Banana and rum bread

I grew up eating mashed bananas atop buttered toast for breakfast. Combining bananas and bread has, for me at least, always been the epitome of culinary synergies. This banana bread recipe – courtesy of MiKa – has two fantastic additions: rum, and a caramelised banana topping. The rum adds a deviant richness to the flavour, whilst the topping adds a delicious stickiness to the bread. A crowd pleaser if ever there was one.

Ingredients for the bread

Unsalted butter (120g)
Caster sugar (2 x 50g; 100g total)
Plain flour (120g)
Baking soda (half a tsp)
Salt (half a tsp)
Eggs (x2)
Large, ripe bananas (x2)
Milk (tbsp)
Rum (x1 shot)
Vanilla powder or extract (a few drops)

Ingredients for the topping

Large, ripe banana (x1)
Brown sugar (tbsp)
Caster sugar (tbsp)
Water (tsp)

Method

1. Make the caramelised banana topping: Add the brown sugar, caster sugar and water to a pan on a low heat. Stir until thick and caramelised.

Chop the banana into slices. Add the banana slices to the pan and coat with the caramel. Turn the heat off once the banana has softened, shrunk and smells incredible.

2. Prepare the baking tray and oven: Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (turn on the convection or fan setting if you have one). Add the caramelised banana slices to the baking tray, and arrange so that they cover the base of the tray. Put to one side.

3. Prepare three large mixing bowls: 

  • BOWL 1: This should be your biggest mixing bowl. Add the unsalted butter and 50g of caster sugar. Mix very well with a spatula, until soft and creamy. Or until your arm hurts.

  • Peel two bananas and mash using a fork.

  • Add the mashed bananas to Bowl 1, along with the vanilla powder/essence, rum and milk. Mix, then put to one side.

  • BOWL 2: Add the other 50g of caster sugar and two eggs. Mix with an electric whisk. Start slowly (to stop everything sloshing everywhere), but increase the speed as the mixture gets fluffier.

  • You’re done once you have a souffle-like consistency. Obtaining this consistency is important as the eggs and sugar are the main raising agents.

  • BOWL 3: Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix with a fork or spoon.

4. Combine the bowls: Add Bowl 2 to Bowl 1 and gently fold the two mixtures together. The folding is key, as you want to keep the mixture nice and light.

Sieve the contents of Bowl 3 into Bowl 1 and, again, gently fold together. The mixture should be lumpy, yellowy in colour, and quite moist.

5. Prepare to bake: Pour Bowl 1 (which, by now, should have the contents of Bowls 2 and 3 mixed into it) into the baking tray, on top of the caramelised bananas. Make sure it’s evenly spread throughout. Tap the tray a couple of times to make sure the mixture has settled. Put into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes.

6. Bake at 180 degrees for 30 minutes: Once 30 minutes is nearly up, test to make sure it’s cooked by inserting a chopstick into the middle. If it’s cooked, the chopstick should be clean when you remove it.

7. Cool and serve: Remove and cool for 10 minutes or so. Place an upside down plate over the top of the baking tray, hold the plate and tray together tightly, and flip them over so the plate is on the bottom and the (now upside down) tray is on top. Tap the bottom of the tray and slowly remove. Remove the greaseproof paper, and be amazed by what you have just created!

8. Enjoy!

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