Monday, July 25, 2005
Bananas + Blueberries = Goody!
Revisiting another grand classic - Baking by Flavor. I'd bought blueberries for a bargain, and had a couple of bananas turning to that exact stage of ripeness where there's nothing you can do but use them for baking. Or make a smoothie, but the weather here definitely screams cake more than smoothie - SIGH!
It is a gorgeous cake - loaf - whatever. The very best (berry best??) blueberry muffin I've ever had was from miss Yockelson too, and had you accent the delicate blueberry flavor with nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon. Oh my. This time, there was only nutmeg and banana doing the accenting, and I have to say, it's a marriage made in heaven. The dark, somehow caramelly taste of the bananas together with the slight acidity and flavor-burst of the blueberries is an amazing combo. Do make. Easy to put together and with a moist and delicate crumb. It wont be the last time it has visited my kitchen.
Blueberry-Banana Tea Loaf - from Baking by Flavor
9 by 5 by 3 inch loaf pan, buttered and floured (or sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray, but I don't have that)
2 cups unsifted bleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup fresh blueberries
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (In my world the equivalent of 125 g. - I think actually a little less, but the recipe worked fine with this amount)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, sieved if lumpy
2 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (3 small ones)
Preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Toss the blueberries with 1 ½ teaspoon of this mixture.
Beat the butter in a freestanding mixer for 2 minutes. Add the 3/4 cup granulated sugar, and beat for 1 minute. Add the brown sugar, beat for another minute. (I used to think all these "1 minute this, 1 minute that" was ridiculous - surely I could tell when things were incorporated. Well, I might be able to, but the times I've actually followed these instructions instead of just going by feel, things have turned out lovelier than I have ever dared dream of)
Incorporate the eggs, one at the time, beating for 45 seconds after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract and mashed bananas.
On low speed, add the flour-mixture in 2 additions, making sure everything is well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Stir in the blueberries.
Bake for one hour, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a cake rack, then CAREFULLY unmould. The loaf is very fragile at this point, so unless you want a puzzle, do pay attention to what you're doing.
Let cool. Eat. Drink tea with it. It's a tea loaf for crying out loud!
One of the things I've neglected to remark about this book is the index in the back that tells you just how to and for how long you can freeze many of these dreamy concoctions. This one will keep for 6 weeks in the freezer. So for all you blueberry-bush and blueberry-bargain people out there, keep this in mind!
WAIT! You need to see the picture from the other side too!:-)