Thursday, October 29, 2009


I don’t tend to think of myself as a nostalgic person, especially when it comes to food. The things I like to cook are certainly not the things that I could see my grandmother making. That’s not to say that I don’t like eating warm homey chicken’n’dumplings or rich delicious sugar cookies. It’s just that, when I think about cooking for the restaurant, the food that I get excited about is usually something more modern. So I was surprised when I found myself begging my mom for her Banana Bread recipe, which she got from my grandmother.

Banana bread is one of those foods that I grew up on. Bananas, being cheap and relatively nutritious (for a fruit), were something that was always around the house; and when there’s bananas aplenty, one can be sure that there will eventually be over ripe bananas. Banana bread is an ingenious use of a product that is past its prime.

I have tried this recipe many times, and many ways, but came to one conclusion. The bananas MUST be overripe. Anything less results in a final product ranging from “just alright” to “absolutely foul.” You could add nuts, raisins, or chocolate to the batter, but why mess with perfection? Here is your basic banana bread recipe:

4oz butter

8oz sugar

2ea eggs

10oz Banana purée

11oz flour

1t. baking soda

1/4t. salt

1) Cream butter and sugar until lightened in color and texture

2) Add in eggs one at a time to ensure a smooth emulsion

3) Add bananas and mix to incorporate. Be sure to scrape the bowl well!

4) Mix in the dry until just smooth. Over-mixing will result in a tough bread.

5) Bake at 375° in a 9x5 loaf pan for about 45 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out cleanly

Thinking more about the plate as a whole, I like my banana bread toasted with butter, so warming it in a buttered sauté pan is a must. There is a dark rum caramel sauce to counter some of the sweeter elements. Also on the plate, I’ve added some toffee bits for texture and to anchor the caramel ice cream, which was sprinkled with a little Murray River salt. To finish, a fired plantain chip tossed in sugar, because it looks an awful lot like a banana and it got adds some nice height to the plate, along with a nice crunch. I think it came out very well. My only fear is that there isn’t enough to counteract the potential dryness of the banana bread. Something to think about…

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