Sunday, October 4, 2009

Raspberry Banana Bread

We planted four raspberry plants this year along our south facing fence. The plants were all short stubby bare sticks when we bought them. We treated them all with loving kindness, water, compost, some fertilizer. It was warm and sunny along the whole fence. We tried really hard to treat them equally and not play favorites. The result? Two of the four are now as tall as me. The other two have grown barely a leaf. Maybe someday after years of gardening I will know why. For now I can only speculate. Maybe the two small ones were expecting a Montecito address and our 1950's tract home just disappointed them? Who knows? We have faith that another year and they will grow to love their new home. Just between us, the tall ones weren't anything to write home about either. They produced a meager crop of pretty tart berries. But we figure we'll excuse all of the poor behavior this year and set our sights on next year. I struggled with what to do with this tiny crop, but here's what I came up with. The tartness of the raspberries is actually a nice compliment to the sweetness of the bananas.

1/3 Cup Agave nectar
1/3 Cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup butter, melted or very soft
2 ripe bananas
2 well beaten eggs
1/2 Cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Cup all purpose flour
1 Cup whole wheat flour
a few pinches of salt
1/2 Cup crushed raspberries, sweetened with a little agave or sugar, if necessary)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together except for the raspberries. Fold half the raspberries into the batter. Pour batter into medium sized loaf pan. Pour remaining raspberries onto the top and cut through with a knife to make a zig-zag design. Bake for 45 minutes-1 hour, being careful not to over bake. Loaf is done when knife comes out clean.

If you don't have buttermilk, just put a little lemon juice into regular milk and let it sit for five minutes. Agave is a natural sweetener. You can use white sugar in place of the agave if you don't have any on hand. No whole wheat flour? Just use all purpose. I don't recommend all whole wheat though. The bread comes out a little dry if you do that.

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