Wow guests! Banana tartlets with mascarpone cream and praline

A crowd-pleasing gourmet dessert to try at your next party!

Recipe from MKR: Best of the Best Cookbook (RRP $39.99), published by Hachette Australia. Get 30% off* the RRP - Order your copy here

Ingredients:

1 tsp Bundaberg rum
250g mascarpone
4 tsp golden syrup
Raspberries, to serve

Pastry
125g unsalted butter, chopped, at room temperature
50g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
250g plain flour, sifted
A pinch of salt

Pastry cream
250ml milk
1¼ tsp vanilla bean paste
40g caster sugar
20g cornflour
2 egg yolks
A pinch of salt

Macadamia Praline
25g macadamia nuts, toasted and finely chopped
100g sugar
50ml water

Caramelised Banana
20g unsalted butter
10g brown sugar
2 firm ripe bananas, peeled and cut into 5mm slices

Directions:

1. To make the pastry, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until lightly creamed, then gradually drizzle in the egg until combined. Stir in the flour and salt until the mixture just comes together to form a dough. Cover in cling film and refrigerate for at least 90 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, gently stir the rum into the mascarpone and refrigerate until required.

3. To make the pastry cream, heat the milk and vanilla bean paste in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, without boiling, until hot. Remove from the heat.

4. Whisk the sugar, cornflour, egg yolks, salt and 60ml of the milk mixture in a medium bowl to form a smooth paste. Gradually whisk in the remaining milk mixture. Transfer the mixture to the same saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, for 2–3 minutes, or until thickened. Pass through a coarse strainer or sieve into a large bowl, then cover with cling film and refrigerate until cold.

5. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease 4 x 8cm-round loose-based tart pans.

6. Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper until 3mm thick. Cut out 4 x 11cm rounds and use to line the prepared pans. Roll a rolling pin over the tops of the pans to trim the edges and prick the bases with a fork. Reserve the remaining pastry for another use.

7. Bake for 11–12 minutes, or until golden, then cool completely. Spread the base of each tart shell with 1 teaspoon of golden syrup. Beat the pastry cream vigorously to loosen, then pipe or spoon into the tart shells.

8. Meanwhile, to make the praline, line an oven tray with baking paper. Spread the nuts on the tray in a single layer. Stir the sugar and water in a medium-sized heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, without boiling, until the sugar has dissolved. Use a wet pastry brush to brush down any stray sugar crystals on the side of the pan.

Bring the mixture to the boil and boil, without stirring, for 7–8 minutes, or until golden brown. Carefully pour the caramel over the nuts on the prepared tray. Cool until set, then break into pieces and process in a food processor until coarsely chopped.

9. To make the caramelised bananas, melt the butter and sugar in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the bananas and cook, turning occasionally, for 5–10 minutes, or until golden brown.

10. To serve, place the tarts on four serving plates and top with the bananas. Serve with mascarpone, praline and raspberries.

Tips:

The tarts can be made and filled with syrup and pastry cream several hours in advance. Store, covered in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and top with the freshly cooked bananas to serve.