Recipe: Mauritian Banana Tart

Don’t let the startling geometry fool you. Today’s Banana Tart is for those who like mellow desserts. Big bites of health. An entire banana tree in the belly, topped off with delicate lattice goodness.

I know. It’s craziness.

You can thank the dreamy island of Mauritius, way out in the Indian Ocean, for teaching me this ingenious way to use up ripe bananas. The ingredient list is so simple and pure, I almost can’t believe it. Bananas, barely a smattering of brown sugar, a pinch of salt, and a vanilla bean.

That’s it.

Let’s just say I’d be proud to serve this tart to the tiniest tot.

Now, if you’ll kindly excuse me, I’ll be in the corner, daydreaming about going back in time so I can bring this tart to Ava’s first birthday party. The dense mashed banana would have made a fantastic, healthy first birthday “cake” (you could probably even leave the sugar out without harming the taste – just use very ripe bananas).

P.S. If you’d rather, you can always fly to Mauritius, where you’ll find tray after tray of the pretty tarts in the local bakeries. Just save me a few.

Port Louis, Mauritius. Photos by Simisa & Thierry


1 recipe prepared pie dough

10 bananas
4 tbsp brown sugar (more if bananas aren’t very sweet)
scrapings of 1 vanilla bean
pinch salt

red, blue, and yellow food coloring (optional)

egg wash:

1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp water


Get your monkey fingers ready. We’re going to peel a bushel of bananas. Place the peeled bananas in a large mixing bowl.

Next, scrape out the vanilla bean and add its black, sparkling caviar to the bananas along with the brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Enjoy the glorious aroma. Smile.

Now, mash everything together a bit (you can leave the bananas somewhat chunky). Then cook the mixture in a pot over medium/low heat for  20-30 minutes, or until quite dried out and thickened. Stir frequently to avoid burning, lowering heat as needed.

In a small bowl, mix together one drop each of the red, yellow and blue food coloring to make brown. Adjust as needed to get the exact color you’d like. Then, stir the color into the banana mixture – a little at a time – until darkened enough to stand out from the wheat-colored crust.

Preheat the oven to 350F and set the banana mixture aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, roll out 1/2 the prepared pie dough and line the bottom of an 8″ tart pan.  Add the banana filling, using a spatula to smooth the top of the mixture as much as possible (it is nice if the tart has a slightly domed shape).

Next, roll out the rest of the dough and, using a ruler, cut long strips.  

Criss cross the strips over each other without stretching the dough. If you stretch it, it will spring back while baking and pull away from the edges when baked. Use your thumb to seal each strip against the edge of the tin and press off extra dough.

Don’t forget to nibble the extras. I won’t tell.

Brush with egg wash and bake until golden (about 45 minutes).

I like this tart any which way – warm, room temperature or chilled. It’s all good.Enjoy, and if you have a sweet baby to share the tart with, even better.

Happy bananas to you!

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  1. You made one amazing looking tart girl! Sounds like a great new way to use up ripe bananas, finally an alternative to banana bread (as much as I love it). Did you know, by the way, that monkeys open bananas from the tip instead of the stem? I tried and it actually makes perfect sense. :o)

  2. John Goodenow says:

    Could chopped nuts or dried fruit be added to the bananas for texture, or is the tart quite firm?

    • Sasha Martin says:

      You could play around with this for sure….raisins might be nice, but nuts might be too much of a contrast the the filling. It’s thicker and denser than chocolate pudding pie – I can’t even think of what to liken it to. Maybe playdough (ha ha)… jk.

  3. The secret is in the scraped vanilla bean – finally a way to use this…other than sticking in a container of sugar….

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Oh, no – it doesn’t go in the tart… just the caviar does. We’ll have to find another way, another time!

  4. Anything banana and I’m there…this is so simple and gorgeous! Interesting trick with the food coloring.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Yes – I almost added it straight to the bananas, and then I thought… hmm… this could be dangerous ha. In Mauritius they use some sort of gravy browner (which I believe they also use in places like England and Australia). I didn’t see any in Tulsa, although who knows, I may have missed it.

      • Do you think adding a bit of cocoa instead could work for colour? Too much flavour, maybe? I could track down the gravy browner since I live in England I guess, but it sounds way more dangerous than a bit of food colouring. Thank you :)

        • Sasha Martin says:

          I think it would be a great addition flavor-wise. You could always stir a drop into a small spoonful of the cooked mixture, taste it and… if you like it, add some to the rest.

  5. Your daughter is an awesome writer! I love her style.

    Thank you,

    Stephanie Maggiani
    Senior Assistant Manager
    Boston College Dining Services

  6. We gotta share this! It really looks delicious!

  7. elisa waller says:

    wow..amazing! I usually freeze my old bananas..and wait for those moment to make a banana bread…I wonder if those bananas would be ok to use in this pie, as they are’nt what you would call “freshly ripe” and hey ..I gotta share this with Chiquits bananas facebook page…. <3

  8. Leigha Huston says:

    This was absolutely wonderful Sasha. I had my mom and 12 year old sister try it too – they both enjoyed! Beautiful and tasty… or good ;)

    Thank you for sharing!

  9. Thanks for sharing this banana tart to the world. This was in fact the first thing that I learnt to bake as a kid in Mauritius. Never heard of the gravy browner in cakes. We use the Madagascan vanilla extract for flavour and colour or a spoonful of muscavado sugar for colour.
    I also add some grated coconut and a spoonful of dark rum to my banana mix. This tart brings some childhood memories. Thanks x

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