International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Torta de Plátano

Torta de Plátano (Colombian plantain bread)

(Colombian plantain bread)

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This deliciously simple twist on banana bread, with innumerable variations, is a common accompaniment to meals in many Latin American countries. What makes this version particularly Colombian is the addition of fresh white cheese and guava paste — known as bocadillo — as a salty-sweet flavoring combo.

The plantains for torta de plátano should be very ripe with black skins. If you can only find green plantains at the market, let them sit at room temperature for a few days. They'll get black.

Some Colombian cooks boil or fry the plantains before using them in the torta. This simple version eliminates that step.

6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour -- 1/2 cup
  • Baking powder -- 2 teaspoons
  • Salt -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ripe plantains, peeled and cut into chunks -- 3
  • Eggs -- 2
  • Milk -- 1/4 cup
  • Melted butter -- 4 tablespoons
  • Queso blanco or feta cheese, crumbled -- 1/2 cup
  • Guava paste -- 1/2 cup

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to a large bowl and stir to mix well.
  2. Place the plantains, eggs, milk and melted butter in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
  3. Pour the plantain mixture into the bowl with the flour and mix together until a smooth batter is formed.
  4. Pour half the batter into a buttered cast-iron skillet, 9-inch cake pan, or 9x9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle the batter evenly with 1/2 the grated cheese. Drop teaspoonsful of the guava paste over the batter evenly as well.
  5. Pour the remaining batter into the skillet or pan to cover the cheese and guava paste and tap the pan to even it out.
  6. Place the torta in the oven and bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 15 or 20 minutes, then turn out onto a serving platter. Cut into wedges and serve.

Torta de Plátano Variations

  • Guava paste substitutes: If you can't find guava paste, use your favorite jam, preserves or marmalade instead.
  • Other additions: Substitute dry or sweet white wine for milk. You can also soak 1/2 cup of raisins in warm water or wine for about 30 minutes to plump them up, then stir them into the batter.
  • Gluten-free torta: Eliminate the flour. Your torta will turn out slightly denser.
  • Dessert torta: Add 1/2 cup sugar to the dry ingredients, as well as a teaspoon of vanilla, a teaspoon of cinnamon and about 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.

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