Recently I've been working on a number of North African recipes and when I had some polenta (maize meal) and dates left over I decided to adapt a classic North African recipe to be banana based. Then I added an European and Caribbean twist (the addition of nuts and fruit and the addition of rum). The result was very pleasantly surprising.
So much so that I decided to take a few pictures so that I could make the recipe available here.
This is a great store-cupboard cake as it will keep for several weeks once baked.
Date, Banana and Rum Loaf RecipeServes: 10
Ingredients:250g (9 oz) pitted ready to eat dates
2 small bananas (about 140g [5 oz])
100g (4 oz) pecan nut halves, 3/4 roughly chopped
200g (8 oz) raisins
200g (8 oz) sultanas
100g (4 oz) fine polenta (maize meal)
2 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp dark rum
2 egg whites
a few banana chips, to decorate
1 tsp sugar, for dusting
Method:Place the dates in a small pan with 200ml boiling water, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and strain the cooking liquid into a jug.
Turn the dates into a food processor then add the bananas and 100ml of the date liquid. Blitz the mixture until smooth. In the meantime, combine the chopped nuts, dried fruit, polenta, mixed spice and baking powder in a bowl. Add the date purée and the rum and mix to a batter.
Add the egg whites to a clean and dry bowl and whisk to soft peaks. Fold the beaten egg whites into the cake mix. Turn the resultant batter into a 900g (2 lb) loaf tin that's been oiled and lined with greaseproof (waxed) paper. Top with the remaining pecan nuts and the banana chips then dust with the sugar.
Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180ºC (350ºF, Gas Mark 4) and bake for 60 minutes or until golden brown and crusty on top (when done a skewer inserted into the centre should emerge cleanly).
Allow to cool completely in the tin then turn out and cut into slices before serving.