Since we eat mostly from our garden (and the farmers market), we tend to cook simple recipes that highlight the main ingredient. And, to us, that makes sense. If we just spent “x” days/weeks/months growing something, we want to actually see and taste it. But we do like “stretch our legs” every once in a while and engage in some real (read: labor intensive) cooking. And recently we did just that. And it was fun. And this dessert was the star.
So why make a Macadamia Nut Tart? Our friend Scott had a birthday and we had him and Sydney, his awesome wife, over for dinner. Scott is a big fan of the Hali’imaile General Store restaurant in Maui (he even gave us their cookbook, thanks!) and Carolyn and I cooked a dinner from, or at least inspired by, their recipes. We started with a light seafood salad served on nori squares and a picked ginger cocktail sauce and Thai Tuna Tartare with a small salad of shiso and mizuna. Dinner was sesame crusted Opah with coconut rice and curried cabbage (recipe soon). Cocktails started with the Tahitian Postcard, then Zombies and finished with the Otto’s Grotto (recipe soon). That was all good fun, but Scott is a self-described “dessertarian” and Carolyn found this recipe to make sure we had an over-the top-dessert to close out the evening. And a chocolate crust, ringed with macadamia nuts, then filled with macadamia filling and topped with caramelized bananas seemed to fit the bill.
The inspiration for the dessert comes from the Hali’imaile General Store, but Carolyn’s actual recipe is an adaptation of a tart from King Arthur Flour. We like their recipes, as they tend to adapt restaurant-style baking to home kitchens. And in this case, the recipe did not disappoint. While we would never call this “simple” baking, it is less work than you might think and the steps are well-defined. If you like to bake (or have a rainy afternoon to burn) making this recipe is time well-spent. And the tart will certainly taste, and look, great.
The recipe has a few discreet steps. Make a chocolate crust, blind-bake the crust, create a macadamia filling, assemble, bake and then layer on and broil (or torch) the bananas and sugar. Each step is not hard, they just need be done in sequence, and you need to take your time. The only tricky step is broiling or torching the sugar into a crust on top of the bananas- it requires close attention, but is worth the effort. This tart is not an “anytime” dessert, but it is great for special occasions.