I simply cannot bake during the summer. Don't know why. Don't ask me though I think it is just the thought of strawberries and cream and ice lollies etc and salads seem to take over. But when the nights draw in and it gets a bit colder then my thoughts turn to sponge puddings and loaf cakes etc. So last week I made banana bread as I had some rather ancient bananas lurking and did not want to throw them out.
Note: do not use the bananas if they are too far gone and lots of black bits. Just bin those. Mine were just right, squidgy without being too soft.
I used a Paul Hollywood recipe from his book How to Bake which worked well. I have had plenty of failures with banana bread but this one turned out beautifully. Have been trying to work out why and I think it is because the other ingredients are added to the mashed banana right from the beginning. In previous attempts the banana has been added at the end and I think this may weigh the mixture down. PH made a similar comment to one of the contestants in the Great British Bake Off about adding the fruit to the sweet bread she was making. I hasten to add he said this after she had made it as he did not want to give her an unfair advantage.
Anyway here is his recipe for Banana bread with Walnuts:
3 large or 4 medium ripe bananas roughly mashed; 250g caster sugar; 125g unsalted butter; 2 medium eggs; 250g plain flour; 2 tspoons baking powder; 120g walnut pieces.
Sorry for the lack of empirical measurements - I normally give both but this book has not got them and I am too lazy to check them out at mo.
Heat oven to 190C. Line 1kg loaf tin with baking parchment (I used the special loaf tin liners you can get from Lakeland, work like a dream).
Using an electric hand whisk or mixer, cream bananas and sugar together until fluffy. Add butter and beat in until evenly combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour with each. Then sift remaining flour and baking powder over the mixture and carefully FOLD in. Then FOLD in the walnut pieces.
Put mixture into tin and spread evenly. Bake for 40 mins or until skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from tin and cool on wire rack.
My notes: as I said I used the loaf liners from Lakeland which save all the greasing and cutting etc. they also do ready cut circles for different cake tins and bring an end to faffing about.
Unsalted butter. Did not have any so used soft margarine which I nearly always use instead of butter unless I am feeling festive and then I lash out a bit. I daresay there is a difference in flavour but I am not too worried about it.
Walnuts - on checking found I only had mixed nuts which included hazel nuts, brazils and almonds as well as walnuts so tipped them in a plastic bag and gave them a bit of a bash with my rolling pin and tipped them all in. Next time will use all walnuts but the bread tasted good anyway.
When cool glaze with a bit of heated jam, any flavour that you happen to have handy. This is not in Paul's book but I always like a nice bit of glaze. Store in tin and it keeps well and is nicer after a few days in my opinion. In fact, I am eating the last slice as I am writing this and it is nearly a week old. I also like a bit of butter on mine.
A good standy to have in a tin and freezes well too if you have a plethora of nanas and want to use them up. I shall make this again.
Have just checked on Amazon and the hard back copy of Paul's book is selling for £9 but the paperback is £14. Weird....