Sweet cream infused with mashed papayas and topped with fried plantains invokes West Indies flavors in this dessert. Inspired by my young friend, Brooke, to create desserts using fruit and honey, this dish incorporates papayas on two levels; once in the custard cream and again in the honey cream sauce.
The plantain peels need to be black before the fruit inside is sweet enough to top a dessert so let them sit on the counter until fully ripened. Use a heavy bottomed sauté pan to fry the plantain, such as Calphalon. It needs to withstand the high heat required to quickly fry the plantain slices to keep them from becoming soggy. With the papaya, find the ripest one in the market but use within a few days before it goes soft. Try using freshly grated nutmeg rather than ground. The difference in intensity and sweetness is extraordinary!
2 fully ripe plantains
2 T unsalted butter
1 t olive oil
3 c chopped papaya
¼ c heavy whipping cream
¼ c honey
1/8 t nutmeg
¼ c sugar
1 t corn starch
1 c whole milk
2 egg yolks, room temperature, beaten
½ t vanilla
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 T powdered sugar
1/8 t nutmeg
¼ c unsweetened coconut, toasted
Peel plantains and cut into ¼” crosswise slices. Melt butter and olive oil over high heat until butter is sizzling and beginning to brown. Add the plantain slices and fry, turning after 2 minutes. Watch them closely as they will brown quickly. Continue to cook and additional two minutes. Remove to a cutting board or paper towels. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, add the papaya chunks, ¼ c whipping cream, and honey. Over medium high heat, bring to a low boil and cook until papaya chunks can be mashed with the back of a fork. Add nutmeg and stir to combine. Remove papaya from the pan and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until cooled. Once cooled, mash coarsely.
Return the remaining papaya sauce to a boil over medium high heat and reduce by a third, about 4-5 minutes. There will be about 1/3 c sauce. Pour sauce into small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to chill.
In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch. In the same saucepan used to cook the papaya, pour 1 cup of milk. Add the sugar mixture. Whisk to combine. Cook over medium high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to medium low to simmer. Beat egg yolks in a small bowl. Slowly add the hot milk mix, a tablespoon at a time, to the egg yolks until they are warmed. Use about 3-4 tablespoons of the milk. Pour the egg mix into the simmering milk, whisking continuously. Bring custard mix back to a low boil and cook, stirring constantly, until custard coats the back of a spatula, about 4-5 minutes. Pour into a small bowl, place plastic wrap directly on the custard and place in the refrigerator to thicken and cool, about 1 hour.
Place 1 cup whipping cream into medium bowl. Beat on high speed until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. Add powdered sugar and nutmeg. Continue beating on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2-3 additional minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator.
Add the cooled papaya to the cooled custard in a medium bowl. Mix to incorporate the papaya completely. Add ¾ cup of the whipped cream. Gently fold to combine.
Divide the papaya custard mix between 4 dessert bowls. Place 4-5 plantain slices around the bowl. Top with 1 tablespoon of whipped cream. Drizzle the papaya sauce between the four bowls. Top each with 1 T toasted coconut.