A special article from the Culinary Institute of America – Chef Phil Crispo:
When it comes to a special holiday dinner, traditional recipes are hard to beat. They’re convenient and reliable and everyone expects to see them on the table year after year. There may be comfort in the annual routine, but it is hard to deny the intrigue of trying something different. For a new take on the traditional sweet potato casserole, the chefs at The Culinary Institute of America suggest a Latin twist by making this side dish with plantains.

Latin cultures consider plantains a staple ingredient and for centuries they have been enjoying this starchy relative of the yellow banana. Plantains are comfort food to Latin people just as potatoes are to European cultures.  They are eaten in both the green under-ripe state and when fully ripened and blackened in color. Under-ripe plantains are almost potato-like in flavor and can be served boiled plain, simmered in soup, or fried.

“Plantains should be large, heavy, and firm with no shriveled or soft spots. The flesh of the fully ripe fruit is a rich yellow that can be eaten raw, but is often cooked and mashed” says CIA Chef Phil Crispo.

Whip up a batch of Gingerbread Spiced Sweet Potato-Plantain Mash to complement your holiday entrée and excite hungry family and guests, Latin-style.

For a brief step-by-step video showing CIA Associate Professor Phil Crispo demonstrate how to prepare Gingerbread Spiced Sweet Potato-Plantain Mash, visit www.ciachef.edu.

Chef Crispo made this dish on December 11th on ABC’s ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ episode.  He also appeared on ‘Chopped’ for The Food Network.


Gingerbread Spiced Sweet Potato-Plantain Mash

Makes 6 servings

  • 3 plantains, very ripe, approximately 2 cups
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, approximately 2 cups
  • 1 1/2 large russet potatoes, approximately 2 cups
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream, hot
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk, hot
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt as needed
  • Black pepper as needed
  1. In a 350 degree F oven, bake plantains, sweet potatoes, and russet potatoes in their skins until soft, approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
  2. Once the potatoes and sweet potatoes are fully cooked, cut them lengthwise and force them, flesh side down, through a medium sized wire rack into a bowl. The skins will stay behind on the wire rack.
  3. Peel the plantains and puree together with the russet and sweet potatoes with a food mill or ricer, or mash in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment.
  4. Add the 1/4 cup cream, 1/4 cup milk, butter, and all the spices and mix until smooth. Depending on the ripeness of the plantains, you may need to add up to 1/4 cup more of both cream and milk if you find the mixture too dry.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Nutrition analysis per 1-ounce serving—40 calories, 1g protein, 6g carbohydrate, 1.5g fat, 1g saturated fat, 15mg sodium, 5mg cholesterol, less than 1g fiber.

Chef Phil Crispo Professional Background:
Executive Chef, Drew Norloch Ltd., Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland. Executive Chef/Manager, Head Chef, Huntingtower Hotel Co. Ltd.-Crispo’s Dunkeld-Spittal Glenshee Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland. Head Chef, Birnam Institute, Dunkeld, Scotland. Regional Executive Chef, Compass Group USA, Charlotte, NC. Sous Chef, Royal Dunkeld Hotel, Perthshire. Chef de Partie, Harry Cipriani’s, NYC.

Chef Phil Crispo Awards:

Best Fish, Société Culianaire Philanthropique Salon of Culinary Arts, NYC, 2009. Marc Sarrazin Trophy (CIA team), Salon of Culinary Arts, NYC, 2006. Compass Group Award for Culinary Excellence, 1999. Gold Medal, International Salon Culinaire, London, 1998.

About The Culinary Institute of America
Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is an independent, not-for-profit college offering associate and bachelor’s degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts as well as certificate programs in culinary arts, Latin cuisines, and wine and beverage studies. As the world’s premier culinary college, the CIA provides thought leadership in the areas of health & wellness, sustainability, and world cuisines & cultures through research and conferences. The CIA has a network of 44,000 alumni that includes industry leaders such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, Roy Choi, Cat Cora, Dan Coudreaut, Steve Ells, Johnny Iuzzini, Charlie Palmer, and Roy Yamaguchi. The CIA also offers courses for professionals and enthusiasts, as well as consulting services in support of innovation for the foodservice and hospitality industry. The college has campuses in Hyde Park, NY; St. Helena, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Singapore.

For more information, visit the CIA online at www.ciachef.edu.