I’ve had such a busy week, running all over the city after work and on my days off to get errands done for a trip to the UK. I’ll actually be there by the time you read this (so I might not be able to do much commenting on cream pies, unfortunately). I’m Godmother to a friend’s baby boy. His name is Ian, he lives in London and I had lots of bits and pieces to pick up for the Baptism ceremony, which will be at the end of the week. Not to mention that Friday was my birthday, and on Saturday my husband and I went to see a live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion, which is currently taping in New York. I’ve listened to the show since I was a kid, so it was fun to see goofy Garrison Keillor do his thing live. And Wynton Marsalis was a guest, so that was a pretty good present, I think.
Of course I still made the time to put together this Banana Cream Pie, Amy’s choice for TWD this week. I’ve said many times before that I don’t like raw bananas, but I like to keep an open mind about trying new things. I’ve never made or even had banana cream pie before, so why not give it a go? I had some homemade pie dough in the freezer anyway (it had been there forever, and I was actually itching to use it up), so the hardest part was already taken care of.
Hey, guess what– I thought this was good (and my husband loved it)! I do have a fondness for cream pies…they are tasty and squidgy, especially fresh, homemade ones. I’m not a banana convert, or anything, so I probably won’t make this one again…raw bananas still are a bit slimy in my book. I did really like the way Dorie uses brown sugar in the custard recipe and sour cream in the whipped cream topping. Yum on both counts there! My personal twist was using a little vanilla bean to flavor both.
I love a making loaf cakes (and Bundts, too…wink, wink, nudge, nudge), so I was glad to see that Ashlee of A Year In The Kitchen chose Dorie’s Black-and-White Banana Loaf for TWD this week. Loaf cakes are basically throw together no-brainers, although this one has the extra steps of melting chocolate, mashing a banana and marbling. Still no-brainers, but with a few more bowls to wash at the end.
I also love stuff baked with bananas. I do find this odd, since I don’t like raw bananas at all–ick! But they smell so good baking in the oven, and make for super-moist cakes, breads and muffins. You’ll hear no complaints from me on this cake (it tastes just like you’d expect), although perhaps I could work on my marbling skills…what I did just looks like blobs. Dorie said to make this more white than black, but I paid that no mind and went more black than white.
Did I tell you I found a half-size loaf pan a couple months ago? Really, I don’t even know why I have larger baking pans anymore…they rarely see the light of day. The little guy’s almost as deep as a normal loaf, though, so it doesn’t really shave anything off the baking time.
P.S.: I’m still out of town…back in a couple days!
Well, not my mom’s. I’m guessing Melissa Murphy’s mom’s, since it’s in her new cookbook The Sweet Melissa Baking Book. You know, I really don’t like bananas in their raw form (not even in smoothies), but once they are baked into something sweet, it’s a whole ‘nother story. R does like to have bananas in his cereal, but sometimes he buys more than he can eat. When that happens, I wrap them up and stash them in the freezer…after I’ve accumulated a few, it’s time for banana bread, cake or muffins!
What makes this particular banana bread extra-special are the bits of caramelized apple throughout. Most banana bread has a pretty good shelf life and can even get better after a day of so. This one is no exception, as the sweet apples just meld more into the spiced bread.
Mom’s Banana Apple Bread– makes one 1 1/2-quart loaf pan
from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy. All rights reserved. Copyright © Melissa Murphy, 2008
For the apples:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the banana bread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups very ripe mashed bananas (2 to 3)
Before you start:
Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour a 1 1/2-quart loaf pan.
To make the apples:
Preheat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and brown sugar and heat until bubbling. Add the apples and cinnamon and sauté until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
To make the banana bread:
-In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt.
-In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
-In a small bowl, combine the orange juice and vanilla.
-Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the orange juice mixture, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each flour addition. Stir in the mashed bananas until combined. Then stir in the reserved apples.
-Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool further.
*Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The banana bread keeps well wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze well wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil for up to 3 weeks. Defrost (still wrapped) at room temperature.