pear and maple syrup banana bread

cuts into 8 slices; hands-on time 25 min; oven time 45 min

know­ how
When you line a loaf tin with baking paper, leave some hanging over the short edges of the tin. The excess paper will help you lift out the baked cake.

make ahead
This cake freezes well for up to 3 months. Once cool, freeze all or part of the cake, tightly wrapped in baking paper and sealed in a freezer bag. Defrost, then drizzle with golden syrup to serve.

food team's tip
If you have browning bananas in your fruit bowl, don't let them go to waste (they have so much flavour) - freeze them in their skins. Defrost before using to make the cake.

100g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
3 (about 250g) really ripe and speckly bananas (see tip)
100g golden caster sugar
2 ripe but still firm comice pears, cored and chopped, dusted in a little flour
1 tbsp maple syrup, plus extra to serve
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large free-range egg
150g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g pecans, roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/ gas 4. Grease and line a 1 litre loaf tin with baking paper so it overhangs the short edges of the tin (see tip).

Mash the bananas in a mixing bowl, then stir in the melted butter and caster sugar with a wooden spoon until well combined. Stir through the pears, the maple syrup and vanilla extract, then beat in the egg. Sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda, then gently fold in, along with the pecans, using a metal spoon.

Pour the mix into the loaf tin, then bake for 45 minutes. The cake should be dark on top with a soft, moist sponge. Check it's done by poking a skewer into the centre - if it comes out clean it's ready. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then lift out onto a wire rack to cool. Drizzle with extra maple syrup to serve.

Keith says: I have found that the timing is insufficient. But, if your oven is true to the values, then it may be okay. I have always added more time to cooking. But, the cake will take further cooking with no problem.

per serving 312kcals, 16.1g fat (7.4g saturated), 4g protein, 38.4g carbs (23.9g sugars), 0.2g salt, 2.7g fibre

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