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Mango and Coconut Bread Pudding with Plantains: A Fusion Delight



By Ida B, Food Editor

In the vibrant world of fusion cuisine, the combination of Caribbean and Louisiana flavors offers a tantalizing journey for the taste buds. Today, we explore a dessert that epitomizes this blend: Mango and Coconut Bread Pudding with Plantains. This dish is a sumptuous mix of tropical fruits, rich coconut milk, and the comforting warmth of a traditional bread pudding.

The Origins of Fusion

Fusion cuisine has been a culinary trend for decades, bringing together distinct flavors and techniques from different cultures. This Mango and Coconut Bread Pudding with Plantains is inspired by the sweet, fruity desserts of the Caribbean and the hearty, comforting bread puddings of Louisiana. The result is a dish that is both exotic and familiar, making it a perfect addition to any dinner table.


To make this delightful dessert, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 4 cups of day-old French bread, cubed
  • 1 ripe mango, diced
  • 2 ripe plantains, sliced
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup of shredded coconut
  • Butter for greasing the baking dish

Step-by-Step Recipe

  1. Preparation Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter.
  2. Mixing the Ingredients In a large bowl, combine the cubed French bread, diced mango, and sliced plantains. Toss them together gently to distribute the fruit evenly.
  3. Making the Custard In another bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, whole milk, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. Ensure the mixture is smooth and well combined.
  4. Combining the Components Pour the custard mixture over the bread and fruit mixture. Gently press the bread cubes into the custard to ensure they absorb the liquid. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to soak.
  5. Adding the Final Touches Sprinkle the shredded coconut over the top of the pudding. This will add a delightful texture and enhance the coconut flavor.
  6. Baking Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the custard is set. You can check doneness by inserting a knife into the center; it should come out clean.
  7. Serving Allow the bread pudding to cool slightly before serving. It can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature, and for an extra indulgent touch, serve it with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

A Culinary Adventure

This Mango and Coconut Bread Pudding with Plantains is more than just a dessert; it’s a culinary adventure that bridges two rich culinary traditions. The sweet mango and plantains meld beautifully with the creamy coconut custard, while the French bread provides a perfect base, soaking up all the luscious flavors.

In today’s global kitchen, where ingredients and techniques from different cultures intertwine, creating fusion dishes like this one is a celebration of culinary diversity. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or an enthusiastic home cook, this recipe invites you to explore and savor the delicious intersection of Caribbean and Louisiana cuisines.

For those who dare to blend flavors and traditions, this Mango and Coconut Bread Pudding with Plantains is a delightful reward. Happy cooking!

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Local Ingredients: Cooking with the Flavors of USVI



Exploring the culinary delights of the Virgin Islands is a journey through a tapestry of flavors, influenced by African, European, and Caribbean cultures. This rich blend is reflected in the diverse ingredients and cooking techniques unique to the islands, making the local cuisine an essential part of the USVI experience.

Fresh Seafood

The abundant waters surrounding the Virgin Islands provide a plethora of fresh seafood, which is a staple in local cuisine. Commonly used fish include wahoo, mahi-mahi, snapper, and grouper. Dishes like grilled or fried fish, fish tacos, and seafood stews are popular among locals and visitors alike. Conch, a large sea snail, is often featured in dishes such as conch fritters and conch in butter sauce​.

Tropical Fruits and Vegetables

The tropical climate of the USVI is ideal for growing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Mangoes, guavas, papayas, and passion fruits are commonly used in both savory and sweet dishes. These fruits are often incorporated into desserts, sauces, and marinades. Vegetables like callaloo (similar to spinach), breadfruit, and okra are frequently found in traditional dishes such as kallaloo soup and stewed vegetables​​.

Spices and Herbs

The use of spices and herbs is integral to Virgin Islands cuisine. Commonly used spices include allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves, which add warmth and complexity to dishes. Fresh herbs like thyme, cilantro, and parsley are essential for flavoring meats, stews, and sauces. The influence of Indian cuisine is evident in the use of curry powders and spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric, particularly in dishes such as roti and curried meats​​.

Traditional Dishes

Local dishes are a reflection of the islands’ history and cultural influences. Johnnycakes, a type of fried bread, and pate, a savory pastry filled with spiced meat, are popular snacks. Saltfish, a staple of many Caribbean islands, is commonly served with boiled eggs, johnnycakes, or dumplings. Another traditional dish is fungi, a cornmeal-based side similar to polenta, often served with fish or stewed meats​.

