THE BLOG

Banana and Almond Lattice

04/03/2015 17:33 GMT | Updated 04/05/2015 10:59 BST

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It's National Pie Week and what better way to celebrate than to take tropical inspiration from this delicious Banana Lattice.

Mauritius is peppered with incredible cultural history which dates back to the 1600s when Arab sailors first discovered the island, swiftly followed by the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French and then finally the British.

To understand Mauritian food you need to understand the ethnic groups that make up the island. There are Creole Mauritians, Franco Mauritians, Sino Mauritians and Indo Mauritians. This incredible diversity of people and colonial history means that Mauritian food is best described as true fusion. You can find dishes to suit all palates from fiery hot curries to slow cooked French inspired stews to Chinese fried noodles.

The French brought with them breads and cakes and this mark has firmly stayed with Mauritius as we are an island of pastry and bread lovers. This recipe takes its inspiration from the classic 'Tart Banane' which children across Mauritius will eat after school as they stroll back home, or will feature in our afternoon tea - a tradition which Mauritians take nearly as seriously as the British!

This gorgeous Banana Lattice is frugal as it uses up old bananas to create something really quite wonderful. With vanilla, almonds and unrefined sugar, this sweet tropical twist on a classic pie really will be something you'll probably cook over and over. Once you've mastered the art of keeping a steady hand while placing the lattice over the top your good to go.

Banana and Almond Lattice

This recipe has been extracted from my first book 'Sunshine on a Plate' Ebury Press 2013

Ingredients

  • 2x500g packets of shortcrust pastry
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 5 large over ripe bananas
  • 60g unrefined golden caster sugar
  • 25g dessiccated coconut
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 1 vanilla pod seeds scraped out of pod
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with 1tsp water

Method

1. Pre heat oven to 180c/gas mark 4

2. Roll out one block of pastry and use a 23cm loose bottomed flan tin. Line the pastry with non stick baking paper, weigh it down with baking beans and bake 'blind' for 15-20 mins or until the pastry is lightly golden. Baking blind will give you an even bake before adding the mixture and will help prevent a 'soggy bottom'.

3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large heavy based pan and allow to brown, add the bananas, sugar, coconut, almonds, vanilla seeds and mixed spice and cook, stirring over a medium heat for about 5 minutes until the mixture turns into a thick paste. Too this mixture into the cooked pastry case and spread to the edges.

4. Roll out the second block of pastry and cut long strips about 0.5cm thick. Any unused pastry can be wrapped in cling film and placed into the fridge or freezer. Use the strips to form a lattice over the mixture, criss-crossing the strips as you lay them. Once the lattice is complete, brush the pastry with the egg yolk and water mixture and place directly into the oven. Cook for a further 30-40 minutes until the lattice is golden brown