Wednesday 27 May 2020

Jason's banana bread

First off, let's tackle this nomenclature thing. Banana bread? Why? Eggs, sugar, butter, flour. It's obviously cake. Explanation vary: because it's made in a loaf tin (but many cakes are); because it's eaten in slices with butter (lots of bread isn't); because it has baking powder in it (so do half the cakes in Christendom). I suspect it's just the alliteration  Anyway, let's do what Dominic Cummings should have... and move on.

Not ripe enough really
I tried a lot of recipes to get to this. Yes, yes, someone had to... blah, blah. But outcomes do vary. Some have an unwelcome lightness like sponge cake; some could be spread like fruit paté. I like a banana bread to be a fairly dense affair but not sticky or heavy. I think nuts are essential. My youngest son demands chocolate chips but I think they have no place here. 

The key ingredient is the bananas. They must be frighteningly over-ripe; in danger of pouring themselves out of the fruit bowl. If they aren't mostly black, put 'em back. Leave them a few days longer... then another week. Freeze anything you don't use. The ones I used here aren't ripe enough but I was under pressure to produce and you know what lock-down tempers are like.

The only slightly controversial ingredients here are the sour cream and the lemon zest. The sour cream adds a... tah dah... sourness and acidity that helps foil the sugar. The lemon zest really lifts the flavour. It doesn't taste of lemon, at all. 

Jason's Banana Bread

Oven to 180°C

A bit of banana batter
Line a standard loaf tin with baking paper. I use a purpose made liner. It's handy to wrap the cake up in when you're trying to stop people eating it... so you can eat it all later and blame your children.

Cream together 150g each of caster sugar and unsalted butter until light and fluffy. Beat in four eggs. Add in the following and fold through: 250g of self raising flour, one teaspoon of baking powder, a big pinch of salt and half teaspoons each of ground cinnamon, cloves and allspice.

Slice up four very ripe bananas. Actually if they're properly ripe, you won't be able to slice them. Squidge them. Beat in but don't homogenise the mix. I like little pockets of pure banana. Add one big tablespoon of either sour cream or yoghurt.

Finally add 100g of lightly crushed walnuts or pecans and the finely grated zest of a lemon.

You should have a pale yellow batter than runs freely. Pour this into the lined loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 70 minutes. Sprinkle with Demerara sugar for crunch.

Best eaten in thick slices with cold butter and hot coffee.

Apologies for any typos. Honestly I think my eyesight is getting worse. I'm just going for a drive with the kids to check it out.