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When your bananas start developing black freckles and are too soft to eat, it’s time to make banana bread, and here’s one of my favorites. This easy recipe yields a moist, flavorful loaf that’s great on its own, but even better when toasted and spread with lots of soft, salty French butter. Feel free to embellish it by adding semisweet chocolate chips or thin shards of dark chocolate.

Makes one 9 x 5-inch loaf, serving 8

Ingredients


  • 1 cup (100 grams) pecan halves
  • 1 1/4 pounds (567 grams or about 4 small) unpeeled, very ripe bananas (about 1 1/3 cups mashed), plus 1 one for garnish
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
  • 2 ½ cups (325 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup (144 grams) firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large (100 grams) eggs
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (136 grams) sour cream or buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) light or dark brown sugar, for sprinkling onto bananas
  • 1 tablespoon apricot preserves, for brushing bananas (optional)

Instructions


  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom and the two long sides with a piece of parchment paper, letting it extend above the rim of the pan by 2 inches.
  1. Scatter the pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly toasted and fragrant. Cool, then chop coarsely.
  1. Peel the bananas, put them in a medium bowl and mash them until you have a slightly chunky puree. Stir in the vanilla; set aside.
  1. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium-high speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. While beating at medium speed, gradually add the sugars, one tablespoon at a time. Beat at high speed until light, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the banana mixture until combined. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating it with the sour cream in two additions and mixing just until blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and using a rubber spatula, fold in the pecans. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Cut the banana that has been reserved for garnish in half lengthwise, and lay the two halves next to each other, cut side up, on top of the batter. Sprinkle the bananas with the 1 tablespoon of light or dark brown sugar, and bake the cake for 65 to 75 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan set on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
  1. Unmold the bread and set it upright on the wire rack; cool completely.
  1. Place the apricot preserves in a microwave-safe container and microwave until liquified, about 15 seconds. Brush the bananas on top of the bread with the warm preserves before serving.

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Tish Boylehttps://pastryathome.com
Tish Boyle is the Managing Editor of Pastry Arts Magazine, a food writer and cookbook author with expertise in baking, desserts and chocolate. A graduate of Smith College and La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine, Tish has written several dessert and baking books including Chocolate Passion, Diner Desserts, The Good Cookie, The Cake Book and Flavorful. Co-writing credits include Payard Desserts and the Grand Finales series of books.

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