It’s fair to say that I have an odd sort of relationship with bananas. It’s not that I detest them, as such, but if I’m going to eat one, it must be just-so-ripe, and each bite washed down with a gulp of ice-cold water. (I know, I’m insane.) Once at the mushy black-pocked stage, they are frutta non grata but, baked in banana bread, they’re a different prospect entirely. That said, I would eat pretty much anything baked in a cake.
The bones of this recipe – now much tweaked and experimented with – originate from Helen Jane Hearn. I especially love the crunchy demerara crust, the lingering smoky hint of maple sweetness, and best of all, the slathered layer of melting butter on a slice straight from the oven.
Mapley banana bread
Ingredients for one loaf:
3 squishily ripe bananas
2 large eggs
280g white flour
40g golden brown caster sugar
30ml maple syrup
1 tsp bread soda
large pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 heaped tbsp demerara sugar
3 or 4 whole walnuts (optional)
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 325F / 160C / 150C fan oven. Butter and line a loaf tin with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mash the bananas well. Thoroughly whisk the eggs in a separate bowl. Add to the mashed banana and mix through.
Add the flour, sugar, maple syrup, bread soda, salt, vanilla and cinnamon. Stir to combine into a thickish batter.
Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle the demerara sugar evenly over the top. Dot the walnuts along the middle, if using.
Bake for one hour until the loaf is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Delicious fresh from the oven, with lashings of butter (or almond butter, or any nut butter really).