As a child, all I ever craved was plantains – yes, plantains. Every weekend growing up, my mom would make me a delicious bowl of crispy patacones to eat while playing games (only child energy). Call it the “Colombian popcorn” so to speak – this was my ideal snack. Though the humble plantain may lack refinement on first glance, there’s so much more to this understated fruit than meets the eye.
This sweet plantain loaf combines the quintessential ingredients of Colombian cuisine: from coconut and hazelnuts, to cinnamon and vanilla – this bread is bursting with flavour. Bringing this dessert to life was a way of immersing myself back into my childhood, while creating a more sophisticated recipe that stars plantains.
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place hazelnuts on parchment-lined baking tray and bake for 10 minutes, or until nuts are toasted. Set aside to cool.
Peel and cut 2 plantains diagonally into small pieces. In a shallow pan, fry each piece in neutral oil till golden brown. Remove and place in a small bowl. Directly in the bowl, mash together fried plantains and set aside to cool.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice until combined.
In the large bowl of a stand mixer, beat together plantains, butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined. Gradually add the dry mixture and chopped hazelnuts to wet mixture and continue mixing until batter is smooth with small lumps.
Line a medium-sized loaf pan with parchment paper. Pour the batter into the pan and level out, using a spoon if necessary. Using the third remaining plantain, slice a long piece and place onto the top of the batter. Bake at 350°F for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
While the loaf is baking, whip together chilled coconut milk, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to serve with freshly baked sweet plantain loaf.