Award-winning chef Robert Oliver shares a recipe from his new show, Marae Kai Masters.

Banana beignets with passionfruit caramel sauce

This dessert typifies the tropics and appears all over the Pacific, usually on hotel menus. Tahitian bananas are spectacular. Use rio or rimurimu or, even better, the small ladyfinger bananas. They have a powerful flavour and cook well. Icecream is a nice accompaniment to the hot, sweet banana fritters with their tangy, nutty sauce.

Batter
1 cup self-raising flour
pinch of salt
1 cup ginger beer

Passionfruit Caramel Sauce
½ cup raw sugar
1 cup coconut milk
1 Tbsp butter
¼ cup passionfruit nectar or juice
1 Tbsp rum
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

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Fast Coconut Icecream (optional)
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup grated fresh coconut
3 cups vanilla icecream, softened

Beignets
8 ripe bananas
½ cup plain flour
oil for deep frying
½ cup caster sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Batter
1 Combine the self-raising flour, salt and ginger beer in a mixing bowl to make a thin batter. Chill for about 30 minutes, while making sauce.

2 To make the sauce, heat the sugar in a heavy pan or skillet until melted and golden brown.

3 Add the coconut milk, butter, passionfruit and rum, whisking well to combine, being careful not to splash yourself with hot sugar. Simmer for five minutes, then remove from the heat.

4 Scrape the seeds from half the vanilla bean and add to the sauce. Mix well. Set aside.

5 If you are serving icecream, prepare this now. Place the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan over a moderately high heat. Melt and caramelise, as for the sauce. Add the coconut, mix well and let the mixture cool.

6 Fold into the vanilla icecream, then return the icecream to the freezer until it is needed.

7 To make the beignets, peel the bananas and cut them in half lengthwise. Dredge them in the flour and then coat generously with the batter.
In a deep skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat the cooking oil over a moderately high heat.

8 Place the battered pieces gently in the oil and cook until golden brown. If a piece sticks to the pan, quickly detach with a fork so that it floats in the oil.

9 Meanwhile, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Reheat the sauce gently for serving.

As the beignets are cooked, remove from the oil and drop into the cinnamon sugar to coat lightly. Serve hot with warm passionfruit caramel sauce and ice-cold coconut icecream.

Serves 6
Marae Kai Masters, Wednesdays at 8.30pm on Maori Television.