Friday, May 29, 2009

Dutch Oven Banana Nut Bread Supreme

This was the capper at the end of the night of the feast. It was amazingly delicious. And it's a perfect example of how a pretty basic and normal recipe can easily be kicked up a notch and turned into something amazing, without a lot of extra work.

Dutch Oven Banana Nut Bread Supreme

12" Dutch Oven
8-10 coals below
15-18 coals above

  • 5 large ripe bananas
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or almonds or whatever)
  • 2 bars of chocolate, chopped

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Caramel syrup
  • Whipped cream

I started by pureeing the bananas, and added the eggs. There are some who say that when cooking in a dutch oven, you should eschew powered appliances. In fact, in many cookoffs, they're not allowed. Usually, I don't use them myself, preferring to do it by hand. But, I decided to use the blender on the bananas. May the gods of iron forgive me.

I got over it really fast, though.

Then I got out a bowl, and put in the sugar, and the shortening. I got out my pastry cutter and started cutting them together. It didn't take long to mix. Then, I added the reset of the ingredients from the first set, and mixed those together. So far, so good. I chose almonds, because my wife and walnuts don't mix. And for the chocolate? Ghirardellis! I chose good good chocolate for an extra special taste.

Finally, I poured in the banana and egg mix and stirred it all together.

I oiled and floured the bottom and sides of my dutch oven, and poured in the mix.

Somewhere, in the process of making everything, I had lit my coals, and set a lot of hot coals on the lid to pre-heat it. When the batter was ready, so was the lid. I put it on and baked it for about 45 minutes to an hour. I tested its done-ness by sticking a knife in it. If it comes out clean, then it's done.

Now, I did all this in the morning. There was a lot of other cooking and prepping going on for the rest of the day, so I didn't want to have to rush that. So, after I pulled it out of the dutch oven and cooled it, I wrapped the plate up in plastic so it wouldn't dry out.

Up to this point, it's a good banana bread. But I had to take it to another level. This was to be a fancy dinner, and it needed a fancy ending for that final "Wow!"

So, right before serving the dessert, I slipped away from the dinner. In my 8" dutch oven, I melted the butter, dissolved the sugar, and added the cinnamon. I came back in and sliced up the banana bread into cake-like wedges. I scooped up some of the cinnamon butter sauce and put that in the bottom of a shallow bowl, and added the cake on top of that. Then, I drizzled the top of the cake with the chocolate and the caramel, making sure to get some drizzled on the bowl, too. Finally, a squirrch of whipped cream on top, and it was onto the table.

That little bit of the cinnamon and the other sauces, combined with the whipped cream was very simple. But it really took it to another level.

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