|Joanne Chang of Boston’s Flour Bakery and Cafe|
Apparently Joanne Chang’s mother and mine would have gotten along famously. Chef Chang, of Boston’s Flour Bakery, had a mother whose thrift equaled mine’s. She has vivid memories of her mother’s forays to the grocery where she bought overripe bananas for 10 cents a pound. These she would leave out in the kitchen exhorting her family of four to ‘have a banana’ whenever they were in earshot of the kitchen. Now Ms. Chang is well known for her taking American classics and turning them on their heads. We’ve featured her a dozen times in recipes from Strawberry Shortcakes http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2013/06/joanne-changs-balsamic-strawberry.htmlto Buttermilk Chive Salad Dressing http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2013/07/farmers-market-salad-with-buttermilk.html.
But Chang is most famous for taking classic American foods like Oreos and Fig Newtons and making them into far more satisfying versions of the originals. See this post for both. http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2012/12/christmas-baking-homemade-oreos-and.html. So it stands to reason that her banana bread would be the best of the best and it really is. And talk about simple! My mother would have glommed onto this recipe in a New York minute. It is packed with banana flavor, dense and filled with toasted walnuts, cinnamon and vanilla. It took me all of 15 minutes to make the batter. Then into the oven for an hours or so and the house was filled with the delicious smell of this lovely Tea Time or anytime treat. Here is the recipe:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup oil
3 1/2 bananas, very ripe, mashed
2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9- by 5- by 3-inch) metal loaf pan, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.
3. Beat together eggs and sugar in bowl of electric mixer at medium-high speed until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beater is lifted, about 10 minutes.
4. Reduce speed to low and add oil in a slow stream, mixing, then mix in bananas, crème fraîche, and vanilla. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in flour mixture and walnuts gently but thoroughly.
5. Pour the batter into the loaf pan, spreading evenly, and bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
6. Cool loaf in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack. Turn loaves right side up and cool completely.