I recall the first time I encountered Cold Stone Creamery. I was 15. The aroma was intoxicating, I felt like a trope cartoon character, being lured by the scent of fresh waffle cones. I ordered the Banana Caramel Crunch and, to this day, I don't think I've tried any of their other "signature creations". I always felt bad for the 'crew members, if their visors aren't humiliating enough, you can tip them and they'll break out into a song that resembles an army drill while they mash your ice cream together on a cold marble slab (hence cold stone). I loved it so much in my teenage years, that when I worked at a gelato shop, there would be days I would go on break to get a waffle bowl of "like it".
This tart pays homage to my love of bananas, caramel, French vanilla ice cream, and salted roasted almonds. With winter in full swing, I added warm spices and chocolate fudge to make it feel like a classic hot fudge sundae. Homemade hot fudge and caramel sauce recipes are included, but feel free to use store-bought options if you're short on time.
Transform this recipe into a summery banana split by leaving out the spices and topping it with pineapple sauce, vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream.
- 1/ 2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/ 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/ 4 cup golden syrup or maple syrup
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/ 4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon flakey sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon golden rum (optional)
- 1 sheet puff pastry (or gluten-free puff pastry), thawed
- 1/ 4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/ 2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/ 2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/ 8 teaspoon allspice
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- Heavy cream, for brushing
- 5 large bananas (just before turning brown), sliced in half lengthwise
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons demerara sugar, for sprinkling
- Fudge sauce, homemade (above) or store bought
- Caramel sauce, homemade (above) or store bought
- Chopped salted roasted almonds, for serving
- Ice cream of choice (such as French vanilla, chocolate, and salted caramel), for serving
- Whipped cream, for serving
- Maraschino cherries, for serving
To make the fudge sauce:
In a small pot over medium heat, combine the light brown sugar, cream, butter, and salt. Whisk until melted and smooth.
Stir in the golden syup and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil, and then whisk in the cocoa powder. Boil for 3-5 minutes whisking constantly.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extra. Transfer to a container and keep at room temperature until completely cooled. Transfer container to the fridge until ready to use.
To make the caramel sauce:
Add the sugar in an even layer to the bottom of a small stainless steel or aluminum saucepan over medium-high heat. Do not stir for 3-5 minutes.
Use a spatula to gently move around the sugar as it starts to dissolve into itself, about 8 minutes, [Note: The color should be copper and you should be able to clearly see the bottom of the pot.]
Lower the heat and carefully whisk in the butter, until completely emulsified and thick smooth mixture. About 3 minutes.
Carefully pour in the heavy cream, whisking constantly until incorporated. Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove from heat and stir in the flakey salt and vanilla bean paste.
Allow to cool completely at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To make the tart:
Preheat the oven to 375°F degrees.
Roll out the thawed sheet of puff pastry into an 11 x 14 inch rectangle. Lightly dust the top the pastry with flour. [Note: doing this on a sheet of parchment paper works best to make it transferable to the sheet tray.]
Use a ruler to measure out a 1 inch border. Use a sharp knife to score a slit around the sheet, careful to not cut all the way through. Only inside the 1 inch border, use a fork to dock the center of the sheet. Transfer the prepared sheet of puff pastry to a half sheet tray and store in the freezer until ready to assemble
In a small bowl whisk together light brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Set aside
Brush the entire sheet of puff pastry with a layer of heavy cream. Place the sliced bananas into the center of the tart. Brush the bananas with lemon juice. Evenly sprinkle the sugar and spice mixture over the bananas. Do not sprinkle it on the border. Use the raw demerara sugar over the border.
Place the tart into the oven for 35-45 minutes, rotating after every 15 minutes until the border has puffed up around the bananas and is golden brown and the liquid around the bananas is thickened like caramel.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before drizzling with warmed fudge sauce, and caramel. Sprinkle on roasted almonds/
Slice into 6-8 even slices. Top each slice with a scoop of ice cream, whipped cream, and cherries. Serve warm.