Preparation / Directions:
Here is a naturally sweet, refreshing dessert that is a common finale to dinner parties in former French West Africa. Use only the ripest, fullest-flavored fruits; bananas that have just turned yellow and only the sweetest pineapple. If you cannot find large-sized fruit called for in the recipe, equivalent weights of smaller fruits can be used. You can make the salad up to 4 hrs ahead of time, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Add the bananas just before serving, however, or they will turn brown. The fruits must be all cut into very small pieces for the dish to be at its best.
Half the papaya and scoop out its seeds; peel the halves. Cut the flesh into small pieces and place in a large serving bowl.
Peel the mangoes. Slice as much of the flesh off the pit as possible, being careful to capture any juices. Cut the flesh into small pieces. Add the pieces and their juices to the bowl holding the papaya.
Using a sturdy, harp knife, cut the top and bottom off of the pineapple. Set the pineapple upright on a cutting board. Working from the top to the bottom, slice off the dark, prickly outside skin. Cut out any remaining eyes or dark spots. (A strawberry huller works well for this.) Cut the pineapple lengthwise into quarters, being careful to capture any juices. Cut lengthwise again to remove the tough inner core on each quarter. Cut the pineapple into small pieces, again being careful to capture any juices. Add the pineapple and juices to the other fruits. Toss well, cover and refrigerate until well chilled.
Just before serving, peel the bananas and cut into small pieces. Add to the bowl, toss well and serve.