After 5 years of marriage I learned that my husband likes bananas and will eat one a morning…… good to know after 5 years. Ha! Good grief. But, as it happens, when you buy a bunch of bananas inevitably a few go soft. And when a few go bad you make banana bread (or freeze them for future smoothies). This is the banana bread I came across a few years ago and I truly enjoy it. This bread flavored with nutmeg and rum is top notch. It’s the ladylike version of banana bread. There’s no chocolate chunks, no nuts. No eggs either! The fat comes from a stick of butter and I applied Dan Shepard’s creaming method of incorporating a bit of the flour into the butter before adding the rest of the dry and wet ingredients. It domed beautifully and formed a lovely crackle crust on top from the sprinkle of demerara/turbinado/raw sugar.
It comes from Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around the World but my attention was drawn to it from The Wednesday Chef – one of the four online authors that I trust (the others are here, here, and here). As it turns out I have the book and it’s written by Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguid the fantastic authors of Flatbreads & Flavors: A Baker’s Atlas (one of my favorites!), Seductions of Rice, and many many others. The recipe caught my attention because Luisa (The Wednesday Chef) said it was wonderful after her baby was born and in the book the recipe was for another woman who had just had a baby. And at the time I was about to have a baby…..so it caught my attention. Yes, its wonderful after you’ve had your first and second child and for any other occasion.
This book is filled with wonderful recipes and stories from around the world and there are quite a few of their recipes on my to make list – such as Taipei Coconut Buns and Truck Stop Cinnamon Rolls. They’re a serious carb lovers dream.
Online Luisa successfully adapted the recipe to make one lovely loaf, in the book the recipe yields two loaves. Typically I only have 2-3 bananas to use up, so I stick with Luisa’s adaptation, but I’ve included both measurements.
8 medium-to-large overripe bananas / 3 large, overripe bananas
4 cups all purpose flour / 2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda / 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg / 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 pound butter, softened (2 sticks) / 1/4 pound butter, softened (1 stick)
pinch of salt
2 cups sugar / 1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon white vinegar / 1/8 teaspoon white vinegar
3 tablespoons dark rum / 1 1/2 teaspoons dark rum
1 cup dried shredded unsweetened coconut / 1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut
About 2 tablespoons demerara sugar / about 1 tablespoon demerara sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9×5 loaf pans or one 8×4 depending on the number of loaves you make.
- Puree bananas and set aside. If making two loaves, measure out 3 cups of puree and set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl beat together the sugar and butter with a quarter of the flour mixture. Add the rum, vinegar, and about half the banana mixture. Then more of the flour mixture. Alternating until all is used up. Stir in the coconut. Don’t overmix.
- Scrape the butter into the prepared pan(s). Smooth the top top and sprinkle with the sugar. Admittedly, I used a little more than 1 tablespoon for my top, I like a rather crackly sugar-y top.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden. and a toothpick comes out relatively clean (not wet). Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before turning it out to finish cooling (if you can wait that long, I never can – it does firm up more nicely if you wait though).