Apparently this is the week of travel-inspired recipes. There were those fluffy buttermilk scones that I first discovered in Paris, and then there’s this bread, directly inspired by Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. I was dying to visit after I ordered one of their cookbooks and made my dream bread – aka hole-ridden sourdough with a crispy crust and light-as-air crumb – and it was SO worth waiting outside in the chilly SF air and dealing with all that busy-bakery commotion when I finally got to go.
Tartine makes a Banana Date Tea Cake that makes me feel like dates belong in baked goods wayyy more than I ever realized. It’s definitely not something I would have picked out to try myself, but then that’s the benefit of traveling with other people and sharing meals: you discover amazing foods you never would have tried otherwise. We liked this so much that I decided to recreate it at home, and I wound up with this banana date bread that just wows me because it’s so dang good. It’s 100% whole wheat (<—— best thing ever), but also moist and tender, and full of rich, nutty flavors from brown sugar, molasses, and also those gorgeous chunks of dates studded throughout. The very best part is the topping, with slivers of bananas and a heavy sprinkle of pecans, all dusted with coarse sugar to create this caramelized banana-pecan crust. H E A V E N
A moist, tender banana bread studded with sweet, rich dates and topped with a caramelized banana and pecan crust.
- 8 1/2 ounces (2 cups, spoon and level) whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 5/8 (1/3 cup) coconut oil, melted
- 5 ounces (2/3 cup, packed) brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 lb 1 ounce (2 cups) mashed ripe banana
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 5 1/2 ounces (1 cup) pitted and halved medjool dates, chopped
- thinly sliced banana
- 1 ounce (1/4 cup) pecans, chopped
- 2 tablespoons coarse sugar
- Preheat oven to 375ºF and grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan with cooking spray.
- Whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt together in a medium-large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, brown sugar, and molasses until well-combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Whisk in the mashed banana and vanilla until evenly combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold in until just a few streaks of the dry remain. Add the dates and continue to fold just until everything is evenly combined and dates are dispersed.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula if needed. Arrange banana slices on top in three rows, and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Generously sprinkle entire top with coarse sugar.
- Bake bread at 375ºF for 5 minutes, and then reduce heat to 350ºF and bake another 75-80 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Cool in pan for about 20 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Store wrapped in plastic wrap or in a zip-top bag.