We’ve now been here a little over two weeks and have more or less moved in. A few boxes remain unpacked and will probably stay that way.
Hiro has learned to ride a bike and Louisa is mastering the art of the jump rope. She will turn eight years old next week and I feel a great sense of gratitude that we are once again throwing her birthday parties on her home turf. I know it’s a bit cliché but I remember that cold and foggy San Francisco afternoon when she was born like yesterday and now she strides into eight like nobody’s business. It makes me not want to celebrate her birthday at all as if that would stop time, but celebrate we will, once again with our friends who have missed the past seven celebrations.
The new house is starting to feel more like home, but baking some banana bread never hurts the effort. I made this recipe for the first time a few months ago when I had some ricotta cheese lingering in the refrigerator. I took my favorite banana bread recipe and adjusted it here and there to make up for the moisture and fat from the cheese.
I love the way the ricotta adds a richness without being overpowering. The banana flavor still rings true and prominent but the cheese adds a tenderness and delicate soft texture that makes this bread extra special. This is the bread for brown bananas. The riper they are the more banana flavor there will be. If I have some bananas that are too ripe to eat on the counter I will peel them and slice them then lay the slices in a single layer on a large plate or tray and freeze them. Once frozen, they can be scooped up and placed in a Ziplock until you are ready to bake bread. I always write how many bananas are in the bag on the outside because you know I won’t remember.
One last thing, the bread is best with whole milk ricotta. If all you can find is low-fat or part-skim that’ll work but the flavor won’t be as rich. Also, I lined the loaf pan with waxed paper which makes it a snap to pull out of the pan (you can also use parchment paper, I just didn’t have any) but sliding a knife around the outside and popping it out of an un-lined pan works well too.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 3 ripe bananas
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Heat oven to 350°F and arrange a rack on the bottom. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
- Pour melted butter into a large bowl. Add bananas and mash into a pulp. Add egg and beat until smooth. Add sugar, ricotta, and vanilla and stir to incorporate.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir just until all flour is incorporated, don't overmix. Scrape batter into prepared pan and place on the bottom rack of the oven.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55-65 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and let sit at least 20 minutes before removing from the pan.