Sunday, January 15, 2012
This month for the Around the World challenge, I visited Tahiti by reading Frangipani by Celestine Vaite. Two recipes come up for baked goods and desserts, at least in internet searching - coconut bread that seems to be a hotel or maybe French influenced tradition, and po'e. I was very interested in po'e, which was described as a fruit pudding, typically served as part of the traditional tamara'a barbecues, after being baked in the fire pit. A very poetic description of po'e within its meal context can be read on Islands.com.
The main recipe I found online for po'e is posted on The Polynesian Kitchen blog, and that is the one I used. It is pointed out that traditionally this would be cooked wrapped in banana leaves, over a fire, but the recipe is adapted to the modern indoor kitchen.
Po'e is basically a fresh fruit, pureed and mixed with cornstarch or arrowroot, a bit of sweetener, and then baked. It is served by being topped with coconut cream, and I found references online for serving it hot as well as serving it chilled. The smell of my banana po'e was so enticing, there was no way we were going to wait for this to chill before trying it the first time! On the French language blog La Cocinera Loca, you can see a wonderful photographic step by step demonstration, even if you can't read the directions.
I thought this was delicious, and different. I love that you can do the same method with almost any fruit - I came across multiple mentions of pumpkin, yuca, and papaya variations.
4 to 6 servings
* Ripe bananas, peeled and cut into chunks -- 6-8 Bananas
* Brown sugar -- 1/2 cup
* Arrowroot or cornstarch -- 1 cup
* Vanilla -- 2 teaspoons
* Coconut cream -- 1 cup
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Puree the bananas in a blender or food processor. There should be enough puree to make 4 cups.
2. Mix together the brown sugar and arrowroot or cornstarch. Add this mixture and the vanilla to the bananas and process well. There should not be any lumps of starch. Adjust sugar to taste.
3. Butter a 2-quart baking dish and pour in the puree. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the pudding is firm and bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled.
4. Cut into cubes and place into a large serving bowl or in individual bowls. Top with a dollop of coconut cream, a little more brown sugar and serve.**
**Boil and Cook the Bananas on the stove until the fruit turns brown. Add in remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Butter a 2-quart baking dish and pour in mixture. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the pudding is firm and bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled.
** Try substituting papaya, mango, pineapple, canned Pumpkin or other tropical fruits for some of the bananas. Just make sure there is a total of 4 cups of fruit puree. Ripe plantains can also be substituted for the bananas. For juicier fruits, you will probably have to add more arrowroot or cornstarch.
* Coconut cream is the thick coconut milk that rises to the top of a can of coconut milk. Don't shake the can before you open it and you can skim it right off the top.
at 11:34 PM