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Botanica’s Ghee-Toasted Banana Poppy Seed Bread

08.01.2017 / The Fullest / Vegetarian

There really is nothing else like LA’s Botanica (and we’ve been around the proverbial LA block). The restaurant and market is 100% a sensory experience. Everything is considered, down to the micro — the glasses, the flowers that scent the dining room, and every ingredient that goes on the plate. The founders, Emily and Heather, aren’t into dietary dogma, but instead run their kitchen by one golden rule: only the cleanest offerings. My friend, who despises driving to East LA like it’s her profession, said, “Botanica is worth the drive to East LA anytime of the day.” And that’s huge because, well, traffic. We’re obviously not alone in our adoration — there was a line out the door the entire time we were there!

Fortunately, the sunshine-y Botanica founders snuck out from the kitchen for a hot minute to giggle with us as they sipped their cashew milk mochas… and slip us their killer dessert recipe, of course.

For Gluten-Free Buckwheat Banana Poppy Seed Bread:

| INGREDIENTS |

2 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Baking Flour

⅔ cup Buckwheat Flour

1½ cups Coconut Sugar

¾ teaspoon Baking Powder

1½ teaspoons Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

½ teaspoon Cardamom, ground

¼ teaspoon Cinnamon

¼ cup Poppy Seeds

¾ cup Olive Oil

1 tablespoon Vanilla Powder (we recommend Terrasoul or the seeds from 1 Vanilla Bean)

4 Bananas, ripe (stick a few in a paper bag with an apple or avocado to speed up the ripening process)

3 Eggs

½ cup Whey (we use our leftover Labneh Whey for this very purpose; sub Buttermilk if you prefer)

Coconut Sugar, for dusting

| ASSEMBLY |

1 | Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease a nonstick loaf pan with grapeseed oil. (If you have a smaller loaf pan, you’ll have leftover batter, so get a few muffin papers prepped or save the leftover batter for a rainy day!)

2 | Whisk all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3 | In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, mash the bananas until they’re smooth.

4 | Crack in the eggs one at a time and mix until each is completely incorporated. Mix in the whey and olive oil.

5 | Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ones and mix until the batter is smooth, being careful not to overdo it.

6 | Pour the batter into your loaf pan (about ⅔ full), bop it gently on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles, and sprinkle the top with a small handful of coconut sugar.

7 | Bake until the bread is golden-brown on top and until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 65 minutes. Note: Baking times may vary depending on the size of your loaf tin, so be sure to check after 55 minutes or so to be safe! Don’t worry if your loaf takes a bit longer — the key to a thoroughly done cake is a clean toothpick. If the top is browning too much for your liking, simply cover with tin foil for the rest of the baking period.

8 | Remove the pan from oven and let cool for about 20 minutes.

9 | Turn the bread onto a plate and let cool before slicing. Store in a sealed plastic bag (or well wrapped in foil).

For Citrus-Ginger-Cardamom Yogurt:

| INGREDIENTS |

⅓ cup Aris Yogurt

1 tablespoon Orange Zest

Dash of Maple Syrup

1 teaspoon Ginger, fresh and grated

¼ teaspoon Cardamom, ground

| ASSEMBLY |

1 | Stir everything together and set aside.

For Braised Strawberries (Or Blackberries!):

| INGREDIENTS |

2 baskets Market Berries, hulled and halved

1 star Anise Pod, blitzed in the spice grinder

1 tablespoon Vanilla Powder or 1 Vanilla Bean (split, scraped, pod reserved)

Juice and Zest of 1 Orange

Juice and Zest of 1 Lemon

¼ cup White Wine

¼ cup – ½ cup Maple Syrup, depending on sweetness of fruit

Pinch of salt

| ASSEMBLY |

1 | Preheat your oven to 350°F, tossing everything (including the vanilla bean pod) into a baking dish and stirring well.

2 | Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the fruit breaks down and releases its juices. The compote should be warmly spiced with a hint of orange and forward sweetness. Add more maple syrup if you’d like.

3 | Remove vanilla bean and star anise pod before serving.

For Ghee-Toasted Banana Bread:

| ASSEMBLY |

1 | Heat a generous knob of ghee (clarified butter) in a hot pan.

2 | Slice a thick slab of banana bread (about 1¼ inches).

3 | When the ghee is hot, toast the bread on either side until you get a thick crust, being careful not to let it burn. You want a crunchy, amber-colored, caramelized exterior.

4 | To serve, spread the citrus-ginger-cardamom yogurt on the bottom of a shallow dish.

5 | Carefully halve the bread diagonally and lay it on top of the yogurt.

6 | Nestle a generous spoonful of compote on the side, then drizzle the bread with the berry syrup.

7 | Sprinkle lightly with salt and orange zest and serve.

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