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Toasted Banana Bread with Vanilla Ricotta and Raspberries

GoodFood Magazine suggests that all of the components for this brunch dish can be made in advance, and indeed, we think that they absolutely should be — the flavors of each develop beautifully overnight, and such a fabulous combination they make! With a make-ahead recipe like this, the brunch is as much a treat for the cook as everyone else. Enjoy!

Toasted Banana Bread with Vanilla Ricotta and Raspberries

For the Banana Bread

5 oz. butter, softened (10 tbs.)
5 oz. light muscovado sugar* (about 1 cup)
2 large eggs
2-3 very ripe bananas
zest ½ lemon
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
5 tbs. buttermilk
8 oz. self-rising flour (scant 2 cups)
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. baking soda

For the Vanilla Ricotta and Raspberry Compote

9 oz. ricotta (1 cup), homemade or purchased
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
juice and zest of 3 oranges, divided
3 oz. sugar (½ cup)
18 oz. raspberries

Heat the oven to 325°F. Grease and line the base of a large loaf tin with parchment, allowing the extra to hang over along the long sides of the pan.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with a fork, then stir in the zest, vanilla bean paste, and buttermilk. Add to the butter mixture.

Mix together the flour, cinnamon, and baking soda. Fold into the banana mixture, one-third at a time, until just combined. Spoon in to the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour until firm, golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes, then lift out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

While the bread is baking, make the vanilla ricotta. Tip the ricotta into a bowl and mix with the vanilla bean paste, zest of 1 orange, and 5 tbs. of the orange juice until just combined. Cover and chill.

To make the raspberry compote, heat the rest of the orange zest, 5 tbs. orange juice, the sugar, and 8 oz. of the raspberries in a saucepan over a gentle heat until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes, then pour through a sieve into a bowl. Stir through the rest of the raspberries, cover and chill.

When you are ready to serve, take the raspberry compote out of the fridge to bring to room temperature. Slice the banana bread into 8 pieces and toast under the broiler until lightly caramelized. Serve each slice with a spoonful of the vanilla ricotta and some of the raspberry compote.

* You can substitute dark brown sugar is light muscovado is unavailable.

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