The Tatin sisters, creators of that famous caramelized-upside-down apple tart, probably never considered another fruit for the eponymous dessert. Well, I have. I have made mago, peach, fig and banana. All are tasty, although I prefer a Pink lady apple version the most.
Each fruit has a special need to cook it properly. I developed the banana version back in the 1980s when Dough Richardson had the Seaside Banana Farm in La Conchita, CA.
From Wikipedia, "From its opening until its forced closure in 1996, the Seaside Banana Gardens operated by Doug Richardson and his partner Paul Turner, became the most famous attraction in La Conchita. The Gardens were featured in both national and international publications and made La Conchita a landmark along Highway 101. Although horticultural authorities maintained that bananas could not be commercially grown in California, Richardson and Turner proved them wrong by cultivating over 50 exotic varieties. The unique micro climate of the community's location was ideal for this purpose. Many subsequent generations of bananas continue to grow and thrive throughout the home gardens of La Conchita today."
Doug had about 45 banana varieties he was experimenting with at the farm. One called mysore worked particularly well with the tatin style cooking. It is short and has a firm texture that holds up well when cooked and the acidity is higher that the Cavendish banana clone. Just prior to the first Gulf war, I filed a segment for a CNN story on the banana farm. We were preempted by the war and some months later the story was aired.
Serve with whipped cream or a great vanilla bean ice cream.
Chef Michael Hutchings