We got the inspiration for this recipe from the French apple upside-down tart known as tarte Tatin. For our version, we’ve replaced the apples with bananas and infused the caramel with coffee.
What to buy: Look for firm-ripe bananas that are still tinged with a bit of green—if they are too ripe, they’ll turn to mush in the oven.
Special equipment: A 12-inch cast iron skillet is perfect for this recipe; however, if you don’t have one, any heavy-bottomed, oven-safe frying pan will work.
Be sure to have a platter or plate slightly larger than your skillet handy for turning out the tart once it’s cooled. One with a slight lip or rim is preferable, as the caramel tends to spread a little once the tart is unmolded.
Game plan: For a slacker solution, use high-quality store-bought pie dough in place of making your own.
Coffee, cinnamon, or vanilla ice cream for serving
Make dough and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange the rack in the center.
Melt butter over medium-high heat in a 12-inch cast iron skillet or other large, heavy oven-safe pan. Add brown sugar, coffee, cinnamon stick, and lemon zest, stirring continuously until mixture boils. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring frequently, until sugar is completely melted and mixture is thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and lemon zest and discard. Stir in vanilla extract and remove the skillet from heat.
Peel bananas and cut on the bias into 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Add banana slices and lemon juice to syrup mixture and stir gently to coat thoroughly. If desired, arrange banana slices in a decorative pattern.
On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll dough into a round that is just larger than the skillet. Lay it over the banana filling, tucking overhanging dough around the sides. Prick dough with a fork in several places.
Bake until crust is puffed and golden and filling is bubbling around the edges, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit on a wire cooling rack for 15 minutes. Run a spatula around the perimeter of the tart and place a rimmed platter that is slightly larger than the cast iron skillet upside down over the pan. Flip the skillet and plate over to invert the tart. Slice the warm tart into wedges and serve with ice cream.