Have you ever walked past your fruit basket feeling guilty seeing your over-ripe bananas staring back at you? I’m sure there are plenty of you, so here’s a quick, easy recipe to convert 3 over-ripe bananas into a magical, luscious, fragrant loaf filled with walnuts and hints of vanilla, cinnamon and coconut.
How to eat this banana loaf:
This banana loaf recipe is not suitable for toasting, but it is perfect eaten on its own, warm or cold, with the ricotta honey cream. The ricotta is slightly salty and the honey brings some sweetness to balance this easy-to-make cream. This combination seems to really lift the flavour of the banana loaf. Just a small serving will be enough for each slice served. The trick is to slice the loaf when it has cooled down to a point that it doesn’t crumble nor go stone-cold. I timed 20 minutes after being removed from the loaf tin. If you are impatient, your loaf slice may appear crumbly, but still delicious!
GLUTEN-FREE BANANA LOAF
- 245g store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
THE REST OF THE INGREDIENTS:
- 3 very ripe bananas
- 140g butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
- 200g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 100ml milk
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 50g walnuts, halved
- 50g walnuts, whole
- 3 tablespoons shredded, dried coconut
For the HONEY RICOTTA CREAM:
- 50g ricotta
- 1 tablespoon runny honey
- ¼ teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon shredded, dried coconut, toasted in a dry pan, to sprinkle as a decoration (optional)
- an 11 x 24cm loaf tin, either silicone or aluminium
- A food processor or handheld whisk
Preheat the oven at 180 C/350 F.
2. Grease and lightly sprinkle flour in a loaf pan, tapping out any excess flour over the sink.
3. Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
4. Mash the bananas until smooth either using a potato masher or a food processor. Set aside in a small bowl.
5. Using a food processor or handheld whisk, beat the butter and sugar together until thick and creamy.
6. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well.
7. Add the milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract.
8. Add the mashed bananas and halved walnuts, mix well.
9. Add this combined mixture to the dry ingredients folding in using a large spatula. Try to be gentle while lifting and cutting through the mixture and stop the minute no more flour is visible.
10. Pour the mixture gently into the prepared loaf pan, spreading it out evenly.
11. Alternatively, sprinkle the shredded coconut and whole walnuts on top to create a pattern.
12. Bake for 35 minutes on the middle shelf. Do not open the oven door at all during this baking stage or the cake will sink in the middle.
13. Cover the loaf with foil and continue baking for another 35 minutes.
14. Insert a toothpick in the middle to check if it is cooked. When it is ready the toothpick should come out clean.
15. Allow the loaf to cool down on a wire rack for 20 minutes before removing it from the tin. Then cool it down a further 20 minutes before slicing it. It will probably be slightly warm but it will slice easily without crumbling.
16. While the loaf is cooling down, make the ricotta cream by combining the ricotta, honey, cinnamon and lemon juice together. Place in a small serving bowl and sprinkle some toasted shredded coconut on top as a decoration.
- Makes 10 to 12 slices
- Not suitable for freezing
- Keeps for 2 days in a sealed container