When I was contacted by Enrica of the blog Cervelli Fuori to contribute a recipe to their column, from the point of view of a foreigner living in Turin, I was immediately taken with the idea. Most Italians are not aware that there are recipes from the United States that all filled with soul and taste. So, I wanted to choose a recipe that immediately makes me think of Miami: banana bread. When I was a kid, we had a section of our backyard specially dedicated to banana trees. Now that I am pregnant, this puts another twist on things. I crave so many dishes and ingredients from home that I can’t find here in Turin. What am I talking about? Pure and simple, comfort food.
But before I divulge the recipe, I want to share the fact that when Enrica arrived at our place, we had a carton of milk on the table from Cascina Fontanacervo, a small dairy producer in Villastellone. Denis, my husband, had turned me on to the milk during one of our market trips to Eataly many months ago. Enrica immediately took notice and informed us that her family produces this very same milk! I was amazed and kindly asked if it would be possible to visit their dairy. A week later, we graciously accepted the opportunity to visit their farm for a chat and to meet the most curious and gentlest of dairy cows. The article will follow shortly.
Thank you to Enrica for giving me the opportunity to share one of my favorite recipes that has a personal twist.
If you would like to read Enrica’s post regarding my recipe, in Italian, or if you are an expat in Turin and would like to participate in Enrica’s column please click here: Cervelli fuori.
My suggestion is to take the time to roast the bananas in their skins. The roasting process heightens their flavor.
2 cups A/P flour, preferably unbleached
1 ½ teaspoon Baking soda
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup Raw cane sugar
4 Overripe bananas, roasted and cooled
¾ cup Unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 Large eggs
1 Vanilla bean, seeded
1 teaspoon Fresh espresso, cooled or coffee liquor
½ cup Pecans, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C and line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine and whisk flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Remove banana pulp from their stalks and place in a medium-size bowl. Blend together with a whisk and then add sugar. Whisk until mixture becomes light and creamy-like. Add the melted butter, eggs, vanilla bean seeds and espresso. Whisk well and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gently fold in the dry ingredients. Place the chopped pecans in a small bowl and add the cocoa powder. Stir to evenly distribute the cocoa powder over the pecans and then fold them into the banana bread mixture. Pour the batter into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Smooth the surface and then rap against the counter to remove any air bubbles.
Bake for about an hour or until just done. To ensure even browning, rotate the pan halfway through baking. When finished baking, remove the bread from the oven and cool for approximately 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
Hint: left-over banana bread makes a wonderful base for French toast!