Maduros, or sweet plantains, are a staple in Latin American cuisine. In Ecuador, Maduros con Queso, or roasted sweet plantains with slices of white cheese, are a popular street food, ubiquitous throughout the entire coast. Sweet plantains can even take the form of a sweet drink called chucula, which resembles a smoothie, and is often served with some crumbled queso on top.
This holiday season, I’m using plantains in new way. This tarta de maduro is my twist on the traditional pumpkin pie, a fall staple. To achieve the right sweetness, I recommend using sweet plantains that are almost black, or pintones. At this stage, the plantains are soft and sugary, which allows for good caramelization. The plantains are cooked until soft, and then pureed with starchy cooking water. Cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg are then added to complement the sweetness and add warmth.
Serve with a creamy dollop of whipped cream or to keep it in the Ecuadorian/Latin flavor family, and serve with a slice of queso fresco. It is a great combination of salty and sweet.