New Recipe: Cook this: Chocolate, tahini and banana two ways from Cook, Eat, Repeat

Whether you choose Nigella Lawson’s chocolate, tahini and banana bread or molten cake, you’re in for a treat

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Our cookbook of the week is Cook, Eat, Repeat: Ingredients, Recipes, and Stories by Nigella Lawson. Over the next three days, we’ll feature more recipes from the book and an interview with the author.

Nigella Lawson takes chocolate, tahini and banana in two different directions in this recipe. Whether you choose the bread or the molten cake, you’re in for a treat.

She’s been making the tahini-tinged banana bread for some time; it’s one of two in Cook, Eat, Repeat (the other one is a gluten-free banana bread with chocolate and walnuts). But the molten cake was a lockdown addition to her repertoire, one that she’s thrilled with.

“I’ve been eagerly waiting for some bananas to go beyond the pale. Or rather the other way around, to the dark,” says Lawson, laughing.

There’s something comfortably familiar about banana bread. But with a few adjustments, such as her use of tahini, it becomes something distinct: earthy, slightly smoky, edging towards bitterness. “It’s not a child’s banana bread,” she adds.

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By swapping a loaf pan for an ovenproof dish, and slightly modifying the temperature and baking time, Lawson transforms her satisfying banana bread into a molten cake.

“It has that feeling, only it’s heavier. And I mean that in a good way,” she laughs. “You’re repeating the same ingredients in a slightly different way. And what you come up with, of course they’re related, but they are very different. So that gives me pleasure.”

Cook, Eat, Repeat by Nigella Lawson
Cook, Eat, Repeat is Nigella Lawson’s 12th book. Photo by HarperCollins

CHOCOLATE, TAHINI AND BANANA TWO WAYS

2 medium (approx. 250 g) very ripe or overripe bananas (to give 3/4 cup mashed)
1/4 cup (55 g) olive or vegetable oil
1/4 cup (50 g) tahini, at room temperature
3 tbsp (50 g) whole milk Greek yogurt, at room temperature (but only for the dessert)
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50 g) superfine sugar
1/4 cup (50 g) dark brown sugar for the dessert; 3 tablespoons (35 g) for the bread
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (60 g) all-purpose flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour)
3 tbsp (25 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
4 oz (approx. 1⁄2 cup or 100 g) bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 tsp sesame seeds, to sprinkle on top (only for the bread)

Step 1

Heat the oven to 325°F (165°C) if you’re making banana bread, or 350°F (177°C) for the molten cake. Put a paper liner into a 1-pound loaf pan or, for the molten cake, get out an ovenproof dish with a capacity of about 3 cups; mine is 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter and 2 inches (5 cm) deep.

Step 2

Peel the bananas (don’t throw the skins away, though, but use them to make the Banana Skin and Cauliflower Curry) and, either by hand or using an electric hand mixer, mash the bananas, then beat in the oil, followed by the tahini. If you’re making the molten cake, beat in the yogurt. Whether you’re making the molten cake or the bread, now’s the time to beat in the egg, then the sugars and vanilla.

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Step 3

Whisk or fork together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt and slowly beat into the batter and when you can no longer see any specks of white, fold in the chocolate chips with a bendy spatula, which you will need to scrape the runny batter into either loaf pan or ovenproof dish. If it’s banana bread you’re making, sprinkle over the sesame seeds.

Step 4

First, instructions for the bread: cook for 45–50 minutes until risen and firm to the touch, or until a cake tester comes out almost clean; some chocolate chips will make it a little sticky in parts. And don’t worry about the cracks on the top; that is part of its deal, as it is for the molten cake. Let it cool completely in its pan on a wire rack and — if you can bear to wait — once it’s cold, slip it out of the pan and wrap it in parchment paper, then foil, and leave it for a day before slicing and eating. I understand if this is too much to ask; I confess I don’t always manage to wait.

Step 5

And now for the molten cake: cook for 40–45 minutes, depending on whether you want it to have a gooily molten centre or not. Once it’s out of the oven, let it stand for 5–10 minutes before diving in for that first squidgy spoonful.

Gives: approx. 10 slices of banana bread or makes a molten cake for 2–3

Recipe and images excerpted from Cook, Eat, Repeat: Ingredients, Recipes, and Stories by Nigella Lawson. ©2021 by Nigella Lawson. Photography ©2020 by Jonathan Lovekin. Published in Canada by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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