This is the final version for my banana and my date loaf recipe recovery.
I have looked around the web, and the basic fruit loaf recipes all converge on a few main ingredients. Where they vary is the addition of combinations of mixed spice, allspice, ground nutmeg and cinnamon; I am just putting spice according to preference, as it is not necessary. In my traditional recipe book, grated lemon peel can be used instead of spices, and works well. Date loaf (and sometimes banana loaf) incorporates walnuts, but in the case of nut allergies, I leave nuts out and it still works; pine kernels or flaked almonds could be used as an alternative (although in lower quantities). Prunes can be used in place of dates.
Buttermilk is recommended, but where this is not available, this can be substituted with natural yoghurt, a mixture of natural yoghurt & milk, milk mixed with lemon juice or wine vinegar, or 3-4 teaspoons cream of tartar. I am going to refine this for the beta version: buttermilk, vanilla, the grated rind and squeezed juice from half-a-lemon, plus toasted and then crushed macadamia nuts and a sprinkling of toasted sliced almonds on top. A 50/50 mix of brown and white flour can be substituted if preferred.
Fruit Loaf: Baking Soda Method
300g plain flour
1.5 tsp of Baking Soda (Bicarb)
1 tsp ground sea salt
100g soft brown sugar
1 free-range egg
1 tsp vanilla extract, grated peel & squeezed juice from half-a-lemon
1 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups of chopped dates
1 handful of either toasted and crushed macadamia or pistachio nuts
Preparation & Cooking:
Heat the oven to 180C (fan assisted oven appx 150C)
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large mixing bowl.
Rub the butter into the flour etc.
Stir in the sugar, then the egg, mashed banana, chopped dates, crushed macadamias vanilla & lemon-rind+juice to mixture, leaving the buttermilk (or substitute) till the end.
Add buttermilk into the flour mixture gradually at the end, mixing, until a soft moist dough is achieved.
Grease some greaseproof paper and line a small loaf tin and add the cake mixture.
Bake in the oven at 180C (150-160C fan assisted) for 40-45 minutes (or until well-risen and golden-brown).
Remove from the oven, let cool in the tin for a few minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool.
Preparation: Breadmaker Method
This can be cooked in a breadmaker on the cake setting, which will mix and bake the loaf automatically, and produce as good a result as in the oven.
Prepare the wet ingredients (banana, buttermilk, egg, vanilla essence, lemon juice & rind) first.
Chop dates and add to the wet ingredients so they can soak while you prepare the dry ingredients.
Rub the butter into flour, then mix in salt, baking soda, sugar and nuts.
Add wet ingredients to breadmaker first, then pour dry ingredients on top.
Set to mix & bake 9n cake setting, and turn out when finished (appx 2 hrs later).
Fruit Loaf: Alternative Method
This will not be as moist or flavoursome, but is still nice, and more straightforward.
As above except that instead of baking soda, buttermilk & lemon, you use:
300g self-raising flour (or 300g plain flour & baking powder)
and 100ml milk
Preparation same as previous.
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