James Street Cookery School: Go bananas with a tarte tatin and a crème brûlée

Niall's banana tarte tatin – serve with good vanilla ice cream
Niall McKenna

I HAVE recently refurbished our main restaurants James Street South and the Bar and Grill into the one entity – James St. We are now open a couple of weeks and, as with any refurbishment, we have come up with a new menu combining what has been great and so popular about both restaurants into the new James St offering.

One of the best things is working on new menus with the chefs and front of house team. It can get quite hot and heavy with so many viewpoints, but the proof is always in the tasting of the dishes when you can see very quickly from the team’s faces whether some of the new dishes work or not.

One of the star desserts so far has been this banana tarte tatin, which everyone absolutely loves. I'm also sharing another favourite dessert today, a great banana crème brûlée.

For more information on the new premises see our new website


(Serves 4)

80g sugar

30g butter

1 banana, sliced in 1in roundels

1 sheet of puff pastry

Vanilla ice cream to serve


Heat the butter and sugar in a pan over a medium-to-high heat until caramelised. When combined, pour enough into moulds or a pie dish to cover the base. Place the banana roundels in a single layer on top of the caramel. Cut a 5mm thick disc of pastry big enough to cover the dish or mould and then place on top of the banana and caramel and tuck in the edges.

Bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes until the pastry is golden then turn out on to a plate so the banana and caramel is at the top. Serve with a good quality vanilla ice cream.


(Serves 4)

750ml single cream

1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped

6 egg yolks

75g caster sugar

4 bananas, peeled and halved lengthways

75g white sugar for topping

Start by preheating the oven to 160C. Place the cream and the vanilla seeds into a saucepan and heat on a medium heat until it comes to the boil. Once bubbling remove from heat. In a clean bowl, place the egg yolks and caster sugar and whisk until combined. Add to the warm cream mix, place over a medium heat and stir continuously for five minutes until it becomes a custard. Strain into a bowl and set aside.

Place the peeled bananas into shallow crème brûlée dishes and pour over the custard mix until the banana is mostly covered. Place in a high-sided roasting tray and add in some hot water to the tray to create a bain marie. Bake for 30 minutes or until the custard is set.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and place in the fridge to set. When ready to serve cover with one tablespoon of sugar and, using a blow torch, caramelise the sugar. If you don’t have a blowtorch use the highest setting on the grill and leave them under until nicely caramelised. The dishes will be hot so take care when removing them from under the grill.

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