There are certain edible products which have become iconic as souvenirs when visiting some locations, for example, Canadian maple syrup, or Swiss milk chocolate; in Mexico, cocadas (coconut sweets) from Acapulco, Guerrero, or Tequila from, well, Tequila, Jalisco, are sovereign. In San Blas, Nayarit, eating Zarandeado grilled fish goes along with bringing home a loaf of pan de plátano – banana bread. The dark and dense loaves are ubiquitous in the little town, offered out of baskets on the streets, or sold at a few more established bakeries, such as Juan Bananas™ . I remember the classic San Blas banana bread as extra sweet and somewhat heavy, with a very strong banana flavour, evidently from a high fruit content.
My recipe is a much lighter version, with just two bananas on the ingredient list for two loaves, but the resulting bread does not lose any credibility as an authentic Nayarit style banana bread. The secret ingredient here is a grated apple*, which adds colour and flavour, but with a higher water content than bananas, making the bread moist and fluffy. Allowing the mashed fruit to rest for a while before adding to the batter is the key to obtain a well developed enzymatic browning, for a beautiful deep tone.
Banana Bread – Pan de Plátano
Ingredients (for two large loaves or one ring)
2 ripe bananas; washed
1 apple; washed
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for moulds
1 cup vegetable oil, plus more to grease the moulds
I only have one large loaf pan (9.5×5 inches), so I like to use a Bundt cake mould with a wide opening in the centre; the ring-shaped bread looks nice, and the slices come out similar to some from a loaf (photo at the top of the post). Prepare pan(s) by greasing with oil and sprinkling with sugar to coat all inside surfaces. Reserve.
Start with very ripe bananas and a sweet apple variety, such as Pink Lady (photo below, left). Peel bananas add place in a bowl, breaking into pieces; peel and core apple, finely grate and add to the bowl. Using a fork, mash the bananas and mix with the grated apple (photo below, right):
Allow the fruit to rest at room temperature, uncovered, until the mix has turned dark. In the photos below, the fruit right after mashing (left) has turned brown after half an hour (photo below, right):
Meanwhile, mix the flour, baking soda and baking powder together. Reserve.
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar (photo below, left), and mix until well incorporated, and all the sugar has dissolved. Add the reserved flour mix, sifting over the egg mix (photo below, right):
Mix well, then pour in the oil, incorporating to the batter (photo below, left). Finally, add the reserved mashed fruit, folding with a spatula (photo below, right):
Continue mixing until the batter is smooth and uniform, Pour into prepared pan(s):
Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the thickest part of the bread, between 40 and 50 minutes for two large loaves, or close to one hour for a ring. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down for a few minutes (photo below, left). Slide a spatula or knife along the edge(s), then remove from the mould(s). Since I used a Bundt cake mould, I also flipped the ring upside down, to show off the pattern (photo below, right):
The slices look similar coming from a loaf or a ring, and are certainly equally delicious, moist and flavourful:
* FUN FACT: My recipe originally called for three bananas. One time, my mom and I were preparing the bread together, and we realized that we only had two bananas; some apples were at hand, so we grated one as a substitute for the missing banana. The substitution led to an accidental improvement on the texture and colour of the bread, and after that, both my mom and myself were swayed towards always include a grated apple, whether we had enough bananas or not.
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I am joining Fandango’s Dog Days of August: A FUN FACT.
I am also sharing my recipe at Thursday Favourite Things #454 with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.