As the name implies, Baked Festival and Plantains is a celebratory dish. Bite size pieces of sweetened cornbread known throughout Jamaica as “Festival” are typically fried and served along side either cassava or plantains, also fried. Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we’ve lightened things up a bit by baking both the Festival and the plantains, while preserving the decadence of this dish by adding the rich warmth of molasses. Paired with Poblano Jerk Chicken, this dish makes a fun addition to a festive holiday meal!
Not familiar with plantains? You’re in for a treat! While they look a bit like bananas, their taste and starchy texture is more similar to a sweet potato. I recommend plantains that have blackened skins for this recipe – the black mottling, while not very attractive, means the plantains are ripe and sweet. If you can only find unblemished (meaning unripe) plantains, just let them sit on your countertop for a few days to ripen.
Ingredients (makes 4-6 side dish servings)
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
4 small or 3 large plantains
2 tablespoons coconut oil (preferred) or olive oil
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
Step 1) Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
Step 2) Add coconut extract and water, 1/4 cup at a time, mixing well with a fork.
Step 3) Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let sit for 30 minutes.
Step 4) Grease two baking pans with 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil) each.
Step 5) Remove plantains from skins and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices. It is sometimes difficult to peel plantains “top to bottom” like a banana. An easier way to peel plantains is to cut through the peel from top to bottom (as shown), and then pull pack the peel as if you were opening a book.
Step 6) Place plantain slices in a single layer on one baking pan, and drizzle with molasses. OPTIONAL: melt 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil on stovetop or in microwave for a few seconds, and drizzle over plantain slices. This will add back additional “fried” flavor and texture, but will also introduce additional fat and calories. Your decision.
Step 8) Place plantains in preheated 350 degree oven, giving them a 10 minute start on the Festival.
Step 9) Drop rounded tablespoons of Festival batter onto the second greased pan. Place in oven with plantains once their 10 minute head start has ended.
Step 10) Remove both pans from oven after 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!