Thursday, July 14, 2016

Plantain Banana Bread

Plantain/Banana Bread photo by Mary M Payne

Our Muslims ( about 10 % of French population) just finished the ritual of  Ramadan.     This is not something I realized until I tried to offer a treat to the workers who are doing a construction project on the house across the street.

  The new owner is Egyptian, and very kindly gives us fresh eggs from his eight hens and zucchini with the blossoms still attached (Yum).  He also has his boys take items to the "dechetterie" when they are headed there anyway with their truck. 

 If we try to repay the workers they refuse payment.  Muslims believe in giving service without expecting compensation.  

  So, I thought I would offer a treat instead.   But during Ramadan Muslims cannot accept food or drink before sundown for the length of the festival... which extended this year from June 6 to July 5th. 

 I found this out the hard way.   I made a Plantain/ Banana Bread and offered it to the young men across the street.    And I was caught off guard when they told me that it was Ramadan.   I didn't even stop to offer to bring it to them anyway to take home. 

 Instead, I rushed home and "googled" Ramadan. And this is some of what I found out: 

 Although Ramadan is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. This difference means Ramadan moves in the Gregorian calendar approximately 11 days every year. The date of Ramadan may also vary from country to country depending on whether the moon has been sighted or not.  Interesting. 

 So now, I am waiting for the men to get back to work to try another gesture of good will.... but all is quiet on the western front so I am offering this recipe to you instead.

  It happened that monsieur offered me two plantains with which to concoct something.    I am not overly fond of sautéd or flambéd bananas or cooked plantains so I had the idea to mix them with bananas and make a couple of loaves of cake bread. 

Ripe banana and ripe plantain ready to make into bread.  photo mary m payne

These days we know that if you have the thought, so has someone else, and the experience will be recorded somewhere online, perhaps in someone's blog or video.  

  Thus I found several recipes.  Here is the outline of the one I tweaked ( and I am looking again but not finding the original author). 

Plantain Banana Bread
2 small ripe bananas
2 Large almost black plantains 
½ cup of brown sugar ( can find in bio store in France)
¼ cup ( 4 T.) of unsalted butter, melted
1 egg beaten
1 tsp. of pure vanilla extract
¼ cup of Greek yogurt
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour ( I used combo of buckwheat and spelt)
¼ tsp. of salt
1 ½ tsp. of ground cinnamon
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1. preheat oven to 350 F. ( no. 5 in french oven)
2. butter two 9x5 inch bread pan. 
3. Using a fork or potato masher , mash the plantains and bananas with the brown sugar in a large bowl. 
4. Add melted butter, whisked egg, vanilla, and yogurt.  Stir. 
5. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.
6. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until well-incorporated.  Do not over-stir. 
7.  Add nuts, raisins, seeds, dried cranberries, dates, shredded coconut or other add-ins . 
 I used coconut, pumpkin seeds, and chopped dates. 
8.  Bake one hour or until toothpick comes out clean. ( a few crumbs on it are ok)  My oven is calibrated so that I think I left it in for 20 minutes only. 
9.  Dig in. 

 A word about Buckwheat: You can keep this recipe the same no matter if you use buckwheat flour.  If you haven't tried Buckwheat ( sarrasin) I suggest you do as it is more nutritious than white flour or ( in my opinion) even whole wheat flour.  Buckwheat is in fact a seed not a wheat so if you are gluten free, it is an excellent choice.  Even if you are not, your body deserves to have different tastes and nutritive choices.  Spelt (epeautre) and Buckwheat flour together produce delicious results.

 I like my breakfast breads as un-cake-like and as rustic as possible so I always go for a combo flour and less sugar. 

In many homes these days the smell of healthy home baking is absent.  My mother was a great baker although she used "healthy" ingredients to the detriment sometimes of appearance and taste. For example, she put in so little sugar or honey that we called her cookies: "bread-lettes".  

But because of Elsa, my sister and I both bake and prepare home cooking, and some of my brothers do too. We know how much it means to our peeps and we enjoy it. 

  Why not bring back healthy home baking with this Banana/Plantain recipe. You will have done a small service to yourself and those in your circle.  

 And you don't have to eat it all yourself.  You can always give it away. Just make sure the family gets one too. 

1 comment:

  1. What a perfect post before all this insanity unspooled. You are making a difference.