Brunch is my favorite meal because you can have both sweet and savory dishes at the same time,” said chef Noel dela Rama during a recent cooking class at the Maya Kitchen.
Based in New York, Dela Rama has had 19 years experience in the culinary industry.
“Brunch is usually geared for the weekend after a heavy work week—when people don’t have to leave the house early and they just want to unwind and relax,” he told the class.
Brunch can start as early as 10 a.m. and can extend until 4 p.m.
“You don’t have to be a pro to create a great brunch spread for your friends and family,” Dela Rama said. “One secret is to start some of the dishes the night before, or even a few days ahead. That way, instead of being in the kitchen, you can be part of the party.”
Here’s the recipe for the banana bread.
with Streusel Topping
For the streusel topping:
1 c Maya all-purpose flour
½ c light brown sugar (or a combination of light and dark brown sugar)
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ c softened butter
½ c pecan nuts or walnuts
½ c rolled oats
For the bread:
3-4 very ripe bananas (enough to make one cup)
1¼ c Maya all-purpose flour
2 tbsp Maya cornstarch
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ c melted butter
1 c white sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c plain yogurt
Make the streusel topping:
In a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter, pecans and oats and stir well with your hands or by crisscrossing two knives until coarse crumbs form. The mixture should be clumpy (streusel should not be smooth). Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
Make the banana bread:
Mash the bananas well. Cover and keep in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. The bananas should be very dark (hence you must use very ripe bananas).
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9” x 5” (or 12” x 4”) loaf pan, or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving a one-inch overhang on the sides. Spray the parchment paper with nonstick spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, mix together the melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and yogurt until combined. Stir in the mashed bananas.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the butter-sugar mixture. Stir just to combine. Do not over mix.
Pour half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Spoon in some of the streusel and spread evenly over the batter. Add the remaining batter. Lightly run a knife lengthwise on the surface of the batter (this will give the banana bread the professional look of a slightly cracked surface, as seen in bakeshops). Top with the remaining streusel.
Bake in the preheated oven for one hour and 10 minutes.
Note: Rotate the pan in the oven after 30 minutes so bread bakes evenly. Start checking for doneness after 50 minutes. If the bread gets too dark before it’s done, cover the top with foil. The bread is done if a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Then cover the pan with waxed paper and invert the bread into the waxed paper. Invert into a plate so the top of the bread is on top. Let cool completely before serving.
Chef Noel dela Rama’s tips:
You may use lakatan or latundan bananas. Do not use saba bananas because those are too starchy.
The bananas must be very ripe.
Ovens have hot spots and cold spots. To ensure the bread bakes evenly, rotate it about halfway through the baking process.
Make sure to use rolled oats, not quick cooking oats.
Do not over mix the batter so the bread doesn’t become gummy.
Maya Kitchen; tel. 8921185, 8925011 local 108; email [email protected] com