Saturday, December 31, 2011

Banana Pumpkin Bread

Different cultures have their own way of ringing in the New Year with special foods that are considered lucky. For instance, in Japan, eating long buckwheat noodles or soba is considered a way of ensuring a long life, provided they are slurped without breaking them.

In Mexico, fruits are generally eaten at New Years with some practicing the custom of popping a grape into their mouth for each stroke of midnight. They symbolize each month of the year, and if you should end up with a sour grape for one of the months, consider yourself forewarned for the year ahead.

I can’t really think of anything specific that Indians eat for New Year’s except that most occasions call for a little something made to sweeten your tongue. In this spirit, I wanted to make something sweet for New Year’s, but I too am not immune to the trend of making New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier foods. So, as a compromise, here is a lightly sweetened Banana Pumpkin Bread. It’s made with whole wheat flour for extra fiber, bananas for potassium, pumpkin puree for carotenoids, pecans for antioxidants, canola oil for unsaturated fats, raisins for iron, cinnamon as an anti-inflammatory, and a touch of sugar to wish you a sweet and healthy New Year.

To make this Banana Pumpkin Bread, you will need:

2 eggs

1/3 generous cup cultured buttermilk

1/2 C vegetable oil

2 medium very ripe bananas

1 C pumpkin puree

1 scant cup white sugar

1 and ¾ C whole-wheat pastry flour

1 and ½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp salt

½ C chopped pecans

½ C raisins

Preheat oven to 325 deg F

Spray 1 9x5 loaf pan and a few ramekins (optional)

Beat eggs with buttermilk and oil

Add bananas, mashed, and pumpkin puree

Sift together all other ingredients except nuts and raisins

Combine dry ingredients with egg mixture

Stir in pecans and raisins

Fill loaf pan 2/3 full

You can bake this whole recipe in one loaf pan, but I find that it takes too long to do so. Instead, I fill the remaining cake mix into either a mini muffin tin or a few ramekins to make some individual cakelets.

Bake for 60 mins or until knife inserted in center comes out clean

If cake is browning too much on top, tent with aluminum foil

Invert out of pan, and let cool completely before cutting

Cake will keep well, covered, at room temperature for a week