I've made no secret on this blog of my firm belief that baking is all about association. Call me crazy, but I really do think that it's as deeply rooted in my genetic heritage as my height and eye colour. While I'm sure the scientifically-inclined among you would disagree, a love of baking seems to have trickled down my ancestry as strongly as any dominant strand.
Just as baking comes from my Mum, my criminally sweet tooth is all Dad. The two together make for a very dangerous cocktail, and I suppose this blog is the product. This tart is delicious twist on the French classic, and is the perfect treat for all our hard working dads. Sadly mine has given up sugar which, as Pudding Lane's biggest fan, is really rather impressive.
225g plain flour
pinch of salt
190g unsalted butter
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
100g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
3 firm bananas
To make the rough-puff pastry, combine the flour and salt in a large, clean basin. Cube up the cold butter, then add to the bowl, stirring and chopping it a little using a round-ended knife. Once the butter is well coated in flour, add the lemon juice along with 125ml of cool water. Continue mixing and vaguely chopping with the knife, until the mixture has formed a rough, soft dough.
Tip this onto a well floured surface, and shape roughly into a square. Roll into a rectangle which is roughly 35x20 cm, then fold into thirds. Roll the pastry out again into another rectangle, and repeat the process. Repeat this 4-5 times. Wrap up your pastry in clingfilm, and leave to cool down in the fridge for a few hours, or preferably overnight.
To make the caramel, heat the sugar in a pan with a few tablespoons of water. Be patient with it and don't stir it, it will end in tears and wasted sugar. Hold your nerve and let it bubble for 5-10 minutes, until it goes a golden colour and is starting to become liquid. Add the butter and salt, and shake the pan (no stirring) to combine. Pour into the base of a round oven-proof dish, then cut the bananas into rounds and layer over the caramel.
Roll out your chilled pastry, and cut a circle just bigger than the banana dish. Place on top and tuck around the bananas, then bake at 180C for 40-45 minutes. Your tart is cooked when the pastry is golden and firm to the touch. Flip it onto a plate (beware of hot rogue caramel) as soon as you take it out of the oven.