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Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday, but here in America, we're more likely to call it Mardi Gras or even Fat Tuesday. We're likely to eat King Cake and beignets and listen to jazz and wish we were in the balmy February weather of the Bayou rather than where we actually are, which is probably shoveling out our car from three feet of snow.
According to Wikipedia, and seconded by some photo I saw in US Weekly last year starring Kate Middleton—note to self: renew subscription to The Economist—people in other countries, notably England, still celebrate the day before Lent as Pancake Tuesday. And the more I learn about Pancake Tuesday, the more I wish that we incorporated it into our existing Stateside festivities.
Because Pancake Tuesday means pancake races. Yes, "participants with frying pans race through the streets tossing pancakes into the air, catching them in the pan whilst running." Does anything sound more awesome? I don't even like most pancakes (crepes and extra-thin Scandinavian-style pancakes excepted), but hearing of such a joyful race made me want to cook up a batch immediately.
To prove that Pancake Tuesday and American-style Mardi Gras can fit harmoniously together, I decided to make a roasted banana topping that I adapted years ago from River Road Recipes: the textbook of Louisiana Cuisine—as decreed by the Junior League of Baton Rouge. It's a simple concoction they call "Tropical Style Baked Bananas", in which you essentially just pan-fry some bananas in butter then finish them in the oven with some sugar until they become a bubbling, oozy dish of bananas in sugar sauce. I like using it as a topping for bread pudding, ice cream, and even oatmeal. The next obvious step was to put it over pancakes, but not just any pancakes, chocolate pancakes.
The resulting breakfast brings together the best of both worlds, and by that I mean the classic combination of chocolate and banana. It might not be easy to make this stack of fluffy, chocolately pancakes topped with sweet, almost caramelized bananas whilst running, but I wouldn't be opposed if you wanted to give it a shot.