Thursday, 21 June 2012

Italian Banana Loaf With Polenta, Walnut & Coffee

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If you are wondering why I’m baking with bananas today it’s because I’ve got a bowlful that needs to be eaten very quickly!  I am always on the look-out for gluten and wheat free recipes.  I think I’ve been too naive about what goes into recipes in the past.  So I’m very excited to try this recipe using polenta which I have eaten millions of times, but never cooked with before.

Polenta is naturally wheat and gluten free.  It is made by grinding corn into flour and is a staple in Italy.  Uncooked polenta in baking results in a moist product.  It also adds a grainy dimension that is tasty and most of all, a wheat and gluten free dish.  It is also cheap and readily stocked in most supermarkets.

 5 small to medium bananas, mashed
100g walnut pieces

Dry ingredients
110g plain gluten free flour
110g polenta
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon mixed spice
1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
140g dark brown muscovado sugar
Pinch of salt

90g *margarine or butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 tablespoon strong black coffee

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celcius.
2. Mash bananas and set aside.
3. Roast the walnut pieces on a baking tray for 7 minutes.
4. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients.  Using your fingers, break up any lumps of sugar.
5. Add butter, vanilla essence and fold in the bananas and walnut pieces.
6. Finally add the coffee. Beat the mixture until it is smooth. 
7. Pour into a baking tin and bake for approximately 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely before serving with a freshly brewed cup of tea or coffee.

This recipe is milk, egg, wheat, gluten and soy free.  If you are avoiding milk, ensure that your margarine is vegetable based and read the ingredient list.  Butter is not free from milk.  If you don’t need to avoid eggs, then simply replace one of the bananas with an egg.

Lovely readers, how do you cook with polenta?