Tea Break – Banana, date and walnut loaf

This is a good recipe for using up those old black bananas lying at the bottom of the fruit bowl. It started off as a Mary Berry recipe for date and walnut loaf with an option to swap the dates and walnuts for banana and cherries.

I tried different combinations and came up with this version, which I think works very well. Slice it up and freeze it. When you are putting the kettle on for your afternoon cuppa, stick the oven on low, throw in a slice (or two if you have company!) and by the time your tea is ready to drink the cake will have defrosted and be just warm enough to melt the butter! Perfect.

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 90g butter, plus some for greasing
  • 250g dates, stoned and roughly chopped
  • 150ml boiling water
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 1 egg (medium)
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 90g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1kg (2lb) loaf tin

Method

  1. Lightly grease the loaf tin with butter and line with greaseproof paper.
  2. Put the dates into a bowl, pour over the measured boiling water and leave for about 15 minutes.
  3. Combine the butter, sugar, egg, flour and baking powder in a large bowl and beat until well blended. Add the bananas, walnuts and dates, plus the soaking liquid and stir to mix well.
  4. Spoon into the loaf tin and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 C (350 F, Gas 4) for 1 hour 15 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch. It may need slightly longer but the way to tell if it is ready is by inserting a skewer into the middle of the loaf and it comes out clean.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then turn it out on to a wire rack and peel off the paper. Wait until it is completely cool before attempting to slice it – otherwise it just crumbles!

This recipe also works well using gluten free flour.

If you want to try it with the cherries add 125g of quartered glace cherries instead of, or as well as, the bananas, dates or walnuts.

Enjoy!

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