I’ve never eaten at Prune before, but my wife had brunch there last year, and brought me back a copy of the restaurant’s cookbook. It’s unusual in a few ways: it’s designed to look like a collection of hand-written sheets you might find in a kitchen, complete with splatters, Post-It reminders, corrections, highlights, etc. The recipe yields are written as if you were working in a successful, popular establishment, needing to serve hundreds for a brunch service. But the most glaring, and inexcusable omission is the lack of an index!
The aesthetic of the book is quite novel, and I do enjoy reading the chef/owner’s notes, chastising the kitchen staff. More than one critic has commented on whether they reveal something about her private personality. The missing index, however, is truly annoying. Fortunately, Eat Your Books was in a position to help, and worked with the restaurant to produce a printable index. It’s available from Prune’s website.
But on to the banana bread (p. 364): the headnote of the recipe mentions that the restaurant makes several large loaves every weekend, to hand out to hungry patrons lining up for their brunch. As a baker who has made his fair share of banana bread, I’ve reached the point where I’m pretty satisfied with the repertoire I’ve accumulated. However, this one was, 1) baked in a long, 13” Pullman pan, which I’ve recently acquired, and 2) used a lot of ground cloves.
After making this twice in the past few weeks, I would say it could be one of my new favourites. The use of cinnamon and cloves adds a subtle warmth, and the extended baking time (90 minutes) gives the cake a deep colour. The really straight-sided, almost square slices is also very pleasing to me.