Plátanos en Tentacion ~ Bananas in Temptation

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In the rich tapestry of Panamanian cuisine, where vibrant flavors and cultural fusions dance together, there lies a simple yet profound dessert that captures the essence of the country’s culinary heritage: Platano en Tentación. Translating to “Temptation Plantains,” this dish embodies the simplicity, sweetness, and warmth that is often found in Panama’s food. Through caramelized ripe plantains bathed in a cinnamon-infused syrup, Platano en Tentación offers a taste of Panama’s soul in every bite.

The Sweet History

The origins of Platano en Tentación are deeply rooted in Panama’s agricultural abundance, where plantains have long been a staple. Plantains, the sturdier and starchier cousins of bananas, are incredibly versatile and find their way into various dishes, from savory to sweet. As these fruits ripen, their high sugar content makes them perfect for desserts, and it’s in this natural sweetness that the idea of caramelizing them was born.

The concept of cooking fruits in sugar to enhance their sweetness is not unique to Panama, but the addition of local spices and sometimes rum has made Platano en Tentación distinctively Panamanian. This dessert not only showcases the country’s penchant for blending simple ingredients into exquisite dishes but also reflects Panama’s history as a melting pot of cultures, where each group has contributed something to the nation’s culinary identity.

Crafting the Temptation

Making Platano en Tentación is a delightful journey into Panamanian cooking. The process begins with selecting ripe plantains, their skins yellow with black spots, signifying the perfect balance of firmness and natural sugars. These are then peeled, sliced, and gently simmered in a concoction of water, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a touch of salt, transforming into a soft, caramelized treat that’s rich in flavor. A splash of orange juice and optional rum add layers of depth and complexity to the syrup, enriching the final dish.

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The Recipe at a Glance

  • Ingredients: Ripe plantains, brown sugar, water, cinnamon, salt, butter, orange juice, and optional rum.
  • Preparation: Peel and slice the plantains, then caramelize them in a skillet with butter. Add the remaining ingredients to create a syrup, and simmer until the plantains are tender and glazed beautifully.
  • Cooking Time: Approximately 25 minutes on the stovetop.
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Platanos en Tentacion ~ Bananas in Temptation

Dive into the heart of Panamanian cuisine with "Platano en Tentación" – a delightful dessert featuring ripe plantains caramelized in a sweet, spiced syrup. Infused with cinnamon and enriched with a hint of orange juice, this dish offers a perfect blend of sweetness and warmth. Whether served as a dessert, side, or a decadent breakfast topping, it's sure to bring a touch of tropical indulgence to your table.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Panamanian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Cooling Time 5 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 280kcal
Author Mike Gonzalez

Ingredients

  • 4 ripe plantains they should be yellow with black spots for the perfect sweetness
  • 1 cup of brown sugar adjust based on your sweetness preference
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice for added depth and acidity

Optional:

  • A splash of rum for an adult twist

Instructions

  • Prepare the Plantains: Peel the plantains and cut them into slices, either diagonally for larger pieces or round slices for quicker cooking.
  • Caramelize the Plantains: In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the plantains and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until they start to turn golden.
  • Create the Syrup: To the skillet, add the brown sugar, water, cinnamon stick, salt, and orange juice. If you’re including rum, add it now. Stir gently to combine.
  • Simmer: Reduce the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the plantains are tender and the sauce has thickened into a rich syrup. Occasionally, spoon the syrup over the plantains to ensure they’re evenly coated.
  • Serve: Once the plantains are tender and caramelized, remove the skillet from the heat. Let it cool for a few minutes before serving. This dish can be enjoyed on its own, or as a side to complement savory dishes.

Notes

  1. Choosing Plantains: Look for plantains that are ripe but firm. They should have yellow skins with black spots; this indicates they’re sweet enough for the dish but won’t fall apart while cooking.
  2. Adjusting Sweetness: Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar based on your preference and the natural sweetness of the plantains. If the plantains are very ripe and sweet, you might want to use a little less sugar.
  3. Rum Substitution: The rum is optional and can be omitted if you prefer not to use alcohol. As an alternative, a teaspoon of vanilla extract can add depth to the flavor profile without alcohol.
  4. Serving Suggestions: While delicious on its own, “Platano en Tentación” can also be served alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a decadent dessert or as a topping for pancakes or waffles for a luxurious breakfast.
  5. Storing Leftovers: If you have leftovers, they can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Gently reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop with a little added water to loosen the syrup before serving.
  6. Watching the Syrup: Keep an eye on the plantains as they simmer in the syrup, especially towards the end of the cooking time. The syrup can thicken quickly, and stirring occasionally will prevent it from sticking to the pan and ensure the plantains cook evenly.
  7. Serving Temperature: This dish can be served warm or at room temperature, depending on your preference. The flavors tend to meld and deepen as the dish cools.
  8. Customization: Feel free to add other spices like nutmeg or clove for a different flavor profile, or top with toasted coconut flakes for added texture.

Nutrition

Serving: 200g | Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 150mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 43g

Serving Suggestions

Platano en Tentación is as versatile as it is delicious. It can be savored on its own as a sweet end to a meal, or paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a decadent dessert. For a breakfast twist, serve it atop pancakes or waffles, offering a daybreak indulgence that’s hard to resist. Its sweet, spiced flavors also complement savory dishes, making it a unique side that bridges the gap between main courses and desserts.

Conclusion

Platano en Tentación is more than just a dessert; it’s a celebration of Panama’s rich culinary landscape, a testament to the beauty of simplicity, and a bridge between the country’s past and present. Through the humble plantain, we find a dish that invites us to explore the depths of flavor and tradition, reminding us that sometimes, the most tempting treasures are crafted from the simplest ingredients. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a culinary novice, making Platano en Tentación is a journey worth taking—a delicious exploration of Panama’s sweetest tradition.

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