Cartola Pernambucana (Banana with Cheese Dessert)

The "Cartola Pernambuca" ("cartola" means top hat) is a traditional dessert of the state of Pernambuco. "Cartola" hold the title of "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Pernambuco State" (Law n° 13.751 of April 2009).
The "Cartola" is made with banana and regional products such as the "requeijão do norte" and "manteiga de garrafa" (clarified butter). It is believed that the recipe was created during the colonial period in the "great house" farms. It is the result of the coexistence of the three major cultures that have shaped the Northeast cuisine: indigenous, African and Portuguese. In addition, it is very likely that the dark colour of cinnamon sprinkled to finish the recipe have served as the inspiration for the name "Cartola". 

Information Source: Cartola (culinária), Lúcia Gaspar, Fundação Joaquim Nabuco. Consultato il 27.05.2014.

Ingredients

Preparation method

1. Stir the sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle a tablespoon of the mixture on a dessert plate. 
2. Peel the bananas (in the absence of "prata" bananas I used "chiquita" bananas). You can leave whole bananas (flattening slightly with your hand before peeling) or cut them in half lengthwise. 
3. Melt the butter in a fry pan and fry bananas over medium heat until well browned.  
4. Lay the bananas on the dessert plate and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the mixture of sugar and cinnamon. 
5. In the same pan fry the cheese until it becomes soft and golden on both sides.
6. Place the fried cheese over the bananas and sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, if desired. Serve immediately. 

Yield: a very generous portion!
Posted on: 16 July 2014
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