This latest post has a number of influences. I was first reminded of the deliciousness of bacon and sugar earlier this year on Helen’s wonderful Peckham based blog and tucked the idea away for a rainy day (or more like a rainy Summer as is more the case currently). Bacon has always had one foot in the sweet camp in my brain; it so easily being paired with maple syrup and french toast, I’ve also eaten it in chocolate and toffee form, so to candy the actual bacon itself is not such a big leap.
The dish that inspired this recipe though was on my first visit to Nude Espresso, a coffee shop in East London, and one on my list to review. I ordered what I thought was going to be a fairly refrained snack of banana bread, what came out of the kitchen was an insane whollop of sugary brunch in the form of two slabs of the gooey, rich bread served with honeycomb butter and dusted liberally with icing sugar. This was really good, in fact a near perfect offering if you’re after an insuline high, but I felt it lacked that one intrinsically brunchy ingredient of bacon, a good salty pig hit that would elevate the plate beyond the simply sacharine. So I got a thinking, and along with my attempts to perfect a great banana bread recipe, spurred on by the refusal of Foxcroft & Ginger to give me theirs, I’ve come up with this, dare I say, even better version. My perfect brunch or indeed a satisfying supper, the addition of a good black coffee I’d suggest would be an almost compulsary accompaniament.
The banana bread recipe is based loosely on one from Nigella Lawsons ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’
For the Banana Bread:
100g wholegrain spelt flour
75g ground almonds
150g light muscovado sugar
2 eggs beaten
2 teaspoons baking powder
half a teaspoon bicarconate of soda
4 very ripe bananas, well mashed, almost to a puree, but some lumps are good.
60g chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
glug of maple syrup
1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees. With a wooden spoon mix the butter and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time and then the mashed bananas, folled by vanilla extract, maple syrup and pecans.
In a seperate bowl mix together the flour, almonds, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and spices then stir this dry mixture into the wet mixture gradually until just combined, making sure not to over stir.
Pour into a well greased loaf tin roughly 23 x 13 x 7cm and bake for around an hour or until it’s fully cooked and a knive stuck into the middle comes out clean.
Now my bread is rather prone to volcanic eruptions, I’m not convinced this is a such a bad thing though as the naughty baked rivulets are my sneaky baking treat!
For the candied bacon butter:
thick cut streaky bacon
light muscovado sugar
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Lay your bacon on a non stick baking tray and sprinkle a good dose of sugar over each rasher, enough to fully cover. Cook for around 15 minutes, turning once and swishing around in the sugary liquid but be careful not to let it burn, my oven’s rubbish so keep an eye on it. Pull it out when it’s well done and let the gorgeously glossy bacon crisp up before cutting into teeny tiny pieces while trying not to eat tooooo much. Stir into the butter and refrigerate.
Part of the magic of this bread is in the additional grilling, as it seems to caramelise the outside edges a little so I bung mine in my panini press for a minute, then serve with lashings of candied bacon butter and a good strong black coffee
And if that doesn’t cure a hangover, I don’t know what will!