|This was the dessert course at the French Laundry.|
One of Yountville's most famous restaurants is the French Laundry. Getting a reservation there is not easy and requires advance planning. I was out of the country when reservations opened, so my little sister kindly helped score a reservation there. The menu changes daily, and for the weeks leading up to the reservation, I would look at the menu daily out of pure excitement.
|Here is my family with Chef Thomas Keller!|
Since that trip, Thomas Keller's cookbooks have joined my ever growing cookbook collection. His cookbooks are large and full of beautiful pictures and fine recipes. Now, the vast majority of his recipes are not short and sweet. However, if you study the techniques and embrace them, you will be greatly rewarded with some pretty spectacular food. :) For me, completely mastering his recipes is not my goal. After all, there is no such thing as perfect food. :) When I cook, my goal is to make people happy.
|Couldn't say it any better. <3|
|The new French Laundry kitchen!|
Today's recipe is banana bread, inspired by banana muffins from the Bouchon Bakery. Now, I know everyone has a banana bread recipe, but I promise you, this one is different. First, you beat the butter to a mayonnaise consistency. I never knew you could do that with butter. ;-) Second, you refrigerate the batter overnight, and this helps richen the banana flavor. It makes a simple banana bread that is buttery with a tender and light crumb that is complemented with a crunchy walnut strudel.
Thomas Keller said, "A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe." Make cooking fun. As you cook, do it with love, happiness, and gratitude.
Thomas Keller's Banana Bread
Yields 1 loaf (or 12 standard muffins or 6 large muffins)
1 1/4 cup and 1 tbsp. cake flour (168 grams)
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
4.2 oz. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar (lightly packed) (144 grams)
2 extra large eggs
1 1/8 tsp. vanilla paste
1 tbsp. + 2 tsp. creme fraiche
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 1/3 cup walnut struesel topping (recipe below)
Walnut Struesel recipe:
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour (100 grams)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/8 tsp. Kosher salt
3.5 oz. cold butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces (100 grams)
For the streusel:
Combine all of the ingredients, except the butter, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on the lowest setting. Toss in the butter and mix on low speed for about one minute, or until the butter is incorporated. Transfer to a covered container. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.
For the banana bread:
Sift the cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder into a medium bowl and whisk together. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the butter, and mix on medium-low speed until the butter has the consistency of mayonnaise. Then, add the sugar and mix for 2 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the eggs and vanilla paste. Mix on low speed for about 20 seconds until combined.
In two additions, add the dry ingredients, mixing on low speed for 15 seconds after each, or until just combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that have settled there. Add the creme fraiche and banana and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Transfer the batter to a covered container and refrigerate overnight, or up to 36 hours.
To bake the muffins, preheat the oven to 425ºF. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray or line a muffin pan with muffin papers and spray with nonstick spray. Spoon the batter into the pan and sprinkle struesel on top. Place the pan into the oven, lower the oven temperature to 325ºF, and bake for 40-45 minutes (24-27 minutes for muffins), or until the muffins are golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely.
Source: The Bouchon Bakery