Five Spice Banana Wontons with Caramel Sauce


I had really wanted to enter this recipe in "Your Best Dumpling" contest, but my school schedule prevented it. How perfect now to have another opportunity. This recipe was inspired by one for Banana Spring Rolls with Rum Sauce from a very old issue of Bon Appetit or Gourmet that I made when I was in middle school. Growing up, I loved making elaborate desserts -- chocolate or coconut souffles, individual cheesecakes, profiteroles. Upon reflection, I am amazed that my mom let me endeavor on these culinary adventures, considering my age. It all started with simpler fare from the Silver Palate at age 8 and really took off when I got my hands on Gourmet at 11 or 12. My dad likes to give my boyfriend a hard time about the desserts I haven't made for him yet, even though we have been going out for some time: "Has she made you bread pudding? Flourless chocolate cake? Coconut souffle? And what about her banana wontons?" The answer is often a downtrodden no, leading to questions about my true affection. I throw up my hands and say, "med school!" and that placates him temporarily. However, given this week's contest and a brief lull before finals, I decided now was the time to (finally) make him this dessert. Note: the caramel sauce was inspired by David Lebovitz and the recipe for five spice powder adapted from the myriad versions that abound online. Enjoy!

What you will need

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons salted butter

3/4 cup heavy cream

~20 square wonton wrappers

1 ripe banana

1.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I really like to use Scharffen Berger)

canola oil

Chinese five spice powder (see below)

1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns

1 whole star anise

1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


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