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