Banana walnut loaf
This basic banana bread recipe is one of my staples. There are endless banana bread/cake recipes out there, and I had been using Gabriel Gaté’s recipe before I discovered this one by Nigella. While I loved my other recipe, this one is easier because you don’t cream the butter and sugar. And it has produced the most moist, flavoursome banana bread every time. Perfect for all those new to baking.
And I use this basic recipe to make variations according to my mood and what’s in season. I’ve added chocolate (a post about that coming up), blueberries, strawberries and different nuts. I love recipes that work even when you can vary it according to what you feel like!
Whenever we buy bananas, I secretly ration them so we’d definitely have a few over-ripe ones. One of the key things to remember when making banana bread is to use extremely ripe bananas. You do have to leave them til they look quite brown and sad, but they will produce the most flavour and moisture for your banana bread. The other really important thing is to mash them before you add them to your batter. I use a potato masher cos there’s usually way too much banana for a fork.
Here’s the recipe. I usually don’t add the drunken sultanas cos soy isn’t a fan of sultanas or raisins.
Banana Walnut Loaf
makes 1 loaf
75ml bourbon or dark rum
175g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt 125g unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
4 small, very ripe bananas (about 300g weighed without skin), mashed
60g chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put the sultanas and rum or bourbon in a smallish saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover and leave for an hour if you can, or until the sultanas have absorbed most of the liquid, then drain.
Preheat the oven to 170ºC.
Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a medium-sized bowl and, using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine well. In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas. Then, with your wooden spoon, stir in the walnuts, drained sultanas 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 the oven for 1–1 ¼ hours. When it’s ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out cleanish. Leave in the tin on a rack to cool, and eat thickly or thinly sliced, as you prefer.