Fruit breads are always a welcome treat for everybody. They are a delight to bake as well ...whenever you want to make use of some over ripened fruits. Bananas have a different story at my place though, i wait for some of them to get a blackened skin so i can make the pancakes so eagerly waited by the husband. I do not like sweet breakfasts but i like making whole wheat banana pancakes for the ease involved in making them , then i go on a fix myself a savory breakfast...some steamed vegetables and 2 fried eggs is the most common on such days...
I love baking breads and am more into yeasted breads but if the fruit breads are made with whole wheat flour or multi grain flours, i am game. I like them low on sweetness scale as the flavors of the fruit must be the prime flavor. Dried fruits and nuts make them special whenever added. For some reason i like nuts in banana breads and have never tried any warmth of spices in it till date.
I baked this banana bread after years and there was a reason. Banana breads were dreaded for about 5 years now , ever since my daughter stopped eating them. Banana breads and pancakes were her favorite foods. She used to love banana in all it's forms. Later, the mashed banana was her staple food, i am trying to relive all those wonderful memories at any given chance. I made her favorite mung ke cheeley some time back and now have started baking this bread too. A treasure trove of memories is revived and cherished.
wheat bran 1/4 cup
mashed banana 1 cup (3 overripe bananas)
brown natural sugar or jaggery crushed or grated 1/3 cup
oil 1/3 cup
chopped nuts 2/3 cup(i used chopped apricot kernels)
black raisins 1/2 cup
baking soda 1/2 tsp
baking powder 1/2 tsp
salt 1/2 tsp
Preheat the oven.
Mix the flour, bran ,salt, baking powder and baking soda together and keep aside.
Chop the nuts and keep aside.
Mash the bananas using a fork , add sugar and mix. Break the eggs into this pulp and pour the oil into it too. Now whip everything together using a wire whisk or a wooden spatula. You don't need to make a smooth slurry , the uneven mashed banana should be visible after a light whip.
Now mix the flour mixture, the chopped nuts and raisins to the mashed bananas and eggs mixture and lightly whip once again. It makes a lumpy consistency and not an easily flowing batter.
Pour in greased loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes at 180 C. Check with a skewer and bake a little more if required. I kept it in the middle rack for 30 minutes and then shifted the pan on the lower rack to avoid burning of the crust. The crust gets closer to the upper filament as it rises and a sugary dough with banana tends to brown fast. So watch the crust and shift to lower shelf as soon as you see your kind of browning done.
We like a deeply toasted kind of brown crust and that's how it turned out. The kitchen and your home smells so nice with this cake that there will be no one present in the home who wouldn't come trailing the aroma and prod you to immediately cut a slice. The first slice with a brown crust three sides is the most revered one. So is the last slice.
You might like to toast the slices for serving , with or without whipped cream or malai . We like it as it is with warm milk. For breakfast or as a snack. It makes a nice snack or meal to be packed in a tiffin box.
I had never used apricot nuts before and i was very apprehensive when i bought a large packet from a health food shop in Leh. It was organic and i just thought it would be nice for some pesto or cakes. The slight bitterness in the apricot seeds was making me hesitant to use it for a cake as a bitter nut in a sweet bread is the last thing i want. I first used this nut for making a gujrati chevdo and it tasted yummy after a light frying in the pan. That made me a bit confident in cooking this nut embedded in a sweet bread. And it was such a nice thing to do. The nuttiness was rich and felt like mixed nuts. Next time when you see apricot nuts, do not hesitate to pick up a huge packet.
One important thing with a banana bread i feel is, that it does not age well. It tastes great for 3-4 days if refrigerated but no more than that. May be i am a prejudiced banana hater(i really do not like bananas much , can eat fresh but not a really ripe over the top kind of banana) and when the bread goes bananas ... over the top after a few days in the fridge i just do not appreciate it much. Though i an still eat it. The husband likes it anyways , fresh warm just out of the oven or after a week's stay in the fridge. I am sure you know how you like it. Bananas get a great makeover in a bread like this ...nuts and black raisins make this bread special and even the banana haters love it.
I made a second batch of the apple cake/bread again, with lots of nuts and black raisins and this time many people got to taste it and appreciate it...That is one bread/cake which ages well and i enjoy it even after 2-3 weeks in the fridge. I like the way cubed apples behave in a cake/bread. I am quite impressed with apricot nuts too. Black raisins have been a favorite always.
Now that i baked a banana bread after long years, i am planning to bake another one with oats which was a much loved bread back then. Keep watching this space.
Some whole wheat bread in the fridge does a lot of good in winters. As is baking fun in winters.
Foggy days are yet to come :)