Banana bread with dates

When I cut into this banana bread, still warm and steaming from the oven, and had my first exploratory taste, I decided that this could possibly be the best banana bread I’ve ever made. Some banana breads are too dry, some are too oily, but this banana bread was just, absolutely right.

It’s essentially Nigella’s recipe from How to Eat, with a few substitutions. If you have some overripe bananas, give it a go – you may fall in love just as I did.


100g chopped dates
75mls rum
(a leftover bottle I use for cooking as it was declared by the Husband, whom I bought it for, to be the wrong brand)
1 1/2 cups plain flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 small ripe bananas (about 300g without skin), mashed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put the chopped dates and rum into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and let sit for an hour until the fruit has absorbed the liquid. I left it on the heat for too long and the dates soaked up the rum immediately, which worked fine as well.

Preheat the oven to 170C. Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until well blended. Beat in the eggs and then the bananas. Then stir in the soaked dates, cranberries and vanilla extract.

Add the flour to the butter mixture, one third at a time, stirring well after each addition. Scrape the mixture into a greased and lined loaf tin, and bake at 170C for 1 to 1 and a quarter hours. When it’s ready, a skewer should come out mostly clean. Leave to cool in the tin until you can bear it no longer and cut yourself the first slice.

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