The basis of this banana bread recipe comes from Marilyn, my-mother-in-law. She is one of those bakers who has eighty percent of her recipe memorized and just fills in the blanks as she goes. I don’t know how she gets away with it, but she does. Anyway, last week, I bought four bananas. Two for eating, and two for banana bread. Unfortunately, I forgot to communicate that two of them were destined for more than just peeling and eating, and all but one remained when I finally had time to bake.
After mentioning to my husband that he ate too many bananas, he kindly left the fourth one alone. But you know, you sort of need a couple of bananas for banana bread. I didn’t feel like waiting another few days for a banana to go bad, so I decided to put a pear that had gone past its prime to work. And since I’d already subbed banana for pear, I decided to go all out with brown butter and salted caramel. Eighty percent basic, twenty percent do-what-you-want, Marilyn style.
I swirled some of the caramel into the batter, but it must have been too runny because it didn’t stay in the middle. Instead, it sizzled up to the top and out to the sides and made for a sweet and salty crust. Totally works! I will most certainly be whipping up another loaf to tote to Thanksgiving.
Banana Pear Bread with Salted Caramel
For the Caramel Sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons sea salt
In a saucepan over medium low heat, mix together all of the ingredients. Stir the mixture as it begins to bubble, and allow the sugar to boil for about 7 minutes. Dip a spoon into the sauce and allow to cool over the pan to check its consistency. Sauce should be on the runnier side. When finished, remove from heat and allow to cool.
For the Bread
1/3 cup unsalted butter, browned
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup of mashed banana (about 1 ripe banana)
1 small pear, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour and loaf pan.
Add butter to a cold saucepan. Turn heat on to medium–stir butter as it melts, foams, and browns. When the liquid has turned a golden brown, remove from heat and let cool.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Add in mashed banana and the brown butter. Stir.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet, a little bit at a time. Mix together until all of the flour is incorporated.
Pour half of the batter into the pan. Add a few dollops of caramel sauce and use a knife to swirled the caramel into the bread. Top with the remaining batter.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Cover the bread with foil and bake for another 10 minutes.
Serve warm. With butter. Spoon some of the leftover caramel sauce on top and sprinkle on some more salt. Eat it all before anybody else knows you baked.