For years now, come October I have a day where I see brown-spotted-bananas on my counter but ahhh, it’s autumn and all I want is PUMPKIN bread, not banana. And inevitably, every year, the next thought that comes to mind is, what if I combine them? Banana’s bring that lovely sweetness and pumpkins give that soft texture I love. And pumpkin spice shouldn’t be selfishly reserved to pumpkins only, amirite?
So this year I finally said I’m going to crack it. I set to work examining 4 different banana bread recipes (the best of the best, obviously) against 4 different pumpkin bread recipes, to see what was common to both. My idea was to make one base for the whole bread, split it in half and stir in pumpkin to one and banana into the other then swirl the two breads together for a marbled effect. In my first batch, I had used only cinnamon and nutmeg and I got a lovely, if subtle, swirl. When I went full pumpkin spice with the cloves, ginger and allspice, I found the darkness of these spices made the swirl indistinguishable. Whichever you choose, I know you’ll love the combination of these two bread favorites.
Bananas: You’ve heard it before but I’ll say it again – the browner the better. Have your bananas been speckled for a day or two? Wait another day or two. The more brown spots, the yummier your bread will be.
Pumpkin puree: canned or homemade.
Sugar: brown sugar, light or dark.
Oil: anything flavorless like canola, grape seed or a mild avocado.
Flour: all purpose. You could probably make this with oat flour too, just rest the batter for at least 20 minutes before baking (at room temperature).
Spices: basically pumpkin pie spice. You can add a tablespoon or two of PS or just add the spices in their respective amounts (mostly cinnamon, some nutmeg, some ginger and allspice if you want it).
Prep a standard size loaf pan (8 or 9 inches long, 4-5 inches wide) by lining it with parchment paper and securing it with metal clips.
This is a really simple process, basically everything into a bowl. Just in three stages.
First the banana, pumpkin, flavorings, sugar and oil.
Whisk all that together until blended and the banana chunks have mostly broken up.
Add the eggs and whisk well.
Add the flour and leavening and whisk to *just* combine. Don’t over do it.
Pour it into the prepared loaf pan.
If you want to do the sliced banana topping, read the instructions below.
Bake until the top springs back when pressed or a cake tester comes out clean.
Want to get that attractive topping? Place a peeled banana on its side and use a paring knife to cut about 1/4 of its width lengthwise. This firs step is to remove some unnecessary bottom weight that would otherwise cause the banana to sink into the batter. Now cut banana the same way a second time (also about 1/4 of its total width) and flip over (the middle is the prettier because it shows more tiny seeds) and put it on top of the batter once it is in its pan. Tbh, I actually did not like the soft mushy banana top post-bake so if you are not into that don’t bother. If you want it for the looks – go for it!
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