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Archive for May, 2011

As a child, I mused that people were ashamed to let the bananas turn black.  That’s why I rationalized banana bread was so gosh-darn-awful because people buried bananas with sugar and spices.  If the banana bread itself wasn’t overly sweet, it is often dry and dense.  It didn’t help that mother told me it was a last resort to squeeze another week of life for the poor banana before it hit the trash.  Most variations of banana bread tasted that way, which is why I turned my nose on banana bread for a long time.

However, I have a lot to be thankful for the banana.  When I started working, the occasional banana was the perfect mid-morning snack to keep me alert and functioning through lunch.  Sometimes, when the crazy really got going during busy season, it helped me stay focused before dinner.   In a way, I wanted to do bananas justice even when they turned black.  That is why after busy season, I decided to test another banana bread recipe to see if I can bring peace to the banana’s final resting spot.

Here, with Chang’s recipe, the banana flavor is front and center.  Gone are the bothersome spices and excess sugar that mask the banana’s flavor.    Instead, there is a lovely flavorful and moist loaf studded with walnuts.  Chang credits the tender crumb to Payard’s technique with genoise cakes, where you beat the eggs and oil together.  I think she is just thoughtful and intelligent in the way she brings out the best qualities of banana bread through her recipe, as she is with all of her recipes in Flour.

Don’t believe me?  I ate 1/4 of the loaf before I remembered I needed to take a picture :3

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Of all the possible ways I choose to spend my leisure time during tax busy season, I chose to stand for a few hours straight, dirty myself up with flour and butter, and wait some more only to wash off the oily stains of cookies or cakes.  Sometimes, the thought tired me because my body was so badly in need of sleep, but I found myself needing more of the exercise of thinking about the nuances to create a sweet, charming, and beautiful dessert. Something about daydreaming over ripe berries and juicy tomatoes kept me going.  Haha, to some degree, they were the colorful markers that the tax busy season would be over soon.  That’s why when it was all over, I was absolutely ready to make a fruit dessert.

Right now, it’s a bit of this funny season, where the winter fruits have left the stands, and the summer fruits have yet to arrive.  There’s not much to work with other than the heart-shaped strawberries, which I have oohed and ahhed and have eaten plain or macerated for simple desserts, but I am really pining for the other summer berries, especially blueberries.  The thought of ripe berries baking until the juices burst and stain and splatter with dark-almost violet-blue splotches over coffee cake makes me happy.  Until they appear on the stands too, I have to make do with the dried kind.

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