I think my parents kept the Time/Life publishing company in business. For a period of time, Dad would buy every box set of music they came out with. And Jane, well it was cookbooks, of course. Not that there was anything wrong with that. From the International Series, that was a little geographic lesson, a cultural sneak peek, and a cookbook rolled into a neatly packaged compendium (complete with a decorative box sleeve), to my all time favorite, The Good Cook – which consisted of 27 volumes, each devoted to a particular subject. Each were printed, boxed, and lovingly shipped in monthly surprises from the late 70’s to early 80’s. It is my absolute favorite cookbook collection, and even today, I refer to them often when I need a little inspiration.
As it so happens, I got a little banana crazy a month ago, and started buying a bunch of banana every week. I like a banana, but I really only like them when they are still just off the green and beginning to turn yellow. Once they turn fully golden I find them a little hard to get down – and when they start to brown, it becomes a textural hell, and I just can’t stomach them. I had 2 that had gone the way of the dark side, and me being the cheap bastard that I am, even though there was no way I was going to eat them, I just could not bear the idea of throwing them in the trash.
Enter “The Good Cook – Breads” – stage left.
Jane and I both make a mean banana bread, but it’s the hot cocoa, crackling fire kind of bread, and I just didn’t want anything that heavy for these hot sweltering summer evenings. Poking around through the “Breads” edition, I came across a recipe for a Jamaican Banana Bread that was lighter, so I went to work on it.
* The recipe calls for raisins – to be honest, I didn’t have any… but I had currants – so an even swap there
* There is supposed to be a quarter cup of chopped nuts – but you already know that tune – so no nuts.
* Since there is a HUGE amount of baking powder in the recipe, I thought it might blow out of the pan – so I put it in a 10″ spring form pan… which, as it so happens, I like better.)
* And since they called it Jamaican – I thought it needed booze. Yeah, Yeah… sue me.
Jamaican Banana Bread
adapted from “The Good Cook” Time/ Life Series © 1981
Makes 1 10″ Cake
2 Cups Bread Flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 Stick Butter – Softened
1/2 Cup Sugar
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Grated Nutmeg
2 Large Overly Ripe Bananas
1 Tablespoon Myers Dark Rum
1/4 Cup Scotch
2/3 Cup Dried Currants
Tools of the Trade:
10″ Spring Form Pan
Preheat the oven to 350. In the bowl, smash the bananas to pulp and add the scotch and rum – set aside until you’re ready for them. In the stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in all the flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg and mix on low for a couple of turns to mix the ingredients a bit. Add in the egg, vanilla, and banana mixture and mix on medium until the batter is smooth. Remove the bowl and fold in the currants. Spray the pan with a good layer of cooking spray and pour in the batter. With the spatula, spread the batter around so that it is higher a bit on the sides than in the middle so the cake will bake out a bit more even across the top
Bake at 350 for 55 Minutes, or until a tester in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes in the pan before releasing the spring form. The cake will be extremely tender at this point but can be served hot just as long as you are careful cutting it. Although it is better after the cake rests for 30 minutes or so after unmolding. Dust with Confectioners Sugar just before slicing and serving.
The servings work best when cut into wedges. Serving can be reheated in the microwave on the high setting for 20 seconds.
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