Saturday, 24 December 2016

Mango Plantain Quick Bread

Growing up on a Caribbean island meant that one always had a surplus of tropical fruits like mangos and plantains. In Jamaica, the most common use of Plantain in a desert is in Plantain Tarts or Turnovers. I guess they could be called "Empanadas de Platano" in Latin American countries. Indeed, in those countries like Panama where Jamaicans, and people from other Caribbean islands went to work at the turn of the 20th century to help build the Panama Canal, they also left their mark on the cuisine of those countries. In Panama, the Plantain Tart is called "Plantita" with an accent on the final "a". I never much liked Plantain Tarts as a child, and back then nobody ever thought about using them to make anything else. I thought therefore I would start using them in Quick Breads, and I have a number of variations on this site. For this one, I thought I'd like to try these two favorites together to make a bread. To achieve the balance of sweetness I wanted, without using too much sugar, I used very, very ripe plantains. It's at that point that the sugars in the fruit are at their highest concentration. The resulting bread is a very dense, very crusty, slightly sweet, and delicately flavored product that's just great with afternoon te or coffee, and spread with your favorite jelly or jam!

2 cups bread or all-purpose flour
½ cup Scottish oatmeal
¼ cup grated coconut
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt  
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon  
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup canola oil
½ cup Greek or strained yogurt 
3 eggs, well beaten
Juice and zest from 1 lemon or lime
1 tsp vanilla
1 ¼ cup mango, coarsely shredded (the flesh of the mango should not be green but yellow and firm, not yellow, soft and ripe)
1 ¼ cups very ripe peeled, steamed, and mashed Plantain
½ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
¼ cup milk or half and half

1.      Mix flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and soda, and dry spices together in a bowl. Set aside.
2.      Cut and peel the plantain,
and steam in a small amount of water until cooked.
Remove from heat, drain and mash the measured amount. Add the oil and yogurt to this and mix well.
3.      Peel and shred the mango using the large holes on your grater. Add the lemon juice, zest, and dried cranberries to this and set aside.
4.      In a large mixing bowl, whisk sugars, oil, and vanilla until pale in color.  Mix in the mango and plantain mixture. Add dry ingredients all at once and mix until just blended.  Do this quickly as the chemical reaction between the soda and the lemon juice starts at this point to form carbon dioxide bubbles.  Add the milk and mix until incorporated. The batter will be thick just like a bread dough. Pour into greased and floured loaf pan.
5.      Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until a cake tester (skewer) inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

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