Beverage Highlights

Rum, an integral part of the Virgin Islands’ history, is a key ingredient in many local beverages. Cruzan Rum, produced on St. Croix, is renowned for its variety of rums, including flavored and aged options. The famous Painkiller cocktail, made with rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and coconut cream, originated in the nearby British Virgin Islands but is a favorite in the USVI as well. Fresh fruit juices and smoothies made from local fruits are also popular choices for cooling down in the tropical heat​.

Cooking Techniques

Traditional cooking techniques in the Virgin Islands include grilling, stewing, and slow-cooking, methods that draw out the rich flavors of the local ingredients. Grilling is often used for seafood and meats, while stewing is a common method for preparing hearty dishes like kallaloo and beef stew. Slow-cooking helps to meld the flavors of spices and herbs with meats and vegetables, resulting in deeply flavored dishes​​.


Cooking with the flavors of the Virgin Islands is an exploration of the islands’ rich cultural heritage and natural bounty. The use of fresh seafood, tropical fruits, aromatic spices, and traditional cooking techniques creates a vibrant and diverse culinary experience. Whether you’re enjoying a simple grilled fish or a complex stew, each dish tells a story of the islands’ history and the people who have called them home.

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Top Seafood Dishes in USVI: Recipes and Tips



The United States Virgin Islands (USVI) offer a culinary paradise, especially for seafood lovers. The region’s seafood cuisine is a rich blend of Caribbean flavors and fresh ingredients, showcasing a variety of mouth-watering dishes. Here are some of the top seafood dishes from the USVI, complete with recipes and tips to bring a taste of the islands to your kitchen.

Fish and Fungi

Fish and Fungi is the national dish of the USVI, deeply rooted in the islands’ history. This dish features fresh, local fish, typically red snapper or saltfish, served with fungi, a cornmeal-based side similar to polenta. The fish is often sautéed with onions, tomatoes, and spices, creating a flavorful and satisfying meal. For the fungi, combine cornmeal with water, butter, and okra, stirring until it reaches a thick, dough-like consistency.

Tip: To enhance the flavor, use freshly caught fish and serve with a squeeze of lime juice.

Conch Fritters

Conch fritters are a beloved appetizer in the USVI. These delicious morsels are made from conch meat, which is seasoned with herbs and spices, then battered and deep-fried. They are usually served with a tangy dipping sauce made from mayonnaise, ketchup, and hot sauce.


  1. Mince fresh conch meat.
  2. Mix with chopped onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic, thyme, and parsley.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, and a beaten egg to form a batter.
  4. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture into hot oil and fry until golden brown.

Tip: Ensure the oil is hot enough before frying to achieve a crispy exterior.


Callaloo is a hearty and nutritious soup made from leafy greens such as spinach or dasheen leaves, combined with okra, salted meat, and various seasonings. This dish is not only a staple in the USVI but also popular across the Caribbean.

Tip: Serve callaloo over fungi for a traditional touch.

Pot Fish

Pot fish refers to a variety of reef fish caught using traditional fish pots. These fish are often prepared by grilling or pan-frying and served with a side of vegetables or rice.


  1. Season the fish with a blend of local spices, including thyme, garlic, and scotch bonnet peppers.
  2. Grill or pan-fry until the fish is cooked through and has a crispy skin.

Tip: Use a marinade of lime juice and olive oil for added flavor and moisture.

Johnny Cakes

Johnny cakes are a versatile and popular side dish in the USVI. These fried bread pieces can accompany almost any meal, from breakfast to dinner. They are made from a simple dough of flour, baking powder, salt, and water, then deep-fried until golden.

Tip: Serve them hot and fresh with a drizzle of honey or alongside savory dishes.

Caribbean Lobster

Caribbean lobster, distinct from its cold-water counterpart, is a highlight of USVI seafood cuisine. It is often grilled and served with a rich butter sauce infused with garlic and herbs.


  1. Split the lobster tails and marinate with a mixture of butter, garlic, lemon juice, and parsley.
  2. Grill the lobster tails until the meat is opaque and tender.

Tip: Avoid overcooking the lobster to keep the meat succulent and flavorful.

