The macadamia nuts add lovely flavor and crunch, but they can be pricey. If you don't want to use them, leave them out or replace them with 2 tablespoons of unsweetened shredded coconut. Spring is prime time for the most luscious, honeyed mangoes.
Make Ahead: The muscovado cream can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
Yield: Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf
- For the bread
- 2 large eggs, preferably free-range
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar, preferably Muscovado sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups very ripe and soft bananas, mashed (from about 4 large bananas)
- 2 tablespoons crème fraîche or low-fat plain Greek-style yogurt
- 1 1/3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 heaping cup chopped, toasted macadamia nuts, about 5 ounces (optional; see NOTE)
- 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and cut into slices
- For the cream
- 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, preferably Muscovado sugar
- 1 cup crème fraîche or plain Greek-style yogurt
- Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime (2 teaspoons zest and 1 tablespoon juice)
For the bread: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
Combine the eggs, melted butter, sugar, salt and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on low speed to blend, then on medium-high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until airy.
Add the bananas and creme fraiche or yogurt, beating on medium speed to incorporate. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon over the top of the batter; fold in thoroughly. Fold in two-thirds of the nuts, if using.
Pour the batter into the lined pan, smooth the top and sprinkle it with the remaining nuts, if using. Bake for 60 minutes or until a skewer poked into the center comes out clean. Unmold, and cool on a wire rack before cutting into slices.
For the cream: Stir together the sugar, creme fraiche or yogurt and the lime zest and juice in a medium bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (and for up to 2 days).
Serve portions of the banana bread in bowls with slices of ripe mango and generous spoonfuls of the muscovado cream.
NOTE: Toast the macadamia nuts in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant and lightly browned. Cool slightly, then coarsely chop.
Adapted from "Alice's Cook Book," by Alice Hart (Lyons Press, 2011).
Tested by Jane Touzalin.
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