A little dessert for us, fellas of the Northern hemisphere who refuse to give up on Summer and want to continue living the dream (!!!). This dessert is as well dedicated to my friends in the Southern hemisphere who are now approaching Summer for real, especially those living near the Pacific Ocean, whether in Australia (hey Sue!) or in Tahiti (hi Liza!). Indeed, I am going to cook today something special from an exotic French territory: the islands of Wallis & Futuna are located between Fiji and the American Samoa islands in the Pacific Ocean near the Tropic of Capricorn; they are several thousands kilometers away from Polynesia, another French territory from which they receive a lot of cultural influence.
This dessert – and its related versions – seems to be common to a number of islands in the area. The Banana Po’e (that’s its name) is a fruit and tapioca starch based sticky dessert that is traditionally wrapped up and baked inside banana leaves. If one cannot come by banana leaves, a basic oven baking dish will do. That’s what I used in fact. In both cases, in the end the dessert is eaten after it’s covered with coconut milk at lukewarm temperature. Some greedy cooks prepare homemade caramel to add on, while others more reasonably count on the natural caramelization of the bananas during the baking process. I personally like the idea of serving the Po’e in a green color bowl that would remind of the palm tree leaves that are braided and used in the Pacific islands to serve local delicacies. For this recipe, I have also bought vanilla imported from Papua New Guinea, a neighbor island, to keep the spirit of the Pacific islands. Now let’s eat and virtually travel to Wallis and Futuna.
- tapioca starch
- 1 Vanilla bean
- 200 ml of lukewarm coconut milk
- Peel and cut bananas in a saucepan, then purée with a bit of water.
- Smooth up the preparation in a blender or with a fork.
- Measure the quantity of banana purée with a cup or a bowl. With 6 small bananas, my measuring cup was filled up to 300.
- Open the vanilla bean with the tip of a knife, and grate the inside. Mix with the fruit purée.
- When time comes to combine it with the tapioca starch (that is now), make sure you got one measure of tapioca flour for 3 measures of banana purée. I left the banana in the measuring cup and added starch over the banana until the cup was filled up to 400.
- Add the sugar and whisk it all well. I added sugar up to where the cup was filled at 500.
- Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C.
- Grease a baking dish with oil.
- Pour the banana and tapioca mixture into the baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven during 50 minutes.
- When the Po’e is ready, pour coconut milk in a large salad bowl, and slide the Po’e over at once, taking care of not splashing the coconut milk around.
- Serve in individual bowl a portion of the warm Po’e with a bit of coconut milk.
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2017 All Rights Reserved.