Monday, August 27, 2007

As American As ... Nigella Lawson's Rum-soaked Banana Bread

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.
Serves 10

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.


K and S said...

ooh, I've never baked banana bread with rum before, sounds delicious!

lobstersquad said...

I buy the bananas on purpose, just to make this, and have to stpo myself from eating them before they´re black and ready. It´s so delicious.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Pille, I have that book but haven't cooked much from it.
This banana bread looks delicious!
We as a nation love bananas.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I don't know if this is a typical American banana bread, but it's unlike what I usually make (no rum, no raisins). Looks delicious, though!

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I agree with Lydia - I've never run across a banana bread that includes raisins and rum. Many do have nuts, though, and I used to make a delicious one with coconut. As for the texture, was it moist and quite heavy?

My favorite way to eat banana bread is thickly sliced, and smeared with a bit of cream cheese... Mmm!

Anonymous said...

I am so ready to make banana bread - wish this summer heat here in Virginia will finally recede. Love the color that yours has attained.

Valentina said...

I have made this recipe before and really loved it. I have a big weakness for all baked goods with banana in it. I come from a country where banana is very abundant and cheap.But I am not too keen on eating in in-natura. I prefer it in smoothies ( with youghurt, oaks and honey), mashed in the mornings with oats and honey plus a wee bit of cinammon, and in any baked good,

Anh said...

Banana bread must be a winner! And I love the addition of rum here! Perfect.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't seem like a typical American recipe to me... but it does sound good.

A few years ago I began hunting down (online) cookbooks that my mother had used a lot while I was a child. One of those included a self-published booklet that she bought at a stand at the side of the road somewhere in Pennsylvania in the early 1980s. The booklet was called Home-made Breads. After a year of hunting, I managed to find it for a steal. And here I am, looking at the Banana Bread recipe, but it's the Zucchini Bread recipe on the adjacent page that's really catching my eye...

Andreea said...

banana breads seem to be all the rave lately. i never had one. guess that needs to change fast :)it sounds so delicious.

Jeanne said...

Despite disliking bananas, I have always loved banana bread. The addition of rum-soaked sultanas just sounds incredible - I may have to get me some bananas!

Unknown said...

Like others have said, most American banana bread recipes don't have the sultanas or the rum. Other than that, the ingredients and proportions are pretty much spot-on for regular banana bread. You can also swap out the banana for the same amount of grated zucchini if your garden is producing too much.

Maggie said...

This banana bread is a firm favourite in my house, my husband loves it. I use this book on a regular basis.

Pille said...

K&S - rum and bananas do go well together, trust me!

Lobstersquad - I had forgotten our small discussion about that fabulously lushious book:) Thanks for the yogurt/sour cream tip!!

Patricia Scarpin of the banana loving nation :) That's a wonderful book (have you got the US or the UK version?)

Lydia - I try not to call it American then, if I use rum and raisins in my banana bread:)

Melissa - I've had banana bread with walnuts and hazelnuts before, but not coconut. Sounds like a good match, however!

Veron - the summer is finally receding here too - I'll miss the light, but not the heat.

Valentina - I like bananas as a stand-by snack, but otherwise prefer it "cooked" as well. Good to hear that I picked a well-liked recipe:)

Anh - I thought the rum added a nice sophisticated touch here, for sure!

Rachel - sounds like you must do some comparative banana and zucchini bread tasting now:)

Andreea - there are no less three banana bread/cake recipes on my blog now (this and this and this), so just pick one and start baking! :)

Jeanne - I think I prefer banana bread to bananas as well :)

Aurora - that grated zucchini tip is useful, as zucchini/courgettes are everywhere at the moment! I wonder where those raisins/sultanas and rum sneaked into the cake?

Margaret - hey, another fan of Nigella!