This recipe is one I decided to try on a whim with some black plantains we'd picked up on special. If you pick out green plantains at the store, you can let them ripen on the counter, but be careful of letting them go too far -- if mold develops, you probably need to use them without delay. (The peels are very very thick so a little bit of mold on the surface isn't a big deal. Just wash it well before you peel it.) I didn't like Bittman's original way of cooking this dessert (which involves cutting slits in the peel and stuffing stuff in) because it's too much work both when prepping and eating. Instead, I like to peel them first to get the hard part out of the way. The spices are pretty similar to the ones used for apple pies and pumpkin pies, so if you have a little container of pumpkin/apple pie spice, just use that instead. Or, substitute nutmeg or ground cloves for the cardamom. Super-easy. In short, these are ooey, gooey treats for the banana lover that can be made in less than 30 minutes and is largely unattended - a great, fast dessert.
Hey! I decided to update this after making it with some burro bananas we had picked up on sale. Burro bananas are these short, squat bananas that can be eaten raw like normal bananas when ripe. They have this citrusy/lemony-banana flavor that's really fun and interesting. And guess what? They go great in this dish! In fact, they're even better than plantains! So, if you see burro bananas around, give 'em a shot. They're ripe when they're completely yellow (may have some black edges or spots).
Adapted from The Best Recipes in the World by Mark Bittman
Preheat oven to 400F.
Peel plantains or burro bananas and cut them into chunks. Place them into a shallow baking dish (I use an 8x4 pyrex casserole). Sprinkle with brown sugar and dot evenly with butter. Sprinkle over with cinnamon and cardamom. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly.