Plantain pies

Levi Roots intriguing spicy-sweet pies make great picnic food, as well as an unusual dessert
Plantain pies
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus 30 minutes chilling time
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

  • 3 large very ripe plantains, (see Cooks tip below)
  • 100 g caster sugar, plus an extra 4 tsp, to sprinkle on top
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 x 225g pieces ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • milk, for glazing
  • cream, to serve

For the banana sauce

  • 227 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 3 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cm ginger, chopped
  • ¼ cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, green part only, chopped
  • 1 hot chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 sprigs thyme, leaves only
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2½ tbsp soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 lime, juice only

Tips and Suggestions

Plantains, or cooking bananas, are a staple across the Caribbean. They must be cooked to be edible. Ripe plantains taste like a cross between a sweet potato and a banana.

Method

1. For the banana sauce: Put all the ingredients into the bowl of a blender or food processor with a generous pinch of salt and process until smooth.

2. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and simmer until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside until needed.

3. Peel the plantains and cut into chunks. Put into a saucepan, cover with water and boil for 10 minutes or until very tender. Drain well and transfer to a mixing bowl.

4. Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla and mix until smooth.

5. Put the pastry on a floured board cut each piece into 4 equal-sized rectangles (each about 15 x12cm). With the long sides of each piece of pastry facing you, divide the plantain paste between the rectangles, putting it in a line lengthways across each one, just above the centre, and stopping 1cm from the end.

6. Dollop 1 tablespoon of the banana sauce beside the plantain, across the centre of each rectangle.

7. Brush the outside of each rectangle with beaten egg and fold the pastry over to make a closed pie, pinching the edges together to seal them well. Chill, covered, for 15-30 minutes in the fridge.

8. Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and line a baking sheet with baking paper.

9. Arrange the pies on the prepared baking sheet, brush over the top with a little fresh milk, prick each pie with a fork and sprinkle with the extra caster sugar.

10. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

11. Serve warm with cream.

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