A perfectly baked banana bread that’s so moist and chock full of raisins and nuts. Go crazy with your favourite dried fruit and nuts with this one!
There’s something so indescribably satisfying about making your own home-baked banana bread. Especially when it’s your first. When I bake these, I know I’m in for a glorious sweet treat. I feel those crazy cravings come on almost instantaneously when that wonderful, almost heady, fruity aroma of bananas begin to waft through my kitchen – it’s like having an aromatherapy session but so, so much better!
And if you’re just starting to get into baking, nothing could be easier than banana bread. It’s a real confidence booster, especially when it seems almost too easy to make one that turns out this good. I find that banana bread enjoys huge universal appeal across cultures and continents. It is always well received and thoroughly enjoyed by people to whom it is served.
So if you ever get stumped on what to bring to a pot-luck or gathering, a sweet treat of banana bread hardly ever disappoints. In spite of how easily available you get can buy one from your local bakery, people will always appreciate a fresh home-baked one. It’s a sure pleaser at any tea party and for any crowd, guaranteed!
I’ve read so much about Nigella Lawson’s banana bread recipe that I simply had to give it a try. I know every baker’s probably got their go-to favourite banana bread recipe, maybe even a couple. I have a few of my own favourites, Western as well as Asian-inspired. But there is something that is really quite outstanding about Nigella’s recipe. It always makes a perfectly-baked and deliciously moist banana bread.
I think the dark rum-infused raisins or sultanas do really make the bread here, and yet, there is but only the slightest hint of the liqour’s flavour. The original recipe calls for walnuts, but I prefer the sweetness of toasted pecans. I’ve learnt from previous baking courses that it’s always a good move to toast nuts before mixing it into a batter or dough, in any cake or bread recipe that calls for it. Toasting chopped nuts always intensifies their earthy, sweet nutty flavour.
I also prefer to use over-ripe bananas as the riper they are, the more intense their sweetness and flavour when baked (you may wish to reduce slightly the amount of sugar in the recipe if using very ripe bananas). As with any recipe, use whatever nuts or dried fruit you like if you’re feeling adventurously experimental or playful!
Perfect-Bake Rum & Raisin Banana Bread
- 100 g sultanas (or raisins)
- 5 tbsp dark rum (or bourbon)
- 175 g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp pinch of salt
- 125 g unsalted butter melted
- 140 g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 250 g over-ripe bananas mashed (or roughly 3 to 4 small ripe bananas)
- 60 g chopped pecans (or walnuts), lightly toasted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a small saucepan, place the sultanas (or raisins) and add the dark rum (or bourbon). Bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Remove the saucepan from heat, cover with its lid. Let it sit for at least an hour, or until almost all the rum (or bourbon) has been absorbed into the sultanas (or raisins). Drain the excess liquor.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 deg C (or 325 deg F). Grease and line a loaf tin (23 x 13 x 7 cm / 9 x 5 x 3 inches) with baking paper.
- Place the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Mix together well till thoroughly combined with a wooden spoon or using your hands.
- In a mixer bowl, place the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the mashed bananas. Then, with a wooden spoon, stir in the pecans (or walnuts), drained sultanas (or raisins) and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture, a third at a time, combining well after each third.
- Pour out into prepared tin . Bake in the middle of the oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. At the end of 1 hour, test with a metal or bamboo skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf. If the skewer comes out with wet dough, continue to bake for another 5 minutes, and test again. Repeat every 5 minutes until skewer comes out somewhat clean of sticky batter. Leave in the tin on a rack to cool. Slice thickly or thinly as desired, and serve warm.