Sunday, May 20, 2012

Banana, Pear and Coconut Loaf – a reason to kiss your Greengrocer !

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My favourite Greengrocer has obviously been paying attention to my War on Waste theme. “Do you want these love, they are gone beyond the beyond.” he said, handing over several kilos of freckly bananas, and a half-dozen Rocha pears that have seen better days.  “On the house”, he adds. “I can’t sell them and it’s a shame to chuck ‘em if you can use ‘em.”  Normally I have to wait a week until my newly purchased bananas overripen sufficiently for baking. These are perfect. Oh I could kiss him.

Through a combination of a shortage of time, a lack of butter, this unexpected excess of pears and bananas, and a craving for something sweet, I have messed with my old Banana Bread recipe. Here is the new quick and easy version. WOW! The coconut adds texture and a background creaminess. The pear makes the banana flavour POP. And the bonus is that it is quicker to put together and involves less washing up. What’s not to love!
For the absolutely best results hold your nerve until the bananas are practically black on the outside and the flesh is sweet, sweet, sweet.
Not quite the pick of the bunch but these freckly bananas are just perfect for baking

For a 2Lb loaf you will need:
... to pre-heat the oven to 160°C
250g very ripe bananas, mashed (that’s about 3 medium bananas)
100g sunflower oil (or other flavourless cooking oil)
100g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
250g plain flour
50g dessicated shredded coconut (unsweetened)
10g baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 soft sweet ripe pear, such as Rocha, chopped into small pieces 
a little butter to grease the loaf tin 

1                    First, lightly butter and base line a 2 lb loaf tin. (To base line a tin, sit it on greaseproof paper or baking parchment and using a pencil, trace around it. Cut out the shape just inside the pencil lines. Lightly rub the inside of the tin with butter and position the paper in the buttery base. This makes it easier to remove the cake from the tin when cooked.)
2                    In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas roughly using a fork or a potato masher. Add the oil and caster sugar and stir together until just combined. Next add the beaten eggs, again stirring until just combined.
3                    In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, coconut, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt and fold these dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just incorporated and no dry mix remains. (To fold, add dry ingredients to wet and taking a spatula or a metal spoon, cut through the centre of the batter. Move the spatula or spoon across the bottom of the bowl, and back up the side and across the top bringing some of the cake mixture from bottom to top. Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat. Keep folding the mixture and turning the bowl until the dry ingredients are incorporated into the batter. Folding avoids overworking the batter, giving a tender crumb in the finished loaf.) Finally, mix in the chopped pear, making sure it is well-distributed throughout the mixture.
4                    Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf tin and place in the preheated oven. Bake for about 50 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. A cocktail stick inserted in the centre should come out clean. If there is batter clinging to it, pop the loaf back in the oven for a further 10 minutes then test again. Leave to cool in the tin. While you can eat it straight away, this cake is best wrapped in cling film and left for 24 hours before eating. A wonderful alchemy takes place and it becomes more banana-y, pear-y and utterly delicious.  
Evidence that it is time to cut another slice...

Note: I scattered about 50g of fruit-free muesli over the top of the loaf before baking to make it more presentable because it’s a homely looking loaf. Pin It


  1. You haven't met my greengrocer. She's about 83, missing one front tooth and has about 3 strands of hair on the top of her head.

    but... if she gave me a piece of this cake I'd give her a kiss :)

  2. Just mouthwatering...looks so easy to prepare and delicious!

  3. To be honest, I think the greengrocers should kiss us for taking those bananas off their hands - but since we (you!) get such amazing results from them you can kiss them too :P

    Choc Chip Uru

  4. Hester, you've got a great thing going with your greengrocer, so to speak! What a win-win. Pear makes the banana pop? Sounds freckly delicious and that extra touch of muesli sprinkled on top is a super idea.

  5. @ Jill - Kissing the Greengrocer made me think of that confused conversation you had with your butcher when you first moved to Paris! I was not so bold ;)

  6. How sweet of your greengrocer! I sometime do need over ripe bananas and do not want to wait. I would be happy with that!
    After reading the ingredients and seeing the picture of this cake-I can tell it must taste delicious. The pear/banana combo is unusual but well matched due to differences in texture. Well done!

  7. Don't kiss the greengrocer! Just give him a slice of this loaf and he'll kiss you! Or at least will load you up with bananas and pears =)

    I have 3 bananas way passing their due date. They are BLACK and in desperate need of some more ingredients so they can tranform into something as jummie as your loaf.

  8. I love that "gone beyond" - I hope you don't mind if I use that term from now on. It's much better than "past its prime." Lovely combination. I would never have thought to combine the three, but I can see where they would taste great!

  9. Mmmm, what a lovely loaf! You got all the best stuff in it. It's a perfect treat for a gorgeous Sunday like today. Thank you for sharing!

  10. You're so lucky to have someone handing you overripe fruit! I have such a hard time keeping bananas around long enough to ripen! If I had some good mooshy ones I'd definitely make this loaf.

  11. Your greengrocer is SO sweet... I hate waiting for bananas to get over-ripe! They usually get eaten up before that... This loaf sounds incredible! Thank you for sharing :)

  12. It is lovely getting something like bananas ready to bake! I would give him a loaf of bread as thanks too! Hope to see you in Galway for the launch Hester?

  13. Heck yea! I've gotten into the habit of baking a coconut banana bread every weekend. I never thought to add some pear. That's pretty much genius.

    And...can you mail me your greengrocer?!!!

  14. Hi!
    Wonderful idea! Looks so good, and has all that fruit in it.
    Wish I could taste a littel bit.

  15. @ Parsley Sage - swap you my Greengrocer for some fabulous mangoes!

  16. This looks so good, it would be perfect to take to work with me! I like your blog and am following,

  17. My greengrocer just wants to kiss me everytime I have a new banana recipe requiring overriped bananas. LOL! This is something that will make him smile. He has the sweetest smile. =)

  18. I need your green grocer :). I'm so glad that he gives the produce away instead of wasting it. And look what a wonderful and delicious bread you've made from something that couldn't be sold because it didn't look perfect yet was perfectly fine to eat!

  19. This loaf has everything I wish to have in bread! Your photography captured deliciousness so well. This looks so good Hester!

  20. My greengrocer is one step ahead of us I think, as he doesn't give me the over ripe bananas, he sells it to me! :(

    Made the recipe the same day I saw it and it's very very good! But.... why do you call it a bread? For me it has all the qualities and characterists of a cake (only not as sweet)... help me out here: is it for historical/cultural reasons? I don't get it :)

  21. I've actually got a recently acquired sour dough culture I've been nurturing for a month or so now. This will make a great change from the 'German Friendship Cake' (which the kids eat faster than I can bake!!) Thank you Hester and praise to your greengrocer!. A.

  22. @ Magali Delighted you made this bread. It has been through much experimentation. You have asked a good question - The definition used to be that a quick bread uses soda and a cake uses baking powder as a raising agent, however the lines have blurred and now it appears that a quick bread is usually eaten at breakfast (although I've been known to eat Victoria sponge for breakfast). Opinion has it that quick bread has less sugar and is denser than cake and includes things like pancakes, scones, muffins and soda bread.

  23. What a gorgeous loaf! I looovee the addition of the pear, what a great idea! :)

  24. What a delightful combination! I just love the addition of coconut here...perfectly delicious!

  25. I just want to reach in the screen and snag a piece. Preferably an end piece as those are my fave.

  26. What an unique combination of flavors! I've been wanting to make some bread lately, and this looks like a winner!


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