Saturday, 4 June 2016

Baked Plantain Cranberry Teabread

THIS IS A WINNER! I'm always looking for new ways to use the fruits and vegetables from tropical countries. Plantains are a member of the Banana family but they taste nothing like a banana. They have their own unique flavor, which intensifies further when baked. I have another recipe on my site for a plantain cranberry bread but with this one, I opted to bake the plantain first as that intensifies the flavor and sweetness of the fruit. I have also used oatmeal, and whole wheat flour to add a dimension of more complex carbohydrates rather than just using only flour. The desiccated coconut also add some carbohydrates that are more slowly absorbed than just flour, and also gives it an interesting taste and texture. For spices, I have used ground coriander for its citrus note, allspice and cayenne pepper to add a little "zing" to the taste. I have used very little sugar (and could probably even decrease it to 1/3 cup) in this recipe because the cranberries, and plantain add their natural sweetness, and makes the bread sweet enough. For an interesting twist, you could also substitute half of the dried cranberries with Goji Berries, if desired.
3/4 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup green tea (flavored is fine. I use 1 teabag of Lipton Purple Acai Berry green tea for the 1/2 cup of water)
1 large plantain, unpeeled

Juice and zest of half lemon
1 cup bread or all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup oatmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup half and half
1/2 cup desiccated coconut, unsweetened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit

2. In a small saucepan, bring the 1/2 cup water to a boil. Pour over the tea bag, cranberries, and let steep for 3-5 minutes. Remove tea bag and set tea mixture aside. Let the mixture sit until the cranberries have absorbed the tea and plump up. 

3. Make a shallow cut in the skin of the plantain along its length. Fold back the skin of the plantain and lightly oil the surface of the plantain. Bake the plantain on the skin, a cookie sheet until it is easily pierced with a knife blade. About 15-20 minutes in a convection (fan) oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit will do it. Remove from the oven and mash it with a fork (photo). Let it cool, and mix it in with the tea mixture, cranberries, lemon juice and zest.  Set aside

4. Melt the butter and coconut oil and let cool.

5. Sift the flour, baking powder, desiccated coconut, baking soda, spices, and salt into a mixing bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat both eggs and the sugar until it becomes pale in color. Add the vanilla, melted butter, and oil, to the mixture, and beat for about 30 seconds more.

6. Add the mashed plantain mixture to the mixture in the electric mixer bowl and blend on low speed. Alternate adding the dry ingredients with the half and half, mixing until all the ingredients are incorporated.  End with the dry ingredients.  Do not over mix. Fold in the pecans (if you are using them) and pour it into a lightly greased 9 by 5-inch loaf pan, the bottom of which has been lined with parchment paper. 

7. Bake in the oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until a toothpick or bamboo skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack, in pan for 10 minutes before attempting to turn out the bread. Slice when cooled to room temperature. I freeze the slices by wrapping them in plastic wrap, and then foil.