Breads

Caramelized Banana Foster Bread: Coffee Cake or Dessert

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When the book Foster’s Market Favorites landed on my desk I was in heaven. Exquisite photography coupled with time-tested comfort dishes are highlighted from her amazing market in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The introduction written by her husband tells her story— from her roots in Tennessee to finally settling in North Carolina where she and her market have become a culinary institution.

 

This book is a collection of Sara Foster’s recipes from areas of her past—Chicken Salad from Soho Charcuterie, NYC, Says Bread Pudding from her early Market days and a plethora of Southern dishes like Pecan Sweet Potato Sticky Buns and Foster’s Pimento Cheese. I couldn’t get enough of the photos which truly made me hungry when I had just finished lunch! Kudos to photographer Peter Frank Edwards.

 

I settled on testing this recipe after looking at the picture. One word for you—YUM! Easy to put together, this recipe has made it into my Seriously Simple fallback recipe file. I did a bit of tweaking the recipe by slicing the banana that is caramelized rather than keeping it halved. I also used rum instead of bourbon to switch it up. It was hard to let the bread cool because I wanted to dive into it as it sat on a rack resting. I served it for dessert with vanilla ice cream to raves at a casual dinner party and the next day as a coffee cake. Either way, this clever take on Bananas Foster from New Orleans will leave your guests asking for more.

 

Foster’s Caramelized Banana Foster Bread

 

½ cup light brown sugar

5 ripe bananas

2 tablespoons bourbon or rum

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

½ cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

 

1.Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan.

 

2.Spread the brown sugar evenly on the bottom of a cast -iron skillet over medium heat. Peel and slice 1 of the bananas into ½-inch slices and place on the sugar. Sprinkle the bourbon (or rum) over the top and cook, shaking the pan occasionally until the sugar melts and the banana begins to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Turn the slices over and continue cooking and caramelizing, about 2 to 3 more minutes, or until all slices are nicely caramelized. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to use.

 

3.Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and salt in a large bowl and stir to mix.

 

4.In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar until soft and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl several times. Slowly add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Slice and add the remaining 4 bananas, pecans and vanilla, mixing to break up the bananas and combine.

 

5.By hand, stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture just until the dry ingredients are incorporated, being careful not to overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place on a rimmed baking sheet (this makes it easier to handle in and out of the oven).

 

6.Arrangethe caramelized banana slices evenly on top of the loaf and drizzle with any remaining caramel. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the bread rises and a wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted in the center.

 

7.Remove from the oven and let sit to cool, about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan, turn the loaf out onto a cooling rack and continue to cool more before slicing and serving, about 10 minutes.

 

 

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Grilled Pizzas with Caramelized Onions, Sausage, and Manchego Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 pound chicken or turkey Italian sausage (about 4 links), casing removed
  • 1 recipe Pizza Dough (recipe here), or 1 pound fresh store-bought pizza dough
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Manchego cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup caramelized onions (see below)
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves

Instructions

  1. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and brown for 6 to 7 minutes, breaking up the meat with a spatula as it cooks. Once cooked through and broken up into crumbles, remove from the heat and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
  2. Lightly flour two rimless baking sheets. (If using purchased pizza dough, divide it into two balls.) Roll out a dough ball on a lightly floured surface to a thin 12-inch round for pizza. Coat both sides of the dough with olive oil cooking spray. Repeat with the second ball of dough.
  3. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Arrange all the topping ingredients next to the grill.
  4. Transfer the dough to the grill and grill for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until the dough begins to puff and light grills marks appear on the bottom. Make sure it doesn’t burn.
  5. Using a large spatula, flip over the pizza rounds and move them to the coolest part of the grill. Spread each one evenly with a quarter of the cheeses, and half the sausage, onions and basil. Top with the remaining cheese. Move pizzas back to the center of the grill and cover for 3 minutes. Check and rotate them. Cover the grill and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Watch carefully so they do not burn on the bottom. (You can use a pot cover if your barbecue doesn’t have a cover.) The cheese should be completely melted and the crust should be crisp and lightly charred. Remove from the grill and let cool for 5 minutes before cutting with a pizza wheel. Serve immediately.
  6. Alternatively, bake the pizzas in the oven: Preheat the oven to 475°F. Place the crusts on perforated pizza pans. Poke the crust gently and evenly with a fork. Cook in the oven for 5 minutes, or until the crusts are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and spread evenly with the topping. Return to the oven and cook for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Serves 8

 

Caramelized Onions

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 large yellow, red or Maui onions, or a combination, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in large nonreactive saute pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring frequently, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until well softened.
  2. Add the wine, balsamic vinegar and sugar; reduce the heat to low; and simmer until almost all of the liquid has evaporated and the onions are very tender and caramelized, about another 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cool the onions and serve at room temperature.

Advance Prep

The onions may be prepared up to 1 month ahead, covered in an airtight container and refrigerated.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Pumpkin Chocolate Loaf

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Ingredients

  • 1¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 11/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Butter and flour a 9 x 5-inch nonstick loaf pan.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda and power, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a mixing bowl and stir together.
  4. With an electric mixer beat the butter in a large bowl until softened. Add the sugar and continue beating. Add the eggs and beat until well blended. Add the pumpkin, vanilla and finally the flour mixture, beating just until well blended.
  5. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler on medium-high heat until totally melted, about 5 minutes. Or melt in a glass bowl in the microwave for about 1½ –2 minutes or until completely melted and smooth.
  6. Spoon half of the batter into the loaf pan. Drop spoonfuls of half of the chocolate mixture on top of the batter and then swirl the chocolate into the batter with a wooden skewer. Repeat with the remaining batter and chocolate, making sure to swirl the chocolate into the pumpkin well.
  7. Bake the loaf for about 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean in the center. Let the loaf cool at least 15 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature in slices.

Tips

Quick Bread Tips

Serves 12 people.

Irish Soda Bread

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan and top of the loaf
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into half-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried currants (optional)
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, as needed

Instructions

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 F. Dust the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan with flour.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together into a large bowl. Add the butter and stir to coat with the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly, with some pea-size pieces of butter. Stir in the currants and caraway seeds (if using). Stir in enough of the buttermilk to make a moist, soft dough, being sure to moisten all of the dry bits on the bottom of the bowl. Knead in the bowl just a few times to be sure the dough comes together — this is not a smooth dough.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a ball. Sprinkle the top with at least 1 tablespoon flour to give the loaf a rustic look. Transfer to the prepared pan. Using a sharp knife, cut a shallow 4-inch wide X in the top of the dough. The X will open during baking and help the loaf bake more evenly.
  4. Bake until the top is deep golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the pan. Let cool on a wire cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes, and serve warm. (The bread is best the day it is made.)

Makes 1 loaf.