Nigella Lawson's Chocolate and Tahini Banana Bread
Whether you’re making this delectable banana bread or, for that matter, any recipe in this book that has tahini in it, do try and get proper Middle Eastern tahini, which is smokier and more fluid, with a full-bodied velvetiness, than the more widely available Mediterranean one on which I have bent more spoons than Uri Geller.
You can easily double the quantities below to fill a 2lb (900g) loaf tin; I don’t find it makes an appreciable difference to the cooking time. You can make a vegan version, omitting the egg, and upping the bananas to 350g and the tahini to 75g. The loaf won't rise a lot without the egg, but the taste is still magnificent. Dark chocolate chips should be dairy-free, but do check the packet.
|250g (approx. 2 medium)||very ripe or overripe bananas (skin-on weight)|
|60ml||olive or vegetable oil|
|50g||tahini, at room temperature (and see recipe intro)|
|1||large egg, at room temperature|
|35g||soft dark brown sugar|
|1 tsp||vanilla extract|
|60g||plain flour (or gluten-free plain flour)|
|½ tsp||bicarbonate of soda|
|¼ tsp||fine sea salt|
|100g||dark chocolate chips|
|1½ tsp||sesame seeds, to sprinkle on top|
You will need: a 1lb (450g) loaf tin.
1. Heat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan. Put a paper liner into a 1lb (450g) loaf tin
2. Peel the bananas (don’t throw the skins away, though, but use them to make the Banana Skin and Cauliflower Curry on p.35 of Cook, Eat, Repeat) and, either by hand or using an electric mixer, mash the bananas, then beat in the oil. I use an American ¼ cup (60ml) measure to do this, and then fill it up with tahini (conveniently, 60ml of tahini weighs 50g) and beat that in. Beat in the egg, then the sugars and vanilla.
3. Whisk or fork together the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt and slowly beat into the batter and when you can no longer see any specks of white, fold in the chocolate chips with a bendy spatula, which you will need to scrape the runny batter into the loaf tin. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds.
4. Cook for 45–50 minutes until risen and firm to the touch, or until a cake tester comes out almost clean; some chocolate chips will make it a little sticky in parts. And don’t worry about the cracks on the top; that is part of its deal. Let it cool completely in its tin on a wire rack and – if you can bear to wait – once it’s cold, slip it out of the tin and wrap it in baking parchment, then foil, and leave it for a day before slicing and eating. I understand if this is too much to ask; I confess I don’t always manage to wait.
Store - Store banana bread in airtight container in cool place for up to 5 days.
Freeze - Tightly wrap whole loaf or slices in double layer of food wrap, then wrap loaf in layer of foil or put slices in airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months (loaf) or 1 month (slices). Unwrap and defrost on wire rack at room temperature.