Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bananas and Ginger en Papillotte

I've never tried the cooking method called "en papillotte" ("in parchment") before, since it most often applies to seafood.  So when I spotted this cute little dessert recipe, I was eager to give it a go.

  • 2 tablespoons vegan brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons chopped pistachios
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 2 teaspoons melted vegan butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 4 large firm bananas
1. Combine all the ingredients except the bananas in a bowl; set aside.

2. Slice each banana in half lengthwise, then in half again crosswise, for 16 pieces of banana total.

3. This next step made me feel like a child back in art class: Cut 4 (10-inch) circles out of parchment paper.  Fold each circle in half, then open back up.  Place 4 banana pieces near the center of each fold, and top with about 1 tablespoon of the ginger mixture.  Fold the parchment over the filling, and seal the edges by making little triangular folds all the way around.  For a great instructional video on how to do so (although with fish) follow this link.

4. Place the packets on baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.  Transfer to plates and cut open.  This dessert will be best served immediately.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 packet), Calories 228 

Tasting Notes:
The presentation was novel and fun, and the taste was yummy, but a few things held back my overall rating of this dish.  First, the packets needed a bit longer in the oven to fully steam the banana, so cook yours closer to 10 minutes.  The sauce had a wonderful lemon/honey (agave) flavor reminiscent of lemon-honey lozenges (in a good way), but I was really disappointed that the ginger flavor was lost.  Particularly when an ingredient is in the title of a recipe, I expect it to shine: increase the ginger to 1 teaspoon or more.  You also will have leftover sauce if you follow the instructions of 1 tablespoon per packet, which feels like a waste - pour about 2 tablespoons sauce per packet and you'll have yummier, richer flavor, and no wasted leftovers.  With those few tweaks, I bet this dish could easily become a "4" or a "5" in my book.


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