Thursday, November 26, 2015

Give Thanks

Thank you, dear readers, for following The Cook's Tour through our culinary travels.

Here's hoping you have a happy day filled with good food, friends, and family.


Eat well, stay warm, be happy!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

RECIPEinaFLASH: Black-and-White Banana Loaf

I know, I know - it's Thanksgiving week and this should be a pumpkin recipe. But there are a million pumpkin recipes floating around this month and I thought you might like a small diversion. I love pumpkin, but maybe you are one of those people who don't. Or maybe you're just pumpkin'd-out, what with a pumpkin recipe everywhere you look. 

With that in mind, I bring you an absolutely delicious banana loaf. Not just any banana loaf. This is a Dorie Greenspan (read my interview with Dorie from earlier this year) recipe so you know it is going to be luscious. It's from her "Baking From My Home to Yours" book, and with bananas, chocolate, and rum in the mix, really, how could you go wrong? I made this a couple of weeks ago when we were having friends over for dinner. It's wonderful on its own with a shower of confectioners' sugar, but to dress it up a bit, I added some freshly whipped cream on the side. Fabulous!

We are off to Vermont for a cozy New England Thanksgiving at The Inn at Weathersfield.
Inn at Weathersfield, November 2014
Make no mistake, I'll be having the pumpkin pie for dessert! :-) 

Here's hoping you have a happy holiday!

Black-and-White Banana Loaf
Dorie Greenspan

1-1/3 C all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
1-1/2 ripe bananas, peeled
squirt of fresh lemon juice
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 TB dark rum
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick plus 2 TB (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temp
2/3 C (packed) light brown sugar
1/3 C sugar
4 large eggs
1 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 C whole milk

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Butter an 8-1/2x4-1/2x2-1/2" loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked one on top of the other.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with the lemon juice and zest, then stir in the rum.

Melt the chocolate and 2 TB of the butter together in a microwave oven or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the remaining stick (8 TB) of butter at medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for another 2-3 minutes, until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. The batter will look curdled, and it will continue to look curdled as you add ingredients. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing only until it is just incorporated. With the mixer running, pour in the milk, and when it is blended, add the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl and mix in the mashed bananas. The batter will look even lumpier.

Pour a little less than half the batter into the bowl with the melted chocolate and stir to blend. Drop alternating spoonfuls of both batters into the prepared pan, then, using a table knife, swirl the batters together, taking care not to overdo it.

Bake for 1 hour and 20-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check after 30 minutes and if the cake starts to brown too much, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for about 15 minutes before unfolding, then cool the cake to room temp right side up on the rack.

Storing: wrapped in plastic wrap, the cake will keep for 4-5 days at room temp; wrapped airtight, it will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer.

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