Sunday, January 27, 2008

Banana Bread ala Nigella

Banana Bread

"...it fills the kitchen with an aromatic fug which is the natural atmospheric setting for the domestic goddess" --Nigella Lawson

My first thought on seeing this comment was: what the heck is a fug?

fug (fŭg)
n. A heavy, stale atmosphere, especially the musty air of an overcrowded or poorly ventilated room: "In spite of the open windows the stench had become a reeking fug" (Colleen McCullough).
[Perhaps alteration of fogo, stench.]
fug. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved January 28, 2008, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fug


That definition is less than delicious, but this banana bread is! The recipe originates from Jim Fobel's Old-Fashioned Baking Book: Recipes from an American Childhood. It's one of the few banana bread recipes i've made that doesn't involve buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, or a similar dairy product. The rum-soaked raisins are sticky and sweet (you can't really taste the rum) and the bread is dense, moist and rustic with very simple, pronounced flavors.

This is the third banana recipe i've made in a short amount of time. I think we've finally run out of over-ripe bananas. Phew!

Banana Bread
adapted from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess

scant 1/2 cup golden raisins
6 tbsp or 3 oz bourbon or dark rum
1 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
4 small, very ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla extract
9x5 inch loaf pan, buttered and floured or lined with parchment or foil

Put the golden raisins and rum or bourbon in a smallish saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover, and leave for an hour if you can, or until the raisins have absorbed most of the liquid, then drain.

Preheat the oven to 325F and get started on the rest. Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 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 spoon, stir in the walnuts, drained raisins, and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture a third at a time, stirring well after each bit. Scrape into the loaf pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. When it's ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out cleanish. Leave in the pan on a rack to cool, and eat thickly or thinly sliced as you prefer.

Variation: Replace 2 tbsp of the flour with good cocoa powder and add 4oz chopped bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips.

6 comments:

Erin said...

Doesn't Nigella have the best vocabulary and hair? I'm not entirely sure which I admire more? Great bread photo!

vb said...

This is probably my most favourite banana recipe and I mk it quite often...in fact, I just made them a couple of days back!

vb said...

This is probably my most favourite banana recipe and I mk it quite often...in fact, I just made them a couple of days back!

vb said...

This is probably my most favourite banana recipe and I mk it quite often...in fact, I just made them a couple of days back!

Miss Scarlett said...

I agree - Nigella Lawson has the most enviable vocabulary of any writer/cook I know! I've never tried her recipe for banana bread, but I have three bananas ripening on top of my fridge for just such a purpose.

Laura said...

I have tried so many banana bread recipes all with mediocre results. My roommates barely let this one cool before it was all gone. I think I found a staple, thanks!