Cooking Tips for Seafood in the USVI

  1. Freshness is Key: Always opt for the freshest seafood available. Freshly caught fish and shellfish bring out the authentic flavors of USVI dishes.
  2. Use Local Ingredients: Incorporate local herbs and spices such as thyme, allspice, and scotch bonnet peppers to add depth and authenticity to your dishes.
  3. Marination: Marinating fish and seafood enhances their natural flavors and helps in tenderizing tougher cuts like conch and lobster.

Bringing these traditional USVI seafood dishes to your table can transport you to the tropical paradise, offering a delightful culinary experience filled with vibrant flavors and rich heritage.

For more detailed recipes and variations, explore resources from local chefs and food enthusiasts​ (The Hills, St. John)​​ (Allrecipes)​​ (The Kitchn)​​ (Food & Wine)​​ (Southern Living)​.

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Traditional Virgin Islands Recipes to Try at Home



Exploring the culinary traditions of the U.S. Virgin Islands offers a flavorful adventure rich in history and culture. These recipes, deeply rooted in African, European, and Caribbean influences, highlight the islands’ vibrant and diverse food heritage. Here are some must-try traditional dishes from the Virgin Islands that you can recreate in your kitchen.

Fish and Fungi

Fish and Fungi is the national dish of the Virgin Islands. Fungi (pronounced foon-gee) is similar to polenta and is made from cornmeal and okra. This savory side dish is often served with a variety of fish, typically sautéed or stewed. To prepare this, boil water with salt and slowly whisk in cornmeal and sliced okra until the mixture thickens into a smooth, porridge-like consistency. Pair it with your favorite fish, seasoned with local herbs and spices, and enjoy a taste of the islands at home​ (The Hills, St. John)​​ (OrangeSmile)​.

Johnny Cakes

Johnny Cakes are a beloved staple, akin to fried bread, enjoyed at any meal. These deep-fried dough pieces are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. To make Johnny Cakes, mix flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and butter. Add milk and knead into a dough, then roll out and fry until golden brown. They are perfect for breakfast with a bit of butter and honey or as a side to savory dishes like stews and soups​ (Crucian Contessa)​.


Callaloo is a hearty and nutritious soup made from leafy greens, often dasheen or spinach, cooked with okra, onions, and a variety of meats like pork, crab, or salted cod. This dish has West African origins and is packed with vitamins and minerals. To make Callaloo, sauté onions, garlic, and thyme in a large pot, add the greens and okra, then pour in coconut milk and simmer until everything is tender. This dish is often served over a mound of fungi or with rice​ (The Hills, St. John)​​ (OrangeSmile)​.

Conch Fritters

Conch Fritters are a popular appetizer or snack, featuring diced conch meat battered and fried until crispy. To prepare, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, eggs, milk, and finely chopped conch. Season with hot peppers, onions, and celery, then drop spoonfuls of the batter into hot oil and fry until golden. These fritters are typically served with a tangy dipping sauce, making them a perfect finger food for gatherings​ (Crucian Contessa)​​ (OrangeSmile)​.

Cow Heel Soup

Cow Heel Soup, also known as Cow Foot Soup, is a comfort food deeply embedded in the Virgin Islands’ culinary traditions. This soup features tender cow heel simmered with root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and yams. The soup is flavored with thyme, garlic, and a mix of spices, creating a rich and hearty meal. To make it, simmer the cow heel in a pot with water until tender, then add the vegetables and spices, and cook until the vegetables are soft​ (The Hills, St. John)​.


Pates are similar to empanadas, these deep-fried pastries are stuffed with a variety of fillings such as spiced meat, fish, or vegetables. The dough is made from flour, baking powder, and shortening, rolled out, filled, and then sealed before frying. These portable snacks are perfect for on-the-go meals or picnics​ (Crucian Contessa)​​ (OrangeSmile)​.

Bush Tea

To accompany these delicious dishes, try making Bush Tea, a traditional herbal tea made from a blend of local leaves and herbs like lemongrass, mint, or basil. Simply steep the leaves in hot water, strain, and enjoy a soothing and aromatic beverage that reflects the natural bounty of the islands​ (OrangeSmile)​.

These recipes not only provide a taste of the Virgin Islands but also offer a glimpse into the cultural and historical tapestry of the region. Enjoy preparing and sharing these dishes with your family and friends, bringing a bit of the Caribbean to your home. For more detailed recipes and additional Virgin Islands culinary delights, consider exploring resources like “The Crucian Contessa” and other Caribbean cookbooks​ (Crucian Contessa)​​ (​​ (Crucian Contessa)​.

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