To tell you the truth, this festive banana loaf is loaded with holidays. Therefore, it consists of many ingredients that symbolise winter, cosy time and family. However, it is very easy to prepare as with all the loafs. You can skip on products and make it more simple, or you can substitute it, like me, with ingredients you like. This very recipe is inspired by a very good Slovak baker Lulusbakery and I think it is ideal for the occasion of Thanksgiving to star on your festive table. Enjoy the spirit!
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
2-3 handfuls of dried apricots, hardly chopped
2 handfuls of dried cranberries, hardly chopped
1 handful of dried plums, hardly chopped
4 star anise
1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg and cinnamon
1 cup of dry red wine e.g. Merlot
120g of softened butter
50g + 50g of cane sugar
2 whole eggs
A pinch of sea salt
3-4 ripe bananas
2 tablespoons of plain yogurt
250g of plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon of soda bicarbonate and baking powder, sifted
1 teaspoon of gingerbread spice, sifted
2-3 handfuls of chopped pecans (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts)
The Glaze :
Juice and zest from half a lemon
1 tablespoon of pudding powder mix
Hazelnuts, cranberries, almonds, raisins to decorate
In a small and deep pot pan place the dried fruits and the spices: star anise, nutmeg and cinnamon. Baste it all with the wine and let it simmer on medium heat.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl place 2 whole eggs with a pinch of sea salt and 50g of cane sugar. Mix on high speed until you have it foamy, for about 3 minutes.
The Banana Loaf
In another large mixing bowl put 120g of softened butter with 50g of cane sugar. Give it a good stir.
In a medium bowl place 3-4 very ripe bananas. Press them with a fork and mash it with a potato masher. Set aside.
Next, add banana mixture into the foamy butter and 2 tablespoons of yogurt. Gently turn over with a spatula.
Start adding the egg mixture. Stir with a spatula.
Meanwhile, sieve the dried fruit and take out the star anise. Press, so you will remove the extra liquid from the fruit.
Then, stir into the dough 250g of flour with 1 teaspoon of soda bicarbonate and the baking powder. Mix with a spatula.
In the finale, stir the 2-3 handfuls of chopped nuts and squeezed dried fruits. Incorporate and mold into a lightly greased loaf pan (I used 11x30cm) lined with some wet baking paper (this way the paper keeps its shape easier).
Bake for about 1 hour until the wooden skewer comes clean from the middle.
Let it cool down entirely and afterwards decorate.
Reduce the wine and flavor up with half lemon juice and 1-2 tablespoons of vanilla pudding powder mix. When it thickens, take off the heat and pour in the chilled banana loaf. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes and decorate with nuts, almonds, up to your imagination.
Makes 1 lovely banana loaf of 11x30 cm.