This is the 2nd rendition of this recipe. The first one has a chicken, showing raw dough and apricots. I think that recipe is perfectly wonderful for apricots. This recipe is targeted to bananas and the lovely cake/pie that can be made.
I know most people think of the lowly common banana as coming from South America but that’s not the case. This wonderful and humble piece of fruit comes from South East Asisan area, found in Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern cooking in period. This is one of my favorite recipes. Sweet savory and melty banana stuffed bread. Either plain or with vanilla ice cream, this is amazingly good. You can use apricots if you choose, but do try this with bananas at least once!
Apricots (or Bananas) and Chicken
First Recipe: Banana
Take bananas that are fully ripe. Peel them and immerse them in fine samid sour dough, kneaded as for pancakes. Then take them up and leave on some thing woven. Boil sesame oil, fry the bananas, take them out and throw them in syrup. Then throw them in a dish with pounded, sugar, then arrange them in a tray with fine flat breads above and below. Hang fat chicken above.
(Rodison, pp. 411).
Second Recipe: Apricots
Take some sweet and mature apricots; detach (the fruit) from the pit. (Mix it with sugar.) In a clean baking pan…spread out (an already baked) flat bread) and place the mixture of apricots and place the mixture of apricots and sugar) on top. (over this with another cooked flat bread.) If you wish to add a bit of saffron , do so and sprinkle with rose water; then hang an excellent hen over (the dish), may it please God.
(Zaouali, pp. 82)
5 Bananas firm bananas and 3 over ripe bananas 1/3 cup sugar flat bread dough
½ C rendered chicken fat Or 1/2 stick of salted butter.
or 2 cups fresh or dried apricots 1 pinch saffron 1/8 teaspoon rosewater
Banana Flat Bread Dough
4 C flour 2 TBS honey 1 TBS salt 1 C water 3 VERY ripe bananas
When I did this recipe the first time, I used sliced home made bread and apricots. The bread burnt on the bottom.. The second time I used raw flat bread dough but not flat bread with banana, and a chicken sitting on top of the raw flat bread. This was much much better. I also did half apricots (mixed with saffron and rose water) and raw bananas (uncooked). This time, I adapted the dough a bit and the stuffing. Originally I took a shallow tangine, and poured a little sesame oil down to coat the dish then laid down the raw flat bread. This time I used a clay dish, deeper then a tangine unfortunately not deep enough as the dough raised and the rendered chicken fat could not all be used only a small portion.
First I made the dough. Flour in a bowl.
The ingredients honey, salt, yeast and water.
Are then mixed together.
This is very well mixed together. You can see a bit of crystallized honey here.
Next add in three very ripe bananas to the soft dough.
Mix, in the bananas, very well.
The dough should be pliable and soft but not hard. Some where between a pancake dough and a bread dough. Divide the dough into two.
On a well floured surface, roll the dough out. Here bits of honey that have not been well mixed are showing through. I used honey that had gone granular due to the cold. To fix this, in a period manner, just put granular honey in a bowl then place that bowl in another bowl with hot water coming to just the middle of the first bowl. This should melt the honey. Or, modernly, just stick the bowl with the granular honey in a microwave for 30 seconds or so.
Take a deep clay dish and oil the bottom. Here I used walnut oil. Sesame oil has a very strong taste and I wanted a nuttier flavor instead. The recipe calls for sesame but I changed this to my taste.
Place the dough in the bottom of the dish.
Next take and chop 5 bananas. These bananas need to be not overly ripe. Green bananas to almost brown but not squishy.
Slice the bananas up as thicker or slightly thicker then a finger width (roughly ½ inch)
Take a frying pan and add walnut oil with 1/3 C of sugar.
Then add the raw bananas until slightly browned. Maybe 2 minutes. Do not burn. The sugar will caramelize adding a deeper color to the bananas so pay strict attention to this part.
And now yummy tasty divine cooked bananas. These are so incredibly good, that I had to limit myself to only a couple of bites other wise I would have eaten the entire filling of cooked bananas.
Place the caramelized bananas on top of the bottom layer of dough.
Place the second layer of dough on top. Place the dish into the oven at 350.
This is where things get a little tricky. In period, the oven area had hooks for the a chicken to be roasted on (Rodison/Zaouali, Most people do not have such an item in their modern ovens or fire pits these days, which makes adding chicken fat a little rough. There are two choices, place a raw chicken on top while the dish cooks or take the rendered fat from roasted chicken.
I chose to take the fat from a roasted chicken cooked prior that week. The fat/drippings were gathered in a jar and place in the refrigerator till I was ready to use. I was not impressed with either the chicken on top of the dough or how the dough came out with a chicken on top. With the rendered chicken fat the crust puffs up nicely and a golden salty brown crust results.
So every 15 minutes pour a few tablespoons on top of the dough.
Pouring a little at a time will simulate the dripping of the fat from a chicken over the pudding dish instead of drowning the dish in chicken fat if poured on all at once.
This is the final dish. The crust is lightly browned, even golden, where you can see the chicken fat has crisped the dough along the edges. If you do not have any chicken fat available use butter. Put a few teaspoons on the crust about half way through for this lovely salty sweet crust.
The final taste test was incredible. The top is savory sweet while the filling adds an extra layer of sweetness. The bottom is perfectly done, sweet but not as savory as the top.
Period vs. Modern
The period dish would have been done in a wood fired stove with a hanging chicken on a hook or spit. I had to do this dish in a gas fired stove with collected rendered chicken fat. I used as many organic items as possible. The chicken that would have been cooked over this dish would have been either a Sultan or a Russian Orlaff (Chickens in Period Research Paper). I had to use a modern chicken for the rendered fat. As seen in the photos, I tried to use as period dishes as possible for mixing and cooking. The bananas would have been fried on a flat sheet of metal. (Rodinson, p. 286)
I enjoyed this dish very much. I would have personally seasoned the dough with spices but the recipe did not indicate this was done. I am betting; however that the love for spices was great enough someone somewhere would have thought to spice the dough up. If I were serving this to friends, I would; however the dough at this point is a simple dough relying on bananas and honey for flavor.