Banana-Coconut Cobbler

published Feb 24, 2024
Banana-Coconut Cobbler Recipe

Fruit cobbler meets banana pudding in this special, comforting dessert.

Serves6 to 8

Prep25 minutes to 30 minutes

Cook35 minutes to 40 minutes

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overhead shot of a banana cobbler with a large scoop taken out of the bottom right corner.
Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

Recently, I was asked to collaborate with a Caribbean chef on a menu for a Black diaspora pop-up dinner. The task was to create a delicious dish that felt representative of the cuisines of the Black American South and the Caribbean. I started thinking about warm fruit cobbler and banana pudding — two Southern desserts that I love. Then I turned to coconut, a popular Caribbean ingredient, to bring it all together. This banana and coconut cobbler was the perfect dessert for the occasion. 

All these things combined showcases two cultures converging to represent Blackness in a sweet, warm, and delicious way. It feels familiar and hospitable, relaxed and celebratory, comforting and special. For me, these qualities are some of the most representative characteristics of the Black diaspora.

Key Ingredients in Banana-Coconut Cobbler

  • Bananas: I wanted the bananas to be present in each bite, so I chose to smash and slice them into the filling, and then bake them whole over the top so everyone knew what’s inside. 
  • Coconut: I add coconut extract as well as coconut flakes, yet the overall flavor here is subtle. 
  • Lime: A hint of lime zest and juice brightens things up and pulls in more Caribbean influence.

Banana-Coconut Cobbler Recipe

Fruit cobbler meets banana pudding in this special, comforting dessert.

Prep time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes to 40 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick)

    unsalted butter

  • 1

    medium lime

  • 1 (about 13.5-ounce) can

    full-fat unsweetened coconut milk

  • 3/4 cup

    granulated sugar, divided

  • 1/4 cup

    water

  • 1 tablespoon

    cornstarch

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    coconut or vanilla extract

  • 4

    medium ripe bananas, divided

  • 1 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons shredded or flaked unsweetened dried coconut, divided

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. While the oven is heating, place 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in an 8x8-inch or other 2-quart baking dish. Place in the oven until the butter is melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.

  2. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lime into a medium bowl (about 2 teaspoons). Juice half of the lime into the bowl (about 1 tablespoon); reserve the remaining 1/2 lime for another use. Shake 1 (about 13.5-ounce) can coconut milk well before opening. Add 3/4 cup of the coconut milk, 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut or vanilla extract to the bowl. Whisk until smooth.

  3. Peel 4 medium bananas. Add 1 banana to the lime mixture and gently smash until combined. Thinly slice 2 of the bananas crosswise into rounds. Add the banana slices and 1/3 cup of the dried unsweetened coconut to the mixture, and gently stir to combine. Transfer to the baking dish and spread into an even layer.

  4. Place 1 cup all-purpose flour, the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until combined. Add the remaining coconut milk from the can and whisk until smooth. Gently pour the batter evenly over the filling. Do not stir.

  5. Cut the remaining 1 banana in half lengthwise. Place on top of the cobbler cut-side up. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons dried unsweetened coconut.

  6. Bake until the center is just set, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving warm.

Recipe Notes

Substitutions: For a dairy-free version, substitute melted coconut oil for butter. To make it boozy, substitute the lime zest and juice with 1 to 2 tablespoons rum.

Make ahead: The cobbler can be baked up to 1 day ahead. Let cool, cover with aluminum foil, and refrigerate. Reheat covered in a 325ºF oven until warmed through, about 20 minutes.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.