Thursday, November 20, 2008

MOTHER'S BANANA BREAD

Quite a few of my Mother's recipes were prefaced with the word, "My." She'd try something a friend made, or something at a church supper, or hear about a new dish under the hair-dryer, and once she made it, it became hers. She co-opted originals from Farm Journal, from Taste of Home, from innumerable church and charity cookbooks, from those little note-card-recipes with "From Nancy's Kitchen" right there in plain sight.

And even if Nancy was standing right there when Mother set down the dish at a pot-luck, it was "My." Oh, my.

So, having no idea whose recipe this once was, I'll give Mother credit, due or not. She certainly made it enough times, distributing loaves around the county like political flyers.

This is straight from her lips, from the last visit she made to us. We sat in the computer room with our early coffee, and she quoted from memory as I typed. I can still see her throw back her head when she laughed at the last line.

She had a propensity for getting off the plane with a couple of these, foil-wrapped, then Saranned, THEN in gallon Ziplocs...well preserved...in her carryon bag. The funniest was when she appeared at Sis's house the day before Thanksgiving. She had gone through who-knows-how-many airport scans with a couple of 10" discs of cornbread in her big purse, wrapped as above. She was taking no chances on the lack of good cornbread for the dressing.

SPRAY TWO 9X5X3 LOAF PANS. OVEN 350.


MIX DRY:

3 CUPS AP FLOUR
2 CUPS WHITE SUGAR
1 TSP. BAKING SODA
1 TSP. GROUND CINNAMON
1 TSP. SALT
1 CUP CHOPPED NUTS---always pecans in ours, but anything but peanuts would do
HANDFUL OF SULTANAS (OPTIONAL, BUT THEY MAKE IT MOISTER)

IN SEPARATE BOWL:

MIX WET:
2 C. MASHED BANANA
2 BEATEN EGGS
1 1/4 CUPS VEGETABLE OIL
8-OUNCE CAN CRUSHED PINEAPPLE, juice and all
2 TSP. VANILLA

MIX DRY. MIX WET. STIR GENTLY TOGETHER JUST TIL YOU CAN'T SEE ANY DRY FLOUR. SPOON EVENLY INTO PANS, BAKE 1 HOUR AND 5 MINUTES OR UNTIL SPRINGY ON TOP.


COOL 10 MINUTES, REMOVE FROM PANS...COOL COMPLETELY, RIGHTSIDE UP, ON RACKS.

AND BRING ME ONE.

This will keep in the fridge for a month, and in the freezer for a year, like Queen Victoria's wedding cake. Our oldest Granddaughter has been mixing those wets and drys since she had to sit up high on the counter, and if Christmas is not too flurried with everybody gathering here, we’ll probably have a bake-session which includes her four-year-old Sister, whose major excursions into my kitchen have been the ones this time last year, when she and I made a teaparty for all the family---bread-and-butter fingers, heart-shaped sandwiches made with peach jam, cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches , fruit and some of the baked-the-week-before banana bread and leaf-shaped cookies (the last bought, but she arranged them VERY attractively on the cakestand).

I treasure the pictures of her standing on a chair in her little pink apron, handed down from Older Sis, who surprised me by fitting right into my own Christmas one, which I had thought would sag to her ankles, but which struck her just below her knees. And looked really nice, besides.

We've served this bread at tea parties, wedding receptions, breakfasts and brunches and cocktail hours for YEARS. We usually cut the loaf in half lengthwise for big parties, then slice a little thicker than the usual bread; it's very rich, and the small slices are dainty. Fan them out around a plate, and center with a little dish of softened cream cheese, some mascarpone, or some ricotta which you've sprinkled with a handful of Turbinado sugar.

For HUGE events, we mold a pound or two of creamcheese in a pretty mold, turn out, and center the platter. It's so easy to make in just minutes, wrap when cool, serve the next morning. Even slice the night before and wrap finished plate.

'Tis the Season.



4 comments:

Keetha said...

That sounds so very good. It makes me want to bake some this weekend.

racheld said...

It IS good. As a matter of fact, I have a loaf from last year in the fridge right now, a happy discovery when we re-arranged/cleaned out the freezer to accommodate Thanksgiving and Christmas groceries.

By another happenstance, DDIL came in the door Monday with half-a-loaf for us---she'd made it on Sunday and was sharing the love.

racheld said...

And I'm kinda re-thinking the "any kind of nuts" thing---Chris came home with a five-pound bag of almonds from Sam's, and I don't think they'd be suitable, unless they were sliced or chopped really fine---never could you slice a neat slice with an almond in the way.

I DO, however, have my gluten-free friend's recipe for a ground almond-orange-cinnamon cake that was FABULOUS. She brought dessert to dinner not long ago, and that orange syrup in the dense almond layers---beyond delicious.

Nora Bee said...

Yum! I personally don't put nuts in my BB, but I realize I'm the minority. Always nice to get a new recipe.