Banana cream tartlets

Banana cream tartlets

I don’t know how I got here. To banana cream tartlets. What started out as chocolate stout cupcakes somehow turned into maple whiskey muffins, then roasted banana whiskey muffins, then raw banana cream pie, and now: banana cream tartlets. Quite an unusual (and downright frustrating) transition, but I’m thankful for it. Because it made me realize how much I enjoy making pies. No, seriously. If I had to pick one thing to bake for the rest of eternity, it’d be pie.

You’re confused; pie making is the bane of your existence. How could anyone enjoy it? For me, the entire process is theraputic. From pulverizing everything into tiny bits and rolling it out with a big, wooden pin, to vigorously whisking the shit out of some cream and carefully spooning it into each tartlet shell. This process, it calms the waves in my ocean and reminds me that sometimes I just need to get the countertops and space under my fingernails and hair and every saucepan in my kitchen completely filthy, just so I can have a reason to clean and make everything feel new again. And then, when the newness sets in, I’ll sink to the kitchen floor with a piece of pie in my lap – a pie that I crafted, from scratch, with my own two hands – and I’ll dig in and I’ll have never felt more happy or proud to be able to call this my thing. So proud that I want to open the windows and scream to the wanderers below HEY GUYS! I made banana cream tartlets! Without eggs! Or dairy! I WIN!!! But I was too busy shoveling pie into my face to bother with informing anyone of anything.

Pâte brisée in the makingVanilla cream fillingTartlet pansPâte brisée

Then the pie on my plate disappears, along with my pride. The real obstacle awaits: verification from the unofficial master of taste testing. He takes his first bite and I wait anxiously for the seal of approval; the one where he nods his head, mid chew, and attempts to hum an Uh huh with his lips closed tight. He chews and chews and chews and, finally, his eyes dart to mine and he gives me the nod. He swallows, opens his mouth and, without saying a word, takes another bite. And I breathe a sigh of relief because HALLELUJAH! approval from my biggest critic who really doesn’t like vegan versions of desserts that rely so heavily on eggs and dairy.

I win. You win. We all win. So, how about some banana cream pie in tartlet form?

Pâte briséeBanana cream tartletsBanana cream tartlets

Notes:  If you’d prefer to prepare all of the components early, knock yourself out. In fact, I highly recommend it. If you’re not down with using soy milk for the vanilla cream, use lite coconut milk – no rice or almond milk, please. Also, if you’re not using vanilla milk, add 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and 1 extra tablespoon of cane sugar. I added a bit of xanthan gum to the filling to give it a more pudding-like consistency – but if you don’t have any on hand, don’t worry about it. Same goes for the turmeric; I just added it to give the cream a light yellow tint. If you don’t have a food processor, you can prepare the dough by cutting the butter into the flour; just make sure you get it nice and crumbly. It’s important that the butter stays cold, so you may need to freeze the bowl several times while cutting. If you don’t have pie weights, be sure to follow the tip in the recipe. Your tartlet shells will shrink if you don’t weigh them down. Consider yourself warned.

BANANA CREAM TARTLETS

Pâte brisée
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp cane sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
10 tbsp vegan butter, cold
1/4 cup water, ice cold

Vanilla cream filling
1/4 cup cane sugar
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1/4 tsp xanthan gum, optional
Small pinch of turmeric, for color
1 1/3 cups vanilla soy milk

Topping
Coconut whipped cream
3-4 ripe bananas, thinly sliced

Prepare the dough by combining the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor fitted with the S blade; pulse several times to combine. Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the container; blend for about 15 seconds, until the dough looks like coarse meal. Add the water and process just until the dough forms large clumps. To test if the dough is properly combined, press two pieces of it between your fingers. If the pieces stick together, you’re good to go; if not, add an additional tablespoon (or two) of water. Roll the dough into a smooth ball and flatten. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour, or until firm. If desired, you can refrigerate the dough for up to two days, or freeze it for up to one month. Thaw in fridge overnight before using.

While the dough is chilling, prepare the vanilla cream filling. Whisk the sugar, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, and turmeric in a small saucepan. Add 1/3 cup of the milk and whisk until all clumps have dissolved. Set the saucepan over medium heat and add the remaining milk; stir to combine. It will take 5-6 minutes for the filling to start to thicken, so whisk every so often up until then. Once the cream starts to thicken, let it cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, whisking vigorously every 20 seconds or so. From the time you turn on the burner, do not let it cook any longer than 9 minutes. Remove from heat and let filling cool for 30 minutes. Whisk every 5-10 minutes to ensure the cream doesn’t form clumps. Transfer to an air tight container and refrigerate until ready to use. If refrigerating for longer than 1 hour, you may need to whip it with a hand mixer before using. Cream can be refrigerated in an air tight container for up to three days.

Once the dough is firm, line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour. Lightly oil five 4-5″ tartlet pans; set aside. Divide the dough into five even segments and roll them into round balls. Roll out one ball of dough until it is about 1/4″ thick. Fit it to one of the prepared pans, pressing it into the bottom and sides. Sweep the rolling pin over the top of the tartlet pan to crimp the excess dough, then prick the bottom of the dough with a fork. Continue process with each ball of dough. Transfer the tartlet shells to a large baking sheet then cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. During this time, preheat the oven to 375˚F. Once the tartlet shells have chilled, fill them with pie weights (or line with tin foil and fill with rice) and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pie weights and bake for an additional 6-8 minutes, until the edges turn slightly golden. Transfer the baked shells to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

To assemble the tartlets, line each shell with just enough banana slices to cover the bottom (if you’re not going to consume them all immideately, skip this step). Top with vanilla cream then cover with more banana slices. Finish with whipped cream. And more banana slices. Or chocolate. Whatever your belly desires.

