banana

Steven has been making this buttermilk pancake recipe for as long as we’ve known each other. I like it so much that at the beginning I would insist that he make double batches! It was our weekend ritual. He cooked the pancakes and I would set up the table, brew the coffee and make fresh orange juice. Then we would sit, eat and be happy! Now, of course, with the problems inherent in getting older, elevated cholesterol and weight control, they’re reserved more for special treats, like when we have out-of-town guests.

buttermilk pancakes with caramelized banana and walnuts

buttermilk pancakes with caramelized banana and walnuts

Last week was one of these special occasions. Steven prepared a double batch for our niece, Juliana, and our friend, Chris. Juliana was here visiting from Northern Virginia and Chris slept over after we stayed up really late playing Hearts and chatting over glasses of red wine. (See what I mean? Two batches easily fed four people!)

I suggested a twist to the basic pancake recipe this time. Why not add the extra ripe bananas that are lying around with some walnuts? Banana nut pancakes remind me of our friend, Lúcia. She served us something similar once when we visited her and her family while they lived in an enormous house on Long Island.

The bananas are simply peeled and sliced without mashing. You put them in the pancake after your pour the batter into the skillet. When you flip, the exposed banana develops a lovely caramelized flavor and browns a bit. You should try them one day soon as they’re divine!

buttermilk pancakes with caramelized banana and walnuts

1 cup flour
2 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1½ cups low fat buttermilk
1 tbs. vegetable oil with some extra to grease the pans
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
~½ walnut halves

In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together and set aside (not bananas and walnuts). In another bowl beat the egg then mix in the wet ingredients. Pour wet into dry ingredients and beat by hand until just mixed and smooth. The batter will have some lumps. That’s ok. If it’s too thick, add a bit more buttermilk. I like it somewhere in the middle between very thick and runny. That way it spreads easily but doesn’t get too thin, like a crepe.

I use two or three non-stick frying pans to make the cooking faster. Grease your pans at the start of cooking with some vegetable oil or butter. Heat pans on high. When heated, add a ladle of batter and lower temperature to medium. Place two banana slices and two walnut halves into cooking pancake. Cook on one side for one to two minutes until bubbles begin to rise to surface of batter and you can maneuver a spatula under cake. Gently flip and cook other side for about the same. Flipping is a little tricky with the heavy fillings, so don’t be distressed if you make a mess. You’ll have to experiment with the cooking times and temperatures as you go. The pancakes should be a golden brown color and cooked through without burning.

Eat right away! You can freeze leftovers, if you have any, but they’re not the same.

enjoying buttermilk pancakes with caramelized banana and walnuts with black coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, maple syrup and lots of butter

enjoying buttermilk pancakes with caramelized banana and walnuts with black coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, maple syrup and lots of butter

{ 8 comments }

ultra ripe Chiquita bananas, ready for mashing!

ultra ripe Chiquita bananas, ready for mashing!

Steven liked my banana picture displayed here in this post. He says it reminds him of Andy Warhol’s famous banana painting that’s featured on the album cover by Velvet Underground. I like Warhol’s pop art in general including the aforementioned banana. I haven’t been to the Warhol museum in Pittsburgh yet, which I’ve heard is beautiful. It’s on my “to do list” though. I have seen a few of his pieces at the New York MOMA and at the Tate Modern in London. We’re a little deprived here on the West Coast. LOL 😉 Anyway Steven, I’m flattered by your comment as I like Warhol and the Velvet Underground.

I took a picture of those bananas because I wanted to blog about them later. Aside from admiring bananas in paintings, on album covers and while shopping at Banana Republic, generally I’m not a big fan of this very popular fruit. Maybe I have mixed feelings about them here in America? They’re much more interesting and tasty in Brazil, my country of origin. There they’re not advertised with brand names like you find in the U.S. There’s no Chiquita, Dole, Bonita or Del Monte labels stuck all over them “down South;” and Carmen Miranda never promoted them at home.

finished banana nut bread

finished banana nut bread

Another exciting difference is that in Brazil bananas come in numerous varieties! Along with that come different flavors, different sizes and shapes as well as different colors from the typical banana yellow color that folks recognize here. For instance you can get bananas that taste like apples, bananas with intense sweet and sour flavors and so on… but here a Dole banana is fairly similar to one from Bonita. Blame it on standardization, lobbyists and cartels that control production, transportation, price and markets. Some people even accuse big internationals like Dole and Bonita for slowing the development of Central America too keep banana prices down. That could be just an exaggeration. Well, let’s not get too political now.

Back to my over ripened banana… I cannot sing like the Velvet Underground or silk screen like Warhol; but I know what I’m doing in the kitchen. The ultra ripe bananas turned into a delicious cake. (In America you call them “quick breads” though I don’t get it at all. Some things just don’t translate well.) I think that this is a form of art too, edible art! You can eat it for breakfast or as a warm dessert, served with a dollop of vanilla or coconut ice cream.

Banana Bread with Brazil Nuts, Cashews and Pepitas


pepitas, cashews and Brazil nuts

pepitas, cashews and Brazil nuts

1 1/2 cups flour
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp canola oil plus extra to grease baking dish
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1 egg yolk
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup mix of raw cashew nuts, brazil nuts and pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

How to:

Preheat oven to 350F

Place nuts in a plastic bag and roughly break them with a rolling pin or similar.

Grease a glass dish (about 8 inch diameter) with canola oil

Combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder in large bowl

Beat egg whites, egg yolk, sugar and canola oil for a few minutes in a separate bowl

Whisk together wet and dry ingredients for a minute or two. The consistency will be thick, like cookie dough. Fold in mashed bananas. Mix nuts in the dough using a spatula. Transfer to baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a tooth pick in the center. When it comes out clear your cake is ready, otherwise bake a little longer.

fresh from the oven banana nut bread with melting butter. Yum!

fresh from the oven banana nut bread with melting butter. Yum!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ Comments on this entry are closed }