Monday, 20 March 2017

Making Mauritius-Style Banana Cakes (Gateaux Bananes)

I mis-managed my bananas.

I got my timing all wrong and they were suddenly too ripe and too spotted and dotted to eat, and were sitting there looking at me with accusatory and reproachful looks.

Banana cake was the obvious solution. But why go the way of regular banana cake, when there's the distant call of Mauritius-style gateaux bananes (you guessed it: banana cakes). 

The only problem was I've never made these before. I'd eaten many hundreds of them of course. I'd seen the occasional ones being made (but my focus had always been on eating them).

I knew vaguely what the steps were:
1) Make a dough featuring bananas.
2) Roll the dough into little balls
3) Fry until golden-brown.
4) Eat, eat, eat.

I didn't know exactly what went into the dough besides bananas. I had a recipe somewhere but there's a quicker and easier way to do things. Ask the experts: I pinged Mauritius for advice.

The reply was swift: overripe bananas plus flour and sugar to taste.

That's it?

Yup! Or, as the Mauritians would say, "oui-do!" (The "do", rather delightfully aptly, is pronounced exactly like 'dough').

I had a feeling that the recipe I couldn't find said 2-3 bananas. Well, I had a few more than 2-3. In for a penny, in for a pound, in for a kilo. I did all the bananas.

I mixed approximate amounts of flour and sugar - which was roughly along the lines of: a couple of handfuls of flour for every half-handful of sugar. I did it in batches, and kept throwing them in. The many bananas were pretty liquefied and it took a lot of the flour and sugar before anything dough-like appeared.

I had a vague Mauritius memory that the gateaux bananes balls needed to be smallish - to make sure they cooked through. So, having carefully created the first batch of balls, I went back and made them smaller.

I also had another memory of not many being cooked at any one time.

I followed these memories, marvelling that they were still vivid and that I could get guidance from them.

I was delighted when the gateaux came out of the hot oil, looking exactly like the ones in my memories. I was even more delighted when they tasted like the ones in my memories: super-banana-ish and not too sweet. Somehow I'd lucked into getting the sugar balance right.

I have now eaten many, many gateaux bananes.

Am I making them again?



GnT said...


ReeD with a Bee said...

Tres delicieux! :-)

Roy Dobson said...

We really, really dislike over-ripe bananas ... this seems like a neat and delicious way of using them up. Thanks for sharing your step-by-step guide to making gateaux bananes. We will be sure to try out the recipe at the earliest.

ReeD with a Bee said...

If nothing else, I've learnt it's a very flexible/forgiving recipe. Enjoy the gateaux! :-)