Ten days back to sugar and hold your horses, my Sugar Dragon is roaring. It smells amazing in my kitchen lately.
This plum jam is my favorite jam, ever. I gave a jar to a dear foodie friend last year and she says she dreams of it. I do too. This particular banana bread was a half-effort really to just make something to hold up the jam, but as it turns out, I really love this bread too. It’s totally different from My Best Banana Bread, which stands completely on it’s own, save a pat of butter if toasted. But I wouldn’t dare put plum jam on that banana bread … well, that’s a lie. I’d put plum jam on anything and like it. But, to highlight this jam in it’s complicated glory, I needed a smooth, simplified, sturdy bread to play second fiddle. This ended up being rather sweet because of the amount of banana in it, but also, the sweetness is throughout, like a cake, instead of studded like mashed or chopped banana yields in my usual banana bread recipes. But for heaven’s sake, I’m not trying to talk you into this bread. Make the jam. MAKE THE JAM.
Sweet, Smooth, and Simple Banana Bread
Adapted from Allrecipes
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups super ripe bananas, pureed until smooth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan and flour lightly. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, spices and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, vanila and pureed bananas until well blended. Slowly add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and mix on low just to fully combine. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven for 65 to 75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
*Note: this recipe makes enough for one loaf. I doubled it and made two, hence the two in the pictures.
Adapted from Food in Jars
4 cups plums, pitted and chopped (keep the peels on!)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Combine chopped plums, sugar, and cinnamon. Let sit for at least an hour until the fruit has gotten quite syrup-y. Put the fruit in a medium-sized pot and place over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the jam thickens and passes the plate test. Ladle into sterilized jars. Put on lids and rings. You can either pop this in the refrigerator like I do at this point or process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. The unprocessed jam will keep for at least two months in the fridge. The processed jars will keep on a shelf for a year. Hold on to your patience for at least a day before opening a jar, then let the horses go.
*Note: this jam will not set as firmly as conventional jams. Most of my jams don’t get all gelatinous because I use the bare minimum of sugar I can to still pull off the recipe. Without pectin and heaps and heaps of sugar, the pectin is coming in natural form from the skins of the plums. It will still set and be a lovely jam, but in it’s softer state, just accept that it can also be used as a syrup-y topping for your pancakes, yogurt, oatmeal, ice cream, panna cotta, waffles, etc. Also, this jam is the perfect tart pairing for pork anything.