Bananas feature prominently in desserts in East Africa, and in particular you will often see recipes for banana fritters (zitumbuwa). As delicious as this sounds to me, it’s not a very convenient item to bring to a potluck dinner. They must be served hot and fresh out of the oil, making it a time-consuming process, not to mention somewhat dangerous if you’ve had a glass of wine!
I wondered if I could come up with a baked fritter, when I came across a recipe for bananas baked in phyllo pastry. This sounded like a good compromise between a fried fritter and the baked fritter I was trying to create. It’s convenient too, you can bake them ahead of time and rewarm before serving, or you can assemble and freeze them, and bake them right from the freezer. If you can’t rewarm them before serving, don’t worry. I’ve had them after they have been out of the oven for several hours and they were still completely delicious.
8 phyllo pastry sheets
8 tablespoons chopped nuts, any kind of nut you like, preferably toasted
8 tablespoons melted butter
Cinnamon sugar to sprinkle
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cut the bananas in half crosswise, and then cut each piece in half lengthwise.
Lay the sheet of phyllo in front of you with the long end facing you. Brush the right half of it with melted butter, sprinkle with a few nuts and cinnamon sugar. Fold the left half over this side. Now you will end up with the shortest side of the pastry facing you. Brush again with melted butter, a few nuts and cinnamon sugar. Place the banana about 2” from the edge and fold the edge over it, fold in the sides, and continue to roll up.
Place on a baking try with the seam side down, brush again with more melted butter on the bottom to seal the seam and on the top, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
Slice in half on the diagonal, and serve with caramel or chocolate sauce, ice cream, or fresh berries.
Notes and Instructions
Sources: Recipe and photo credit: Linda McElroy (inspired by “The Last Course” by Claudia Fleming and Melissa Clark)