I’ve been toying with a few different banana bread recipes lately: this one from Deb (which is borrowed from Elise), and one that I’ve adapted from Rose Levy Berenbaum’s Bread Bible. They’re both easy to camp out on, but since I’ve been making banana bread weekly – Mike conspicuously stows the overripe bananas in the fridge when they become due – I got a little bored of the banana.
Rewind. Earlier this summer, during my final browsing of Domy Books before I left Austin, I came across a book by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra. This lady is “a convent-attending Guyanese Hindu of Indian ancestry, who was educated in North America and Europe and subsequently married into a European Jewish family.” And yes, she brilliantly incorporates all of these influences – these baked memories – into her book, Warm Bread & Honey Cake. The first thing I made from it was alu roti, otherwise known as potato-stuffed naan. I miserably failed at making plain jane naan a few years ago, so I don’t know how she tricked me into trying something even more assured of failure, but it worked!
So since the book proves to be magical, I decided to test-drive the banana bread recipe. It is slightly modified from her banana cake recipe (yes, I know!), which I have tweaked further to fix my boredom with the banana. The end result worked out well: the caramel warmth of the brown sugar, the hint of spice from the cinnamon and the chewy pistachios brought out a different side of the banana. I think we’re on good terms again.
liberally adapted from Warm Bread & Honey Cake
As with most things baked, it’s best to have room temp. ingredients when you start. Um. I didn’t really have the patience to wait, so I stuck the bowl of butter in a sunspot on the kitchen table and then fudged the rest.
8.5 oz overripe bananas, peeled (about 2 large ones)
1 Tbs lemon juice
7 0z all-purpose flour (or 1 1/3 c)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4.5 oz unsalted butter, softened (10 Tbs or 1 1/4 sticks)
4 oz dark brown sugar (or solidly packed 1/2 c)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c pistachios, shelled and chopped
Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease and flour an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan (or the closest you have). Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, smash bananas with lemon juice, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream sugar and butter together until smooth and lighter in color. Add the egg and vanilla and beat very well. Mix in the smashed bananas, then add the dry ingredients to the wet in three batches, gently folding the batter together between every addition. Fold in the pistachios at the end.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about one hour, or until the loaf has browned and a skewer stabbed into the center comes out clean (a thermometer should read ~210F in the center). Cool slightly, then gently remove the loaf from the pan to finish cooling on a wire rack until just warm.
This is the way to welcome a Friday afternoon.