Baked Bananas, 1953
Scott, Natalie. Mexican Cookbook. México : Impresora Godínez, 1953. [TX725 .S365 1953].
Well, I admit defeat on this one. I thought I had chosen a fail-safe recipe last night–carmelize sugar, combine with bananas, and pop in oven. However, it didn’t quite work out like that. In fact, the results were painful enough that I didn’t even photograph them. For those who are braver (or more skilled) than I, the recipe (and more gory details) follow.
1 cup sugar
2 tbsps. sugar
bananas, 4-5 depending on size, sliced fairly thickly lengthwise.
Caramelize the cup of sugar. Spread the bottom and the side of a pudding dish thickly with the caramel, and lay in it the slices of bananas. Sprinkle the 2 tbsps. of sugar over the top and dot thickly with butter. Put in oven until golden brown.
First, directions for caramelizing sugar found in most cookbooks or on the web will tell you to heat the sugar over medium heat until boiling, and then remove when it is just a little lighter than you want your end-product. Unfortunately, such directions rarely mention just how quickly the sugar-syrup continues to darken once it starts. My first attempt ended up as a 2-inch thick, rock-hard mass of burnt sugar that took two kettles of boiling water to dissolve. For novice sugar-chefs, I recommend removing the syrup as soon as it turns a pale gold color.
Second, line your baking dish with aluminum foil (or expect to use two more kettles of boiling water).
Third, do not bake the bananas for 10 minutes at 400*F. Although the bananas will stubbornly refuse to turn “golden brown,” the centers will quickly turn black while the edges remain raw-pale the whole time.
Unfortunately, I’m really not sure what to do instead. Tossing the banana slices with lemon juice might help. Also, I think there is a possibility that “bake” in this instance might actually mean to broil, as that might brown and crisp the bananas before they begin to blacken. However, after my second batch of boiling water, I was a little too demoralized to start over again last night. If anyone has any insight into this recipe, please do let me know!