Our friend Pam had just delivered her baby, Ethan. She’d had an anxious pregnancy and was tired, as well as relieved to be home safely with him. We wanted to take her a bread that would keep well and be a bit of a treat. So starting with a method used by Hoppin’ John for his Persimmon Bread in his classic cookbook Lowcountry Cooking, we used pureed banana as the liquid for the dough, then added shredded coconut for texture and interest. It turned out to be a distinctive, easy, moist loaf with a crunch of sugar on top, the best banana bread we know. And more important, Pam loved it too.
- About 8 medium-to-large frozen bananas, defrosted (see Notes), or very overripe bananas
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- ¼ teaspoon white or rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons dark rum
- 1 cup dried shredded unsweetened coconut
- About 2 tablespoons demerara (see Notes) or dark brown sugar for topping
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-by-5-inch bread pans.
Puree the bananas (with their juice if using defrosted ones) in a blender. Measure out 3 cups and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and nutmeg; set aside.
Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vinegar and rum and beat briefly. Add the banana puree and the flour mixture alternately, about 1 cup at a time, beginning with the bananas, beating until smooth after each addition. Stir in the coconut.
Spoon the batter into the buttered pans. Sprinkle the top of each loaf with about 1 tablespoon demerara or brown sugar. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden. Let cool for 20 minutes, then turn out of the pans onto a wire rack to cool completely and firm up.
This recipe serves 18.