February 11, 2014

Pineapple Banana Bread





I started making this banana bread a week ago.  That's when I had some spotted and fragrant bananas in the basket on the counter sharing their musty perfume with the sandwich bread. That first loaf was kind of awful. Great flavor but heavy, dense and a bit wet. So I've been playing with the recipe since adjusting the amount of pineapple, bananas, flour and fat and I think I finally got it right with this one (the fourth loaf). 

I love the flavor of pineapple and banana together (makes me think of something I'd drink on a beach with a fish taco, no shoes and no schedule) but both contain a lot of moisture which can seriously weigh down a baked good. So I tried an America's Test Kitchen tip of microwaving the bananas to get them to release some of their moisture but...it didn't work. This is probably because the bananas I used weren't brown enough (I was running out of patience in nailing this thing). However, I'm still recommending it because I know you wouldn't dream of making banana bread with hard, sunny yellow, unfreckled bananas but will instead wait for those that usually end up forgotten at the bottom of someone's lunch bag or purse and are the reason banana bread exists at all. I'm confident those kind of bananas will behave just as Christopher Kimball says they will and release abundant liquid which you can reduce on the stove and add back into your batter to make your bread incredible. I did it with the pineapple and wasn't disappointed. 

I used coconut oil because of seemed to fit the tropical theme and I like it as a substitute for butter or vegetable oil.  Wish I could say it made this vegan but there are eggs so....maybe next time.




Pineapple Banana Bread

makes one 8 " x 4" loaf

3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 large very ripe bananas*
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple in 100% juice
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ and grease a loaf pan (I used coconut oil).

2. Drain pineapple in a colander set over a bowl, pressing down with a spoon to drain thoroughly. Place pineapple in a separate bowl. Put peeled bananas in a microwave safe bowl* and cover with plastic wrap, poking a few holes in the top. Microwave for 5 minutes. Bananas will be mushy and should have released liquid. Place bananas in colander you used for pineapple and set over a saucepan (don't put on heat though). Drain for 10 minutes. Put bananas in the bowl with the pineapple and mash up. Add the pineapple juice to the saucepan. Put saucepan over medium heat and boil until reduced and thickened (3-5 minutes). Add syrup to mashed bananas and pineapple.

3. Cream the coconut oil and sugar together then add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add banana/pineapple mixture and stir in by hand. Sift flour, salt and baking soda in and stir just until blended. Spoon into prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

*if you're using bananas that were frozen and thawed you can skip this step as the thawing process releases moisture (assuming you saved that liquid).
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