Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mardi Gras=Party Time

In the US we refer to the day before Ash Wednesday as Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday. Although it has become a huge event in New Orleans, this tradition appears in many cultures with different names such as Semlor (Sweden), Fastelavn (Denmark) and Paczki. The common theme is using up eggs, butter and milk that traditionally were forbidden during Lent.

Eastern European countries and the U.K serve pancakes on this day. Swedish Semlor and Danish Fastelavn, baked for Shrove Tuesday,are rich yeast buns with sweet fillings. Semlor are filled with almond paste and whipped cream and fastelavn contain custard cream. Polish Paczki are baked with various fruit fillings and fried.

Scandinavian Classic Baking has a recipe for Semlor that has been successfully taste-tested by my family.

In the spirit of Mardi Gras here is a recipe similar to Bananas Foster not quite as rich, and difinitely healthier!

Banana Burrito

Do you eat a banana everyday because it is high in potassium? Even if you don’t, try this easy dessert. Nutella is a rich and creamy combination of chocolate and hazelnuts. The brown sugar melts during baking forming a caramel sauce that is perfect with frozen yogurt or ice cream. Use bananas that are just ripe, as very ripe bananas will turn brown.

Makes 2 servings

2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (8 inch) flour tortilla
1 tablespoon nutella
1 banana, peeled and sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 tablespoon whipping cream
Vanilla frozen yogurt or ice cream

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Pour butter into a 9-inch pie plate. Dip the tortilla into the butter and turn the buttered side to top. Spread nutella down center of tortilla. Arrange banana over the nutella and sprinkle with the brown sugar, cinnamon and whipping cream. Fold tortilla to cover the banana.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until the tortilla is heated through. Cut the burrito in half and serve with ice cream.

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