In the part of the world where I live,coffee and cafés form a big part of lives of people.So much so that when the other day I mentioned in front of my neighbour that I like to start my day with a cup of tea, masala chai precisely,he smirked saying how can I have such a spicy thing in the morning and that too daily. As for him, if at all he drinks masala chai..its only on his mountaineering treks when his nose is runny.But,I am conditioned to having tea all my life.. first thing in the morning since the time I became adult enough to consume tea. Picking up a cup of overly sweet, overly milky and overly spicy chai from the chaivalla[tea vendor]in front of Mother Dairy booth near to my house was the best way to start my day long journey on Delhi’s roads.Oh, not to mention that used to be my second cup of caffeine in the morning with many more to follow
When I see people here drinking bitter coffee,it astonishes me.However I loooove the smell of roasted coffee beans…so much so that I sometimes change my normal way to walk past by a Starbucks…just to sniff to good mood What astonishes me more is that here, the coffee is as bitter as it can be and the tea is as light a brew as it can be.This makes me appreciate that the conditioning of our taste buds starts right from the childhood with the kind of food we eat and the beverage we drink..this is what is called an acquired taste per say!
Not that I don’t like coffee but I still find it difficult to gather the courage to drink a neat black coffee in cafés out here,the one which suits my hard ..easy to please Indian palate is a 2 sugar /3 creamer deal and that too not in the morning, it’s often the evening beverage. There’s no point for guessing that I mostly go to cafés here to binge on the baked goodies and the aromatherapy from the coffee smell
I live on Sunset Road in Vegas.The Sunset Road has three “Sunrise” cafés, two out of those are vying for the original spot for sometime now,the third one serves decent stuff.Now, we go to the third cafe occasionally, which is at least twice in a week! P goes for the hazelnut coffee, I go for the baked goodies by Mama Ann who runs the cafe along with her rock star son having treated hair and pierced eyebrows.She has some magic in her hands,every scone or cookie or muffin in her cafe tastes divine.Mama Ann comes up with one unusual flavor every week and that’s the special for that week. A few months back I ate this banana & date pudding in her café and since then I had the taste lingering in my mind…okay on the tongue!So much so that I was willing to especially buy bananas to make this
I wanted to make muffins but the problem is that P is not a big fan of muffins or cupcakes..so I had to think of some other way to recreate the magic of this combo.The attempt to forage the recipe from Mama Ann was futile and I had to go in for my own hit & trial versions to come up with some decent looking stuff. After repeated searches on the internet I found this absolutely amazing banana & date pudding recipe from this beautiful blog,which I adapted.
Now, a very typical scene in my kitchen being ..that always…I mean always without fail .. I fall short of something or the other whenever I am tooo excited to try out a thing…So atleast I had bananas & dates ..thank GOD for that …but I fell short of flour.Given the lazy & stubborn kinda female I am, neither did I want to go to grocery store a mile away to buy flour, nor did I want to give up on the baking!!! Finally, I settled for a mix of semolina and whatever little flour I had.But if you are not like me, I m sure you ll plan ahead and make everything available a night before atleast…but did I tell you that the semolina thing did wonders to the texture…so even if you are lame like me..its kinda okay!Just to save some calories, I totally dumped the luring butterscotch sauce in the original recipe, and settled for a drizzle of honey mixed with cinnamon!Below it goes:
- 3/4 cup dates, pitted and chopped
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 ripe bananas,chopped
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 2 eggs ,room temperature
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup semolina flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- handful of chopped walnuts [or almonds]
- 4 tbsp honey mixed with 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon [for drizzle]
- Whipped cream /vanilla ice cream to serve along
How I did it :
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the ramekins thoroughly.
- In a small pan, bring the water to a boil, once boiling add the chopped dates and let cook for 2-3 minutes.Remove from heat, add the baking soda and set aside ro cool.
- Cream the butter and sugar thoroughly.To this add the eggs, one at a time and vanilla.Mix well.
- Add in the flours into the butter mix gently and combine well but gently.
- Fold in the chopped walnuts.
- Tansfer the batter to the greased ramekins and spread evenly.
- Bake at 350 F for 20-22 minutes [Mine took 20 mins] till spongy to touch and browned on surface.You can use a skewer to test in the centre if it comes out clean.
- Take out from the oven and let rest on a cooling rack to cool completely before topping with cream and honey.