How do you like to eat bananas? Really, this is a serious question: yellow or black? Some people will only eat them when they are yellow but still very firm, whereas others (me!) like them when they are very ripe with black skin. Now I realise that the black skin might look as if the banana has gone bad, but it is fine as long as the fruit was not bruised to start with. Peel off the black skin, and the flesh will still be firm, creamy and ripe. They are also amazingly fragrant. You’ve really got to like your bananas to eat them this way, which luckily I do.
One of my favourite things to make with really ripe fruit is a banana loaf. There are two types – either the dark, dense, sticky variety or the lighter cake-type loaf. This is the latter sort, and makes a great teatime treat or accompaniment to an afternoon cup of tea. It can be made in a loaf tin or a cake pan, and you can add all manner of extras (chocolate chips, chopped pecans or walnuts, dried sultanas, dried cranberries…). I like to add a generous pinch of cinnamon, and that’s it!
For one banana loaf:
• 150g caster sugar
• 150g unsalted butter
• 2 eggs
• 1 very ripe banana, well mashed
• 225g self-raising flour
• 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
• pinch of salt
• 5-6 tablespoons of milk
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper (mine was 8 x 21cm).
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the mashed banana.
Add the cinnamon, flour and salt and combine well. Add enough milk to make a smooth batter (it should drop slowly off the back of a spoon).
Pour into the lined loaf tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until golden and a skewer comes out clean.
Worth making? Yes, this is a regular feature in my kitchen. If you are faced with black bananas, this is a great way to use them up. It is also easy, as it takes no more than 10 minutes to make the loaf, and it keeps really well. It comes out as a cake which is easy to slice, so you don’t end up with a “wet” loaf that some other recipes yield.