This recipe is adapted from the classic banana bread, from the French Antilles (or French West Indies) that always relies – lightly, or sometimes heavily – on rum. Maple syrup and buttermilk were also thrown into the mix, for a little Canadian twist and extra “oomph” and chewiness. This Antillean Maple-Rum Banana Bread is a lovely way to end winter on a comforting note, and say hi to warmer temperatures with sun-filled tangs.
For cooking or baking, I suggest you always opt for a white rum (not amber, or gold). A white rum will let the delicious spiciness of this alcohol shine in a recipe, without the risk of having amber notes outshining other flavors (in this case, the superposition of amber notes and maple syrup flavors may be too deep and overwhelming – so white rum is your best option).
Using maple syrup (instead of brown sugar) and buttermilk (instead of milk) makes this bread extra soft, moist, with a comforting chewy bite. As always for a banana bread, you need to use ripe bananas, which will deliver a packed flavor and a maximum of natural sweetness. Creole banana breads are usually kept simple, to let the notes of the rum shine. But you can definitely choose to add a few pinches of spices (cinnamon, nutmegs or cardamom) and a few pecan or walnut pieces. The final touch, placing a split banana atop the bread (or banana slices) is also a trademark from the Antilles.
If you are curious about French Antillean cuisine, you must visit Leslie’s blog, cuisine creole. Leslie is a jolly young woman from Guadeloupe, passionate about sharing the vibrant and delicious culinary traditions from the French Antilles. Her exotic recipes are fresh, generous and full of sunshine. This happy little place is such a great resource.
Antillean Maple-Rum Banana BreadPrint This
- 1 ½ cups of ripe banana mash (equivalent of 3 big bananas) + 1 banana for decoration
- 1/3 cup of buttermilk
- ½ cup of maple syrup
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons rum
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350º. Grease a bread loaf pan (9X5) with oil/butter and place strips of parchment paper inside (this banana bread is soft and moist, it will help to remove it from the pan).
In a large mixing bowl, mash together the ripe bananas, the buttermilk, the maple syrup, the vegetable oil and the rum. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until just incorporated.
Pour the batter into the pan. Slice the remaining banana in half, length wise, and place it carefully atop the cake batter.
Bake for 50 min-1 hour, until the bread is golden. Let the bread cool to room temperature on a cooling rack, before removing it from the pan.
Optional: Brush the top of the bread with some maple syrup right after it comes out of the oven, for a nice shiny finish