Tuesday, November 11, 2008

cran-walnut-banana: magical combo

When I see an unexpected food item in Zurich, I panic and buy it immediately without having a clue when or for what I'm going to use it. Fresh cranberries, along with canned pumpkin, usually make a short appearance here in the fancy groceries (like Jelmoli and Globus) around Thanksgiving. So I was surprised in October to see lots of fresh cranberries at the regular Coop grocery. I immediately grabbed a bag, worried that this was a fluke and I'd never see them again. I wasn't quite ready to make my traditional chutney for our T-day turkey, so I combed my cookbooks for a cranberry recipe. I chose this cranberry-walnut-banana quick bread from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, which is definitely yum. I particularly love the contrast of textures and flavors. I knew for sure that it was yum when I husband ate a slice for breakfast without my prompting. He's not much into the baked goods and normally doesn't eat breakfast. So for him to break his routine, I know it's something special.

Rose recommends serving it with whipped cream cheese - I agree!

Recipe: Cranberry Walnut Banana Bread
Adapted from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

1 cup walnuts (4oz, 114g)
2 cups minus 1 TB all-purpose flour (9.5oz, 272g)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
8 TB unsalted butter, softened (4oz, 113 g)
1 cup sugar (7oz, 200g)
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 very ripe large banana
1.5 TB sour cream - I was out and used yogurt, which was fine
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups fresh cranberries, cut in half (7oz, 200g) - it seems annoying to cut them all in half, but according to Rose, it prevents them from bursting and helps them absorb sugar.

1. Preheat oven to 325F (162C) and grease one loaf pan.

2. Toast the nuts on a baking sheet, about 7 mins (in oven that is preheating). Rub off the skins (skins are bitter) and chop coarsely.

3. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar, about 3 minutes till fluffy. Add eggs, banana, sour cream, and vanilla and beat about 1 minute until thoroughly blended. Add flour mixture and mix until just moistened, about 20 seconds. Add cranberries and walnuts and stir about 20 seconds until well combined.

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 55 to 60 minutes until the bread is golden and top springs back when lightly pressed in the middle. Tent with foil during last 30 minutes to prevent overbrowning (I forgot to do this and my bread was fine).

5. Cool bread in pan about 10 minutes then remove from pan and cool on rack. Bread keeps about 4 days at room temp. Serve plain or toasted with whipped cream cheese.


Jenna said...

Wow!!! The pictures are beautiful! I think this was the most fabulous sweet bread. I did not realize that there was a banana in it also. I scarfed it plain this morning but the picture looks quite scrumptious with the cream. I might have to try it at home now. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Amy Mc. said...

I will have to try that. I have a bag of cranberries that I bought that I need to use. Thanks for passing it along.

Julie Ramsay said...

The bread looks amazing! I want a bite! I've never boughten or cooked with cranberries but now I need to try!

Anonymous said...

Thank you darling for an impromptu recipe. It is delicious.

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