The Proven Platter—Liberia, July 2020
The cuisine of Liberia is an interesting mix of West African Coastal cuisine and Creole, a combination that is a reflection of its location and its history. Peppers are aplenty and the food, like the air, is filled with heat. Liberian cuisine is unique among other West African cuisine in the preponderance of baked goods. Baking as a technique is traced back to the freed slaves and freeborn Blacks who moved from the Southern States of the USA. A lot of these baked goods have similarities to baked goods we are familiar with in the USA but with some interesting twists. Pineapple Walnut Bread is one such. A lot like banana bread but less sweet and eaten more as a breakfast bread, with a pat of butter. It uses ingredients that are easy to come by in any kitchen which is essential in these times when we are relying on pantry supplies for cooking. In my research about Liberia, its customs and cuisines I came across Anthony Bourdain’s travels to the country and would highly recommend watching the episode (No Reservations: Liberia, Season 6, Episode 14) with a slice of pineapple walnut bread.
Pineapple Walnut Bread
All-purpose flour–2 ½ cups
Bran–1 cup (substitute: fine ground oats)
Baking powder–1 T
Baking soda –1 tsp.
Salt – 1 tsp.
Walnuts, toasted – ¼ cup
Sugar – 4 T (optional, the traditional recipe does not use sugar but I added just 4 T to bring out the flavor of the pineapple)
Eggs – 2
Crushed pineapple –1 cup (used with juice)
Melted butter – ¼ cup (optional, traditional recipe does not use butter but I added it as the batter was too dry without)
- Preheat oven to 300F.
- Grease a bread pan and set aside.
- Sift all dry ingredients including sugar, if using, and mix together.
- Beat the eggs in another bowl.
- Add the crushed pineapple and vanilla to the eggs.
- Mix in the melted butter, if using.
- Mix the wet ingredients with the dry.
- Pour the batter into the pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes or so until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Serve warm with butter. (The flavor intensifies the day after so leftovers are even better!)
Recipe and photo credit: Vinola Munyon