In various previous posts I’ve told you guys all about how weird Italians are, right? Well, we’re gonna do some more of that today. It recently became known to me that Italians have this irrational terror of peanut butter. They think it’s possibly the unhealthiest thing in existence (yes, I’m including drug abuse). The day I bought a jar of peanut butter (from the Chinese shop, of course – they cater to all my foreign desires), no fewer than three people felt the need to comment on how bad it supposedly is for you.
Now I realise that Italians have what is possibly the best diet in the world, and their grannies are the oldest grannies after maybe the Japanese or something, so surely they must have some idea of what is healthy and what isn’t. But I’m going to have to point something out here: this nation eats cakes for breakfast. This nation raises its children on milk, coffee and nutella. This nation worships Ferrero as if it were their king. No one would have bothered to comment if my jar of peanut butter had been a jar of nutella. Surely if hazelnuts-with-sugar is considered a breakfast of champions, then this is a nation that knows absolutely nothing about nut-based spreads?
Anyway, I really like peanut butter. It’s not really the coolest or the most sophisticated product, but goddamn, it’s tasty. It’s not really sweet nor savoury – it’s somewhere in between, which means that it goes with fucking anything. There’s of course the classic peanut butter and jam (my least favourite), but have you ever tried peanut butter and slices of cucumber, or peanut butter and cheese? Both are excellent, I guarantee it. Then my Canadian friend showed me something pretty bonkers the other day: stalks of celery, filled with peanut butter and raisins. I wasn’t too convinced at first, but it was good!
If you ask me, however, the best combination of them all is peanut butter and banana, the one that’s so good that it killed Elvis (or am I confusing peanut butter with drug abuse again?). And at some point in your life you decide that peanut butter and banana sandwiches just aren’t gonna cut it anymore, and that you need to indulge in something a little more decadent. That’s the day when you decide to make a peanut butter and banana Victoria sandwich, or in layman’s terms, two stacked spongecakes with a bunch of cream in the middle. And if you’re Italian? You can just replace the peanut butter with nutella and feel all healthy as you have this for breakfast.
Credit where it’s due: this recipe is based on Mary Berry’s banana loaf, with some small alterations. For one peanut butter Victoria sandwich, you will need:
- 4 ripe bananas
- 3 tbsp of peanut butter
- 2 eggs
- 100 gr softened butter
- 175 gr sugar
- 225 gr flour
- 1 sachet (or 16 gr) baking powder
- a splash of milk
- 125 ml whipping cream
- icing sugar
Keep two bananas and the whipping cream apart – you’ll need these for the cream.
All of the other ingredients go in a bowl together where you just beat the hell out of them until it’s a nice liquid batter. Go easy on the milk, just a couples of tablespoons first, and add only if you feel the mixture needs to be more liquid. Now line a small (20cm or so) cake tin with baking parchment (or if you don’t have any, slather it in butter) and pour in half the cake mixture. Bake on 180°C for about 35 minutes. Poke a knife in to see if it’s done inside, if yes remove from the pan, leave it to cool and meanwhile, stick the next cake in the oven.
Once both cakes are done, you’ll need to leave them to cool for at least a couple of hours. When they’re cool, whip your cream so that it’s suitably hard – you want to keep mixing a bit longer than you would normally. Now use a (hand)blender or food processor to purée your bananas.
Mix them with the whipped cream, so that you get a nice banana-flavoured mixture. Spread this over one of the cakes, then put the second cake on top. Finish the whole thing off with some icing sugar.