There are a couple of grocery staples that we as 'average' Estonians would most certainly pick up on our typical supermarket trip. Some rye bread (unless I'm baking my own), a carton of milk, some yogurt for breakfast and curd cheese for baking, a bag or two of sour cream. And a bunch of bananas. Yep. More often than not, K. and I throw a bunch of bananas into our shopping basket, as they're a useful standby if hunger pangs hit. Of course, now being late summer, we've got the first of local summer apples - Suislepp, Valge Klaar, Sõstraroosa - that are much better for that purpose. But I guess we're creatures of habit, so occasionally - and absent-mindedly - bananas still appear in our shopping basket and on our countertop, only to wilt there slowly while we're eating apples and plums that are in season just now..
That's exactly what happened last week, and that's why I was baking a banana bread in the heat of the summer. The recipe is from my favourite Nigella book, How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking; she has adapted the recipe from Jim Fobel's book Old-Fashioned Baking Book: Recipes from an American Childhood. How does this compare with your favourite banana bread, I wonder? Is this a typical American banana bread recipe, as Jim Fobel & Nigella Lawson suggest?
Nigella Lawson's Rum-soaked Banana Bread
(Nigella Lawsoni rummihõnguline banaanikeeks)
Nigella's recipe is available here, below is my adapted version.
100 g sultanas
75 g dark rum
175 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp salt
125 g unsalted butter, melted
150 g sugar
2 large eggs
4 small very ripe bananas (about 300 g peeled weight)
60 g walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
Put the sultanas and rum in a small bowl and soak for about an hour.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended (I used my KitchenAid mixer for this). Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas.
Stir in the walnuts, rum-soaked sultanas (including rum) and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit.
Scrape into the loaf tin and bake in the middle of a pre-heated 180ºC oven for about 1 hour, until an inserted toothpick comes out cleanish.
Leave in the tin on a rack to cool, and eat thickly or thinly sliced, as you prefer.