Thursday, January 27, 2011

Time Flies Like an Arrow. Fruit Flies Like a Banana.


With three brown bananas languishing on the kitchen counter, I had little choice but to toss them or pulverize them in the name of pastry.

I went the more destructive route and puréed those puppies in my food processor with a banana's closest chum, spiced rum.

It's the rare occasion that a food stuff's flavor is enlivened by a good dose of incipient rot but you can count bananas as the lucky benefactor of heightened piquancy by way of decay.  As long as you don't mind the army of fruit flies setting up camp in your kitchen to enjoy the show.

While banana bread might be the cornerstone of overripe banana usage, I had pound cake on the brain and a pullman loaf pan begging for some action.  So I give to you, one of the easiest recipes known to man:  the banana pound cake.



Banana Pound Cake

Yes, pound cake is named quite justly, with a pound of each of four ingredients making up the whole.  1 pound butter, 1 pound sugar, 1 pound egg and 1 pound of flour.  Some Americans add sour cream.  Some folks trade out some of the butter for margarine.  Others add some baking powder, though just a skosh.  I add bananas.  While most recipes call for less than a pound of each ingredient (it's quite a bit of batter in the end) I use a pullman loaf pan for pound cakes, which is a vessel large enough to take in all the batter and its perfect shape makes for a gorgeous finished cake.

Preheat oven to 350º (convection to 325º)

INGREDIENTS

1 pound unsalted butter (4 sticks)
1 pound brown sugar (one box of Domino's brown sugar is a pound)
1 pound eggs (9 large, usually)
1 pound AP flour (best to weight it out.  Trust me).
3 large, overripe bananas
3 tablespoons Cap't Morgan's Spiced Dark Rum
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

PROCEDURE

-In a food processor, pulverize the bananas, rum and vanilla until completely smooth.  Set aside.
-With the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next.
-Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder.
-With the mixer on low, add 1/3 of the flour and then 1/3 of the banana purée.  Keep alternating between the two until they are completely incorporated.


-Spray the pullman loaf with non stick spray.  Line with parchment and spray the parchment again.  Make sure the parchment hangs over the sides of the pan so that you have something to grab when you remove the cake
-Pour the batter into the loaf pan, schmearing so that it's evenly distributed.  Bake for one hour to an 1 1/2 hours.  Definitely check the cake with a toothpick after one hour to see if the toothpick comes away clean.  The sides of the cake tend to over brown if you leave in the oven too long but even if this happens, the cake itself will stay beautifully moist.
-For a Valentines touch, I use a petite four heart cutter, stamp out a lovely heart and then fill the void with caramel.