Sunday, 2 March 2014

RECIPE: Pecan banana bread.

This, dear friends, is gooood banana bread.

It's amazingly moist and slightly squidgy, dotted with crunchy pecans which complement the wonderful banana flavour perfectly. I also love the texture contrast added by the demerara sugar crunch on top. As far as I'm concerned, this is so divine as it is that you definitely don't need any icing or butter, and a chunky slice is just perfect with a large cup of tea in the afternoon.

Ooh let's focus on the top of the loaf...
Or, in the case of my mother and I, for breakfast. In my opinion, because it's called 'bread' and baked in a loaf tin, it's totally justifiable breakfast. Just sayin'. (As if I ever need justification to eat cake for breakfast though...)

...and now let's focus on the slices. What fun!
And it's so full of bananas that if you eat enough you can totally tick off one of your five-a-day. Ahem. Not that I'm recommending you eat a fifth of a loaf in one go. (But I wouldn't judge you if you did!)

It's not just the massive amount of banana in this recipe that keeps it so moist, the wonderful texture is also down to using two eggs, muscovado sugar and the gloriously thick natural Greek yoghurt (I even used fat-free too!) Considering the butter to flour ratio, there isn't really that much fat in this glorious cake either. (Can you tell how hard I'm working to justify how much we've eaten in a day?)

When I came home from Germany a couple of days ago to find we had loads of over-ripe bananas (and I mean stupidly ripe: past speckly brown and almost black!) and eggs from the garden hens to use up, it was only ever going to result in one thing, wasn't it? BANANA BREAD!

I genuinely think the smell of freshly-baked banana bread may be one of the most wonderful things in the world.

This is a recipe I've slightly adapted from the wonderful blog (and my go-to site for baking porn!), Sally's Baking Addiction. It's also ludicrously simple to make.


125g unsalted butter, softened
150g light brown muscovado sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
80g natural Greek yoghurt
4 very large, over-ripe bananas (or 5 small ones which is what I used - my bananas were so soft and over- ripe that I could just mush them up with my hands and drop them into the mix in little bits, but if yours aren't very ripe, I'd recommend mashing them beforehand)
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
75g chopped pecans
a sprinkle of demerara sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line a 9x5 inch loaf tin (my mum had some handy loaf tin paper cases which was awesome).

2. Using a hand-held electric mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed for a few minutes until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the yoghurt, vanilla and bananas and beat in on a medium speed until well-incorporated.

3. Sieve the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon into a separate bowl and mix together. Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing well after each addition. Slowly stir everything together until no more flour pockets remain but don't overmix. Fold in the pecans.

4. Spoon the batter into the tin, sprinkle some demerara sugar on top and bake for 60-70 minutes, loosely covering the tin with foil after half an hour to stop the top getting too dark.

When the bread is done, a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool completely and firm up in the pan on a wire rack. Once cool, cut into hefty slices and enjoy!

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