Yield: 5 tartlets

  • Kelsey January 15, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    Sweet Jesus, Ash. Um. Gorgeous.

  • Grace Rusch January 15, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    These look incredible. I’m always searching for more dairy free dessert options. My roommate is very skeptical of all vegan desserts but she is lactose intolerant. I don’t get it. Since banana desserts are her favorite I’m going to make these for her upcoming birthday. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Ashley January 15, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    These tartlets! That banana cream filling! Anything banana cream you can sign me up for. And this crust? I’m not usually a big pastry crust fan but it looks so THICK and layered and buttery. Oh yes. Way to go making the cream vegan, too. Love this photo set! But I always love your photos… :)

  • windycityvegan January 15, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    I, too, have an “unofficial master of taste testing.” My Italian husband grew up in a bakery/pizzeria/restaurant, surrounded by amazing food and spoiled rotten by bakers and cooks at every turn. If he gives something an approving nod – or even better, a combo raised-eyebrow-half-smirk – I know I hit the jackpot.

    All of this babbling to say that I’m so glad you’re sharing this recipe! When I saw the photos on Flickr, I actually went out and doubled up on bananas in anticipation of this recipe.

    :) Monika

  • Caitlin January 15, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    you describe just as i feel about making time consuming baked goods. it makes all my issues disappear for two or three hours and afterwards, i have a beautiful thing to call my own. and that biggest critic? yep, i have one of those, too. his approval means the world to me ;)

  • Kier January 15, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    Beautifully delicious looking.

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks January 15, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    I am loving how thick and lovely that vanilla cream looks. The perfect complement to the bananas. And gorgeous crust/dough, too!

  • dana January 15, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. that is all.

  • Meg January 15, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    GIRLLLL this looks so darn good.

  • Chloe Moon January 15, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    How beautiful!!! I love tarts and ooo love banana cream pie!!! It must be so yummy!! =)

    Ergo – Blog

  • The Frosted Vegan January 15, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    Oh my, I’m in LOVE! The seal of approval is always the boy approving!

  • coconutandberries January 15, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    These look fabulous. Must make asap.

  • lysa jordan January 16, 2013 at 1:22 AM

    I love reading your posts. You always make me laugh with your stories. Your pie looks just delicious!

  • Anonymous January 16, 2013 at 6:39 AM

    Yummy! Do you think coconut oil in place of vegan butter would work?

    • Ashlae January 16, 2013 at 6:40 AM

      Nope! Tried it. And it was waaaaay too oily.

  • herbivoretriathlete January 17, 2013 at 12:25 AM

    These are beautiful and I love banana anything! Your stories are one of my favorite parts of your blog along with the gorgeous photography and the fact that your recipes (especially desserts) are already vegan!

  • Joan January 17, 2013 at 3:41 AM

    I want a bite of this right now! Looks amazing.

  • Richa January 17, 2013 at 5:21 AM

    this is another beautiful creation Ashlae! i dont make tartlettes but end up baking a bread. The 10 minute kneading resets my brain to something positive:) but these i have to try. they look so perfect and delicious.

  • Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes January 17, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    So beautiful! I remember the day I made my first perfect pie crust, I was so excited and proud – bread making is to me what pie making is to you, I love the rhythm and process of making bread, so relaxing!

  • Ruthy @ omeletta January 18, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    Dirtying a kitchen just to clean it and feel new again has got to be one of the most refreshing things ever. And your photos are the bomb! Great post.

  • Shira January 19, 2013 at 1:38 AM

    Yummy! These just look like heaven Ashlae! I’ve been meaning to add you to my reader for a while (I found you through Cara)and finally got to it! Love your blog!

  • kankana January 21, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    Ashlae, Banana is probably one of my fav fruit and that pie with the whiny cream on top is making me drool for a bite!

  • Laurel Hammond January 21, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    Hello Ashlae! I found you through a comment you left on the fairy tales are true blog. First off – let me say wow- what an amazing blog. Your recipes have me licking my lips and your photography style is lovely.
    I will add this to my blog roll asap.
    I tracked you down because I read you were planning a three month trip to Europe. I am also taking off on a three month trip and I was wondering if I could pick your brain. PS I am also from Colorado- Grand Junction. :)
    laurelc.hammond@gmail.com

  • Loretta E. January 22, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    Amazing! I’ve been wanting some tart pans for a really long time…This would be a great reason to finally break down and get some!

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe January 22, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    I can barely handle how incredible these look. Banana cream pie is at the top of my list when it comes to desserts, but I rarely eat it and have never made it myself. (Pie making scares me). However, you may have inspired me to face my fears and get to it. There is pie to eat as a reward, after all!

  • Rachel February 2, 2013 at 12:20 AM

    These look absolutely lovely and I am so curious about making that whipped cream. I’ve never tried whipping coconut milk fat. It looks so luxurious. Loooove your blog!

  • izzy eveux February 2, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    This looks absolutely fantastic! Definitely going to try and make these this week.

  • Paula February 7, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Wow. wow. wow. This blog is heaven!!
    Thank you for writing beautiful postings, taking gorgeous photos and coming up with fancy recipes!

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