Bananas In-Between


I tend to fall on the ubiquitous banana in-between seasons, such as now when the stone fruits and melons are coming to a bland close. I’ve eaten a local apple or two but I’m still not ready to commit to the fruits of fall. I’ll be eating bushels of them soon enough. This leads me to the banana.

Such a reliable character in the produce section. I have not one person in my life who speaks badly about the banana. Melon, my husband won’t touch. Raw berries still sometimes pack a too tart of a punch for me. Rarely does an apricot surprise us with incredible deliciousness.   The banana waits beside these fruits all year long on the sloped wooden shelf. I forget to look.

We’ve developed a small pile of brown bananas in our kitchen counter fruit bowl. The fruit flies swarm in celebration, and again I forget to look. Until yesterday, I haphazardly baked them into oat and buttermilk muffins and even crunched some pecan streusel on top for good measure. But beyond muffins, they would be very happy in a smoothie or tossed quickly into a raita, that refreshing yogurt-based condiment to spiced Indian foods.   Better, highlight them in a (rather simple) upside down tart. If none of the above sounds fair, you could do what most folks do, simply peel and bite down.

Caramelized Fruit Skillet Tart

Serves 8

3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter

½ cup packed dark brown sugar

3 cups fruit (chopped into 1/2 inch cubes) such as pineapple,

apple, pear, nectarine, mango, banana or any berries

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup whole wheat flour (or additional all-purpose flour)

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

¾ cup white sugar

1 large egg

¾ cup plain, whole-milk yogurt (or buttermilk)


Turn on the oven to 375 degrees and position a rack in the middle. Melt the butter in a large (10-inch) skillet, with an ovenproof handle, preferably nonstick, over medium heat. Swirl the butter in the skillet until it turns nut-brown, then pour it into a medium-large bowl. Without wiping out the skillet, sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bottom. Top with the fruit in an even layer.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add the white sugar to the browned butter and whisk until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the egg, then yogurt. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ones and stir only to combine.

Pour the batter evenly over the fruit in the skillet. Slide the skillet into the oven and bake about 35 minutes, until the tart is golden brown and springy to the touch at the center. Remove and let cool 10 minutes.

Invert a plate over the skillet, then, holding the plate and skillet firmly together with towels or pot holders, invert the two in one swift movement. Remove the skillet, and the tart is ready to serve.