Tropical Dessert Recipe Suggestions
I'm looking for recipe suggestions. I am charged with bringing a "tropical" dessert for 12 to a dinner party where two fabulous cooks are making the rest of the food. Not trying to impress, but it's an annual event for three families including grown kids, all of whom are foodies, and there's a high standard to maintain!
We love to make crema de papaya, a Brazilian dessert. We use Mexican papayas so it's very affordabe. Cut the papaya into chunks and blend. Once it's mostly blended, add vanilla ice cream and blend some more. (We found it works better if the fruit gets partially done before adding the ice cream.) Put in clear glass 'vessels;' we use oversized wine goblets. Drizzle with cassis. It's delicious, beautiful and is actually considered a digestivo in Brazil. It never leaves you feeling stuffed. A plus is that hardly anyone has ever had it so that gives it some pizazz :)
Bananas Foster and/or Pineapples Foster -- slice the fruit and brown in a little butter, then add some brown sugar and a splash of dark rum. Let it simmer until you have a lovely sauce and the fruit is warm through -- 5 minutes or less, then serve over a slice of coconut cake (lightly toasted) or rum-raisin ice cream. (flambeeing the fruit and rum is completely optional -- it's showy and makes a big impression, but it's not necessary)
I've also made a trifle, but I chop the fruit the day before and let it steep in a simple syrup in which I've added the seeds scraped from a vanilla bean or two (one bean: delicous...two beans: decadent) I've used pineapple, mango, strawberries, kiwi, slices of banana (add a little lemon to the syrup in that container to keep it from going brown), sections of orange...carambola/star fruit would be *gorgeous* here, especially with some slices against the side of a big glass bowl...whatever makes you happy for fruit.
Drizzle the chunks of cake (I used angel food, but a light-textured coconut cake, lightly toasted, would rock this one, too) with dark rum....and add a glug of dark rum to your whipped cream, too.
From the New South American Table cookbook I made a passion-mango pana cotta. Part of it was the usual gelatin dissolved in hot cream, the other half was a 15 oz can of mango slices (Trader Joes) pureed, flavored with passion fruit puree. I don't recall whether I added some sugar or not. Combine and chill.
I think for this year I am going to make a key lime curd tart in a coconut crust, topped with carmelized mangos and perhaps a jamaica caramel.
We can't do gluten, nuts, or high lactose this year and are having a Mexican inspired feast, so I thought this would work for everyone. I think I will also make some chocolate crinkle cookies and make mini sandwiches with cajeta (homemade from goat milk).
I think passion fruit always pleases too - there is passion fruit pavlova or I saw a recipe either on Epicurious or Leite's for passion fruit rice pudding.
One of my very favorite Caribbean-themed desserts is a banana bread pudding that I serve with a rum-caramel sauce, often with some passion fruit puree added in for extra flavor. It's really pretty easy to make, and it can be made in advance and then reheated.
I basically saute bananas with rum and dark brown sugar until the bananas are caramelized. I then mix brioche/challah/egg bread with a custard base (and you can add tropical spices to the custard if you wish, such as nutmeg, cloves, allspice, etc.) and I layer in the banana mixture. Sometimes I add raisins that I've soaked in rum.
The caramel sauce is basically sugar, rum, cream and then the fruit puree if using.
It is really easy to make and it's always been a big hit. If you want more precise instructions, let me know and I'd be happy to provide them.
Sorry - I have not been paying any attention and I'm not often on the site except when trip planning, and I haven't been getting the e-mails concerning replies. But I happened to be on the site and noticed your post, so here you go with my recipe:
At least 24 hours before you plan on making the dish, soak 1 cup raisins in 1 cup of dark rum.
When ready to prepare the dish, lightly butter your pan. You can use 2 pyrex bread loaf pans, and 8x8x2 pyrex pan, a large baking pan, individual ramekins, etc.
Drain raisins, reserve rum.
I start with a loaf of a good quality egg bread, crust removed - challah or brioche is my favorite - which is just past its prime. If not past its prime, toast cubes shortly just to dry out slightly. Cube the bread into 1 inch cubes, having started with about a 1 lb. loaf of bread.
Preheat oven to 370 degrees.
Prepare the bananas. Start with 5 large, ripe but firm bananas. Cut each banana in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into quarters. Heat 6 oz. unsalted butter (1.5 sticks) and 3/4 cup dark brown sugar over medium heat and when it begins to caramelize, add 3/4 cup of the reserved dark rum from the raisins (use any remainder for the rum needed for custard). If you wish to add spices, do so before adding the rum - I usually do a 1/4 t of cinnamon and maybe a pinch of nutmeg and allspice. Let cook down a little, letting just a little of the rum burn off. Add cut bananas, cook just until lightly caramelized but don't allow to soften too much. Let cool slightly while you prepare the custard.
Prepare the custard. Whisk 2 C heavy cream with 4 large eggs. Add 3 T dark rum (separate from cup used for raisins), 3 T dark brown sugar, 1 t of vanilla extract and mix.
Put one third of bread cubes in pan and spread out evenly to cover bottom of pan. Pour 1/3 of custard over bread cubes, then spread 1/2 of the banana mixture on top of the custard, and then 1/2 of the raisins. Next, another 1/3 of the bread cubes, 1/3 of custard, remaining 1/2 banana mixture and remaining 1/2 of raisins. Top off with remaining bread, then custard.
Bake in 370 degree oven for about 1 hour, or until golden on top and firm. Note that this is a stickier bread pudding than most so a knife will not come out completely clean.
While the pudding is in the oven, prepare the rum-caramel sauce. I like to use a fruit puree/pulp, typically passion fruit, but mango and pineapple work very well too. I like Goya brand and I can find the frozen pulp packages in freezer sections of many ethnic markets.
To prepare the sauce, heat 2 oz.butter (1/2 stick). When melted, add 1/2 C of dark brown sugar, a pinch of sea salt, and cook for a couple of minutes over medium heat. Then add 1/2 C heavy cream, 1/4 C dark rum, and 1/2 C of fruit puree (whichever you have chosen, or a combination). Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. You can adjust flavor and thickness as desired at this point - a little more cream, a little more puree, and if desired, 2 T cornstarch mixed with 2 T water to thicken slightly.
To serve, cut a square of the bread pudding and top with the passion fruit-rum-caramel sauce.
I hope this helps - sorry again for the delay. I'll check back in case there are questions.
Look no further! This is excellent, and since the pineapple is roasted, it makes the tropical dessert a bit winter-appropriate. I serve with whipped cream that is slightly spiked with coconut rum.
Macaroon Shortcake with Roasted Pineapple
1 medium pineapple, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
3/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
Preheat oven to 450°.
To prepare filling, cut pineapple lengthwise into quarters. Cut each quarter crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange pineapple in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Combine juice, honey, ginger, and cloves; drizzle over pineapple. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until the pineapple is lightly browned. Remove from oven; set aside.
Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
To prepare shortcakes, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, coconut, baking powder, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add the egg whites, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour batter into a 9-inch round cake pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
Place shortcake on a cutting board or work surface. Carefully split shortcake in half horizontally using a serrated knife. Place bottom half of shortcake on a platter; top with pineapple mixture, whipped topping, and top of shortcake. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.