After a week long adventure into the deep dark belly of Utah (aka Provo) I was anxious to get back home. While in Utah I met my new aunt, who successfully wooed me with an amazing recipe for a to-die-for carrot cake.
Now that everyone is back home, it is time to try out some new recipes. I opted for a pumpkin/banana mousse tort (from my favorite food network personality: Ina Garten).
I figured that my long standing affection for bananas combined with my unconditional love for pumpkin would produce an offspring I could not resist.
While the pumpkin/banana tort was delicious, banana stole the show while pumpkin was a tardy caboose. The tort is good, but not the pumpkin/banana love child I was dreaming of.
For the crust:
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (14 crackers)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 extra-large egg yolks
- 1 package (2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
- 1 ripe banana, finely mashed
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1/2 cup cold heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
For the decoration:
- 1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Orange zest, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter in a bowl and mix well. Pour into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and press evenly into the sides and then the bottom. Bake for 10 minutes and then cool to room temperature.
For the filling, heat the half-and-half, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until hot, about 5 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl, stir some of the hot pumpkin into the egg yolks to heat them, then pour the egg-pumpkin mixture back into the double boiler and stir well. Heat the mixture over the simmering water for another 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly. You don't want the eggs to scramble. Remove from the heat.
Dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. Add the dissolved gelatin, banana, and orange zest to the pumpkin mixture and mix well. Set aside to cool.
Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture and pour it into the cooled tart shell. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.
For the decoration, whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Pipe or spoon the whipped cream decoratively on the tart and sprinkle, if desired, with orange zest. Serve chilled.