My ma brought a handful of her comfort foods with her when she moved to the States, and lumpia and banana doughnuts were my two favorites. Lumpia are crispy fried egg rolls made of rice paper that we’d stuff with cellophane noodles and ground meats — they took all day. But banana doughnuts were easier. My ma would place three ingredients in front of me — the grayish black bananas, the flour and the granulated sugar — adding a little bit of each to a mixing bowl, then mashing it with her hands until she felt it was just right. It wasn’t something you could just measure — she needed to touch it. Then we’d huddle over the deep pot of oil and start scooping the banana batter off the front end of a spoon, forcing it to ball up and fall into the hot grease. They always came out crusty on the outside and creamy on the inside. Same goes for this mash-up.
Makes 8 cigars
- 8 sheets whole wheat or regular phyllo dough, defrosted
- 2 bananas
- 1/2 cup (112 g) packed light brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp (8 g) ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) water, nut or oat milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) neutral oil or dairy-free butter, melted
Syrup Glaze ingredients:
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) rum
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) water
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) agave or honey
- 1/4 cup (35 g) toasted chopped macadamia nuts, for topping
- To make the lumpia, unwrap the defrosted phyllo dough, lay it out on the countertop and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and place a damp cloth on top to make sure they don’t dry out while you’re working. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius or gas mark 6) and have a sheet pan nearby.
- Cut the bananas in half lengthwise, and then widthwise so you have 4 equal pieces that are about 4 inches (10 cm) long. Add them to a bowl along with the brown sugar, cinnamon, water, vanilla and salt. Toss everything gently, rubbing the bananas a little so the mixture starts to cling to them.
- Lay a sheet of phyllo out on a work surface. Brush the top lightly with some of the oil, then fold the sheet in half widthwise. Rotate the sheet so the shorter end is facing you, then brush the surface again with more oil. Place a banana and some of the brown sugar mixture on the bottom middle part of the phyllo sheet, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space from the edge. Fold up the bottom flap over the sliced banana, and then fold in the sides. Brush the top of the folded pieces with more oil, and then roll the banana up tightly to create a little egg roll shape. Place seam-side down on the sheet pan. Do this for the remaining 7 lumpia, and then bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown and some of the filling bubbles out of some of the lumpia.
- To make the glaze, combine the rum, water and agave in a saucepan, bring to a boil, cook for 1 minute, then reduce the heat to a simmer. When ready to serve, pour over the cooked lumpia and sprinkle with the toasted nuts.
TIP: Let the box of phyllo dough defrost completely in the fridge overnight to make sure it’s ready to use. This step ensures the sheets won’t crack.
Also from Black Girl Baking:
Reprinted with permission from Black Girl Baking: Wholesome Recipes Inspired by a Soulful Upbringing by Jerrelle Guy, Page Street Publishing Co. 2018. Photo credit: Jerrelle Guy.