My friend Mychael pretty much wins at life. After living in South America for a few years he moved to the island of Kauai to help his mother open a little hotel off the beaten path. They've transformed their little corner of the island into a total refuge — none of the craziness of the resorts and all of the laidback vibes that make Kauai so special.
Yes, the atmosphere of The Palmwood — jacuzzis under the stars, bikes to head to the nearby secret beach — is super special but I loved their breakfast, especially this Croissant Banana Tarte Tatin that Mychael's mom (aka "Auntie" Eddi) just whipped up on a whim. It has all the amazingness of a Tarte Tatin with half the effort and the added benefit that it's made with croissants and those croissants get dipped in custard! So, it's a sort of hybrid dish that's part Tarte Tatin, part bread pudding, and 100% phenomenal, just like the Palmwood.
or coconut milk
peeled and halved lengthwise
or whipped coconut cream or whipped creme fraiche, for serving
Heat oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Combine the whole eggs, egg yolks, milk, brown sugar, vanilla extract, kosher salt, and pinch of cardamom in a large bowl and whisk until eggs are broken up and custard is smooth. Set aside.
Melt butter in an 8-inch cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Stir in granulated sugar and cook, swirling skillet occasionally, until mixture turns medium amber, about 3 minutes. Arrange bananas cut-side down in skillet, overlapping slightly. Scatter macadamia nuts over the top then cook, without stirring for another 3 minutes. Meanwhile, dip the cut croissants into the custard mixture then let excess custard drip off. Arrange the croissants cut-side up in the pan and overlap slightly. Push down slightly so the croissants fit and the banana caramel mixture comes up the sides slightly.
Transfer to oven and bake until croissants are golden brown and puffed, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes. Carefully invert the tart onto a serving plate. Serve with toasted coconut and whipped coconut cream or creme fraiche.
Food styling and photography by Aida Mollenkamp