Bananas can ripen very quickly. Don't throw them out. Use them in one of the following recipes. Ripe bananas are moist, soft sweet and have a different flavor to green bananas and partially ripe ones. Don't worry about the black spots on the outside. It is the inside that counts.
A variety of recipes for banana bread, cakes, fritters, muffins and cookies is provided, all designed to showcase the flavor and texture of ripe bananas. Enjoy!
For the Fritters
For the Caramel Sauce
To make the caramel sauce, add the sugar and water to a small metal pan and heat using a high setting. Swirl but do not stir the mixture as it heats. Keep heating until it starts to bubble and caramelise. Warm the cream in the microwave so it is quite hot. Then, quickly turn off the heat and pour in the hot cream, whisking to mix thoroughly. Then, stir in the butter, vinegar and salt to taste. Mix well and set aside to cool. You may want to reheat it before serving.
To make the fritters, add the oil to a deep fryer of medium size, deep pan and heat to a temperature of 185 degrees C (360 degrees F). While the oil is heating, combine the caster sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and sesame seeds in a medium size bowl. Combine the eggs yolks and water together in a separate bowl and then pour into the dry ingredients in two batches. Whisk to combine well and form a thick batter. Add more water if required.
Dip the banana pieces into the batter and then fry in small batches in the hot oil. Remove when browned and crisp on the outside and place on paper towels in a colander, until all the banana is cooked. Serve the fritters with ice cream and the warm balsamic caramel sauce.
For the cake
For the glaze
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Grease and line a 9 inch (20 cm) round springform cake tin with baking parchment. Cream the butter and sugar using a mixer until soft, light and fluffy. Add the mashed bananas, thyme, free range eggs, a pinch of salt and the lemon zest. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a separate bowl. Then, fold in the wet mixture, mixing until just combined. Do not over mix. Transfer the mixture to the lined tin and bake for 30-35 minutes, until well-risen, springy when touched and a clean skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cook the cake completely before removing from the tin and pulling off the paper. Whisk the glaze ingredients and spread over the top of the cake before serving with extra fresh thyme leaves on top.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) with the rack positioned in the center of the oven. Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (20 x 10 x 7 cm) bread pan with butter and then lightly dust lightly with flour. Sift the flour, salt, sugar and baking soda together and mix until well combined. Using a mixer combine the oil, bananas, butter, vanilla and eggs, together in a large bowl. Fold in the dry ingredients and add the walnuts. Mix briefly and then transfer to the bread tin. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan until just warm and turnout onto a plate. Serve warm.
Turn the pan upside down and de-pan the bread.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place paper liners into a 12-cup muffin tin that has been sprayed with oil. Place the shredded zucchini into a colander lined with paper. Put more paper on top and squeeze to remove excess water. This is an important step. Sieve the flour, cinnamon and baking powder into a bowl and mix to combine well. Using an electric mixer or a stiff whisk, combine the eggs, vanilla, honey, oil and mashed banana and beat until smooth. Mix in the zucchini, apples sauce and yogurt and beat until smooth and mixed together. Slowly fold in the dry ingredients in small batches until just combined. Gently distribute the 1/2 cup of chocolate chips through the mixture. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, until cooked in the center.
Slice the peeled bananas, lengthwise in half, and then into quarters. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a heavy pan or Dutch oven over high heat. Gently sear the bananas on both sides until golden brown in color. Remove from the pot and set aside. Add one tablespoon of butter to the pan, and when melted add the brown sugar. Heat, without stirring, until the sugar starts to bubble. Then, quickly add the brandy and buttermilk in alternate batches. Bring the caramel sauce to the boil while stirring continuously. Then, turn the heat to low, let the sauce cool a little and add the bananas. Cook briefly, just long enough for the bananas to heat through. Serve immediately with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.