A good banana bread recipe is something which will serve you well in many ways over many years and for many different people in your life. When my youngest daughter was little she could hardly wait for me to miscalculate (sometimes on purpose!) the amount of bananas which would be eaten in our house that week because this meant 2 or 3 overripe, mushy bananas which could be turned into banana bread! She loved having a warm slice with a little butter or cream cheese on it for breakfast.
A friend's mother once sent him a loaf of banana bread when he was in college to help get him through some long nights studying in the library. Little did she know, on the way to the library he ran into a buddy who happened to be sitting on a bench with a full pitcher of beer (don’t ask!) to which my friend quickly offered up a barter and the two of them then sat there in the warm Autumn sun devouring both the banana bread and the beer!
Most recently, I discovered the delights of drinking wine with banana bread, specifically a Vendange Tardive (which means late harvest) from Alsace in France. The grapes used for this type of dessert wine are left to hang on the vine until they start to dehydrate and shrivel up. The sugar in the juice of these grapes becomes very concentrated and the flavors become more intense. Serving the banana bread with a late harvest pinot gris makes it more like a dessert rather than a breakfast item or an afternoon snack. You could even toast a slice of it and serve it with vanilla ice cream alongside any type of dessert wine, such as port, sauternes or a cream sherry.
No matter how you eat it, what you will be left with is a big smile on your face and a glow left over from the love which was put into the baking of it!
MY FAVORITE BANANA BREAD RECIPE
I discovered this recipe several years ago in Martha Stewart's Entertaining Cookbook. Over the years, I have adapted it and made it my own.
Makes one loaf
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 medium sized bananas, mashed with a potato masher
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1) While preheating oven to 350 degrees, cream butter, sugar and eggs.
2) In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Mix together well with butter, sugar and egg mixture. Stir in bananas, sour cream, vanilla and walnuts.
3) Pour into a buttered 9x4x3 inch loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a bamboo skewer or wooden toothpick and checking that it comes out clean. You may need to bake an additional 10-15 minutes. The loaf should be lightly browned.
4) Turn out onto a wire rack.
In additon to the Francois Baur late harvest Pinot Gris, following are a few other suggestions for sweet wines to go with the banana bread:
Lustau "Solera Reserve" East India Sherry - $27
Fonseca 10 year tawny Port - $30
Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes - $75
Graham'sVintage Port 2000 - $125