Whenever I bake with raisins and almonds, I am reminded of the old Yiddish lullaby “Roshinkes mit Mandlen,” sung by so many Jewish bubbes to so many babies over so many decades. It’s a lovely song about a goat going to market while an infant sleeps in his young mother’s arms. I remember my parents playing a recording of it sung by Jan Peerce, who at one time was a famous opera tenor. The lullabye is so enchanting, I once made a challah-type yeast bread that included raisins and almonds (in Germany it is known as Hefezopf) and called it Lullabye Bread.
But the other day I had too many bananas. Again. And so I made banana bread with roshinkes und mandlen.
Perfect any time you need a lightly sweet snack. Fitting for Tu B’shevat (which begins at sunset on January 20, 2019).
If you’d like to hear the one and only Jan Peerce singing the lullaby, click here.
Banana Bread with Raisins and Almonds
2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated fresh orange peel
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a (10-inch) 8-cup bundt pan. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and orange peel together in a bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the eggs and sugar at medium speed until thoroughly combined and thick. Add the vegetable oil and vanilla extract and beat the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Add the bananas and buttermilk and beat the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Fold in the raisins and almonds. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about one hour or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove to a cake rack to cool completely.
Makes one bread, serving 12-16