. Make the filling: In a medium-size bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Beat in the egg, milk and banana until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of the coconut.
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until 1/8” thick. Cut the dough into 12 circles about 1 inch larger than the mini tart pans you’ll be using. Line the pans with the circles of dough and trim the edges even with the top of the pan.
6. Spoon the filling into the shells and bake until the tarts are a light toasty brown, about 20 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of baking time, sprinkle the remaining ½ cup coconut on a cookie sheet. Put in the oven with the tarts and let brown, watching so it doesn’t burn. When the coconut is toasted, about 5 minutes, take out of the oven. Take the tarts out of the oven and sprinkle the toasted coconut on top of each one. Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.