Post by Alison Hein
For the first time in my life, I have ended up on the right side of a flight cancellation. My husband, Kevin, and I usually get stranded in a busy airport, or never even leave home. Now, because of winter storm Nemo, we are trapped in paradise – the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Martin. We love this amazing place, and can never soak up enough sunshine before returning home. A four-day delay feels like the snow day to end all snow days!
We were fortunate with our accommodations as well. The aptly named Casa del Sol was available, and our gracious hostess kindly extended our stay. Veronique provides little surprises for us before our arrival in St. Martin. This visit was no different, with some rich Arabica beans tucked next to the espresso maker, an overflowing bowl of lush, tropical fruit, and an icy chilled bottle of champagne in the fridge.
What better way to spend my exta time than experimenting with new recipes? (Last time we were in St. Martin I made Piña Colada French Toast . Poking around the charming Provençal kitchen, I was delighted to find a copy of the colorful, island recipe-packed Creole Recipes and Cocktails from the Caribbean.
Flipping through the little cookbook, Exotic Fruit Crumble popped out. The name was perfect, and we also had mangoes and bananas in our fruit bowl. I skipped the coconut (Kevin doesn’t like it) and added some vanilla rum (hey, we’re in the Caribbean). A few other little changes, converting everything from grams to US measures, and my little tropical crumble was ready for baking. After the dish baked for 40 minutes in a hot oven, Kevin and I were enjoying an exotic, Caribbean delight.
If you’ve never tried cooked mangoes, you’re in for a delightful discovery – flavors sweeten and meld with baking, become reminiscent of peach pie, yet still remain startlingly light and bright. So, if you can’t be trapped in paradise, pick up some luscious mangoes and ripe bananas, and make yourself an exotic breakfast in bed for two. Just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Exotic Fruit Crumble
1 tablespoon vanilla rum (or substitute vanilla)
½ cup flour
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Whipped cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°. Hold mango lengthwise, and with a sharp knife, slice through just to one side of the pit. Turn mango, and carefully slice through on the other side of the pit. Chop off the sides remaining around the pit. Score each sliced piece lenghtwise into several long, thin slices, but do not cut through the skin. Score again crosswise to create small cubes. Repeat with other mango section. Scoop scored pieces out with a spoon and place in small oven-proof dish. Skin and slice banana. Add to dish containing mango pieces. Pour vanilla rum over fruit and stir to mix. Set aside.
In a separate small bowl, mix together flour, butter, sugar and cinnamon until crumbly. Spread evenly over fruit mixture. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, until topping is lightly browned and fruit is cooked through.
Serve hot with a dollop of whipped cream, if you like.
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe adapted from Creole Recipes and Cocktails from the Caribbean, Volume 2