Today’s bake – Banana and Apple Bread – is a recipe from the original Cranks Recipe Book. Cranks was the first ever vegetarian restaurant in the UK in the 1960s. Ali got this book in the early days of her vegetarian period (around 1990) and it has served us very well since – even though we’re all back to eating meat now. You can see from the picture that it is very well used – half the pages are falling out these days.
There are some quite hard going meal ideas in here, with a hint of the hair shirt to them, but the book has some excellent, very wholesome recipes, especially when it comes to baked treats. Favourites in this house include carrot cake, ginger and orange cake, sticky prune cake and Barabrith.
This can work really well as a no-added-sugar recipe. We make this very regularly – it’s a good way of using up left over apple puree (a favourite pudding with the boys) and over-ripe bananas. It makes a lovely breakfast treat, toasted with butter and honey or marmalade – or even with Twin number two’s beloved Nutella…
Banana and Apple Bread
- 450g plain wholemeal flour (for a slightly less dense bread you can use half plain white flour
- 7g dried yeast
- 150 ml lukewarm water
- 3 tbsp of apple puree (1 apple, chopped small and cooked in small pan with 1 tbsp of water until mushy)
- 25g sugar (optional – you can omit this entirely or use a tbsp of honey)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 4-5 gratings of whole nutmeg (or 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg)
- 50g sultanas
- 1 large (or 2 small) mashed bananas
- grated rind of 1/2 lemon
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together 100g of the flour, the yeast and the warm water and leave in a warm place until it rises and bubbles (below). If you are using a food mixer, put the flour and water straight into your food mixer bowl.
- While the ferment is rising, line a 1lb loaf tin (21cm long by 11cm across by 6cm deep) with baking parchment. You can use a bigger tin but your loaf will be flatter when it comes out of the oven.
- Now add the rest of the ingredients (including, obviously, the rest of the flour!) and stir thoroughly, either with a wooden spoon, your hands, or the beater attachment on your mixer. You do not have to knead the dough – just ensure that the ingredients are thoroughly combined. If you are using a mixer then leave the sultanas out until near the end of the mixing process, so they don’t get mushed up by the beater.
- The dough should be quite wet and sticky – if it feels a little dry and is not sticking to your fingers, add more apple if you have some, or a tablespoon or 2 of water.
- Transfer the dough to your prepared tin and smooth the top of the dough with wet hands. Put the tin inside a large polythene bag (a supermarket Bag for Life is, as usual, ideal for this) and leave in a warm place until the dough is teetering on the brink of rising over the edge of the tin.
- Now’s the time to put the oven on to pre-heat to 190C/Gas Mark 5.
- When your bread has risen, transfer the tin carefully to the oven and bake for about 35 minutes until the top of the loaf is golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when you give it a tap.
- Remove from the tin straight away and leave to cool on a wire rack. This is delicious when it’s still warm from the oven. It never lasts very long in our house.