Golden Zenú Caramelized Plantains

Serves 4. Recipe courtesy of Maria Monsalve.

Our friend Maria shared this traditional recipe with us. It’s a simple dessert of sweet plantains that are quickly caramelized and served hot. While often made with cinnamon, we substituted Zenú Spice for uplifting color and flavor. Serve as is or with ice cream or sponge cake.

Note: Sweet plantains are ripe plantains — they should be completely yellow with some brown spots (but no soft ones). Look for already ripe plantains because the green ones take a very long time to ripen. 

2 sweet, ripe plantains, peeled
¼ cup neutral oil
¼ cup sugar
Sea salt
1 tablespoon Zenú Spice, plus more for finishing

Line a plate with baking parchment. Cut the plantains crosswise into ½-inch slices. Set both near the stove.

Set a medium, non-stick skillet on the stove and add 2 tablespoons each of the oil and sugar, along with three tablespoons of water to the skillet. Stir in a pinch of salt and 1½ teaspoons of the Zenú Spice. Set the burner to medium-high, stir the mixture then let it come to a boil. Add half the plantain slices to the skillet and arrange with a cut side down.

Cook the plantains, moving them frequently with a spatula, until their bottoms have deeply golden brown edges, 2-3 minutes. The sauce will have started to darken and thicken, which is good. Flip the plantains over and cook on the other side another 2-3 minutes until the edges of the other side are deeply brown but not burnt. The sauce will now be sticky and browned and mostly clinging to the plantains.

Transfer the caramelized plantains to the parchment-lined plate. Rinse the skillet, dry it, and cook the remaining plantain slices in the same way.

Sprinkle a pinch of salt and Zenú Spice over the caramelized plantains and serve.


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