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Baked Bananas, 1953

November 11, 2011
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Mexican Cookbook by Natalie Scott

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.


Baked Bananas

1 cup sugar
2 tbsps. sugar
bananas, 4-5 depending on size, sliced fairly thickly lengthwise. 
butter

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. 


Lessons learned:

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!


5 Comments leave one →
  1. Estefania permalink
    March 30, 2013 4:41 am

    Hi Juli,

    I know this is an old post, but maybe after a year and a half you are ready to try again….

    My sis in Mexico makes a baked banana dessert similar to this, but she always uses “platano macho” – plantain – often purple on the outside when perfectly ripe for this purpose.

    Those won’t mush and burn and blacken in the oven… I suppose that’s why they call them “macho”. Lol!

    Also, if you place some icy cold water in your sink before you start cooking the sugar, you can dip your pot in it as soon as the caramel is done to stop the cooking process. You still have to work fast, but it helps!
    🙂

    • Juli McLoone permalink
      April 1, 2013 10:00 am

      Hi Estefania,

      Thanks for the tip about icy water to stop the carmelization process. I’ll have to keep an eye out for purple plantains and give this recipe another shot!

      Best,
      Juli

  2. Del permalink
    November 11, 2011 7:13 pm

    It was a valiant effort, Juli. Just fry them next time.

  3. Kevin permalink
    November 11, 2011 4:19 pm

    In my Chiquita Banana recipe booklet, c.1950, it mentions several versions for baked bananas. But it also states that “..if browning is desired, place the baked bananas under broiler heat for 1-2 minutes..” Great site! Thanks.. Kevin.

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