Ernesto's Banana Bread
One of the corporate perks we get at work is a giant bowl of fruit delivered twice a week. At this time of year it's a first-in-first-served free for all, with an array of the delicious stone fruits on offer. The year-round bananas and apples sit sadly neglected, while the trendier fruits take centre stage.
Lately, the pile of neglected bananas has spun out of control. At lunch a few days ago, a workmate suggested that someone should take the remnants home to bake everything banana (hint hint, nudge nudge), and that someone should be me.
A rainy day yesterday saw the perfect moment to make this bread. Matt turned to me and said "I want something perfect to eat, but I don't know what" (not a demanding man at all, huh?). When I suggested banana bread, you should have seen the look in his eyes.
And so I went searching for my all time favourite banana bread recipe. I spotted this recipe in the Dominion Post one awful winter's day. This was a recipe from Ernesto, a Wellington institution. It sat on Cuba Mall from 2008 to 2011. Ok, so 3 years doesn't exactly make it an 'institution'. But this cafe served the BEST brunches on Cuba Mall, which is not a title easily awarded.
Anyway, this was their banana bread, which is like no other. Hands down, this is the best banana bread recipe I've tried; it's moist, not at all dense (which is a common problem with banana breads), it holds together when sliced, and has a deliciously soft dark brown crust to it. Because it's oil based (rather than butter), it keeps well and doesn't dry out. And the banana slices on the top caramelise to a sticky, chewy, something extra on the top. Heaven!
Ernesto's Banana Bread (Makes one large loaf)
- 4 bananas (or 6 of those little bobby bananas)
- 4 eggs
- 1/2c oil
- 1/2c almond or other dairy-free milk
- 1T vanilla essence
- 2T lemon juice
- 1/2c brown sugar
- 1/2c white sugar
- 2 1/2c all purpose flour
- 1 heaped tablespoon cinnamon
- 1T baking powder
- 1/2t baking soda
- 1t salt
- 1c walnut halves
Preheat your oven to 170C. Grease and line a large loaf tin.
Slice half the bananas and set aside. Mash the other half in a bowl. Add the eggs, oil, milk, vanilla, lemon juice and sugars and mix to combine.
Sift over the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and soda, and salt. Fold until the ingredients are all just incorporated. Stir in the walnuts
Pour half the mixture into the lined loaf tin. Layer half the banana slices over the mix. Then pour over the remaining mixture. Arrange the remaining banana slices decoratively on the top.
Bake slowly for 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean (mine took about 1hr 10 mins in the end, but this will depend on your oven).