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+ servings


Top hat bananas, which are pan-fried bananas topped with a mixture of cinnamon-sugar and cheese, great as a dessert or for serving on toast for breakfast or a snack.

Servings 2 people


For the Cartola

  • large ripe but firm bananas
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 ( 1/4 inch thick slices mozzarella manchego or butterkase cheese
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • *1/8 tsp ground nutmeg optional
  • *A pinch of ground cloves optional
  • * 1 tsp vanilla extract optional
  • * 1/3 cup chopped pecans optional
  • * 2-4 scoops vanilla bean or coffee ice cream

For the Chocolate Sauce (makes 1 cup)

  • 5 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

* These ingredients are not part of the traditional recipe of Cartola. It's my personal touch for this already wonderful dish!!


    To Make Cartola

    • Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
    • In a small bowl, combine the sugar and the cinnamon as well as the vanilla extract and the 2 other spices if desired. Reserve.
    • About 30 minutes later, slice the bananas in half crosswise, and then lengthwise. You'll end up with 4 halves per banana.
    • In a large non-stick frying pan, over medium heat, heat the butter for about 2 to 3 minutes or until it melts and bubbles. Add the banana halves and pan-fry them until both sides are golden brown. Remove from heat, then drain the bananas on paper towels. Reserve.
    • Grease a 5" x 9" glass baking pan with additional unsalted butter or butter flavor cooking spray. Arrange the reserved bananas, lining up every four halves parallel and closely together in a single layer. You will have two sets of bananas.
    • Top each set with the toasted pecans (optionaand then a slice of cheese of approximately the same size. Sprinkle the cheese generously with the sugar/spice mixture.
    • Place the glass pan in the preheated oven and bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
    • Remove each portion carefully with a spatula and place on a plate. Serve immediately. It can be accompanied by a scoop of vanilla or coffee ice cream drizzled with a warm chocolate sauce (see below, or use store-bought).

    To Make the Chocolate Sauce

    • Place the chocolate into a medium glass bowl. Reserve.
    • Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil.
    • Pour over the chocolate, and whisk until smooth.
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