Biloxi Banana Bread
Source of Recipe
From "Screen Doors and Sweet Tea" by Martha Hall Foose
"I don't know how the decision was made, in an area with no people for 3 miles in any direction, to place East Highway 49 South at a sloping curve as it crosses a dogleg in the railroad track, with the gravel Hillside Wildlife Refuge Road and Bee Lake Road both coming into the highway at the top of the curve. This feat of engineering has led to countless wrecks, and the area has come to be called Billfold Bend. Train cars regularly flip off the tracks, eighteen-wheelers lose their loads, and a couple of fishing-boat trailers take a spill each year. Once a trainload of patio furniture flipped in the late '50s and provided the seating around Aunt Mary's swimming pool. A glider and a few chairs are still hanging in there. One twilight derailment left a boxcar of corn and a boxload of sugar flipped, and their contents were hauled away by moonshiners by sunrise. Way down the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where this railroad originates, is the second busiest tropical fruit port in North America. Just about all the bananas sold in the United States come through there—more than 8,000 pounds a week. Many of the train cars full of the fruit clatter this treacherous stretch of North Delta Railway. Once, several boxcars chock-a-block with bananas took Billfold Bend a little too fast. Lots of people showed up to help carry off the 200-pound bunches of bright green bananas. Cars with bananas sticking out of rolled-down windows and trunks with the lids tied down bulged with fruit as the sped on down the highway. No telling how many loaves of banana bread were baked that week."
List of Ingredients
◦ 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
◦ ¼ teaspoon baking powder
◦ ¼ teaspoon baking soda
◦ 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
◦ ¼ teaspoon salt
◦ ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
◦ Pinch of ground cloves
◦ 1 ½ cups mashed ripe bananas
◦ ¼ cup buttermilk
◦ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
◦ ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
◦ ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
◦ ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
◦ ½ cup granulated sugar
◦ 3 large eggs
◦ 1 cup pecan pieces, if desired
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cloves with a whisk to break up any lumps. In a separate bowl, combine the bananas, buttermilk, vanilla, and lemon zest.
In an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar for 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time. Reduce the speed to low and add half of the flour mixture. Add half of the banana mixture, beating just long enough to combine. Repeat with the remaining mixtures. Add the pecan pieces, if desired, and mix until just incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached when poked in the center. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Remove to a wire rack to continue cooling.
Makes one 9-inch loaf