The Beaver Club's famous banana bread
When I was in my late teens, and early twenties, we often traveled to Montreal to visit my brother Erik. It was during this time that I first met Millie and Zelica, two widowed sisters who were cousins of my grandfather’s. They were in their late eighties and early nineties when I met them, were full of fun and loved to eat out.
Millie and Zelica were regulars at the Beaver Club, a swanky restaurant at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, and when we were in town they’d treat us to supper there. Those evenings were the most entertaining restaurant meals that I have ever experienced.
The degree to which staff at the Beaver Club doted on my elderly cousins was a sight to behold. The staff adored Millie and Zelica and we all got to bask in the glow of that special relationship.
The meals were always spectacular but what I remember most about the food was the selection of breads and pickled quail’s eggs that they’d bring to the table at the beginning of the meal: house made sourdough, rye and finger-sized slices of the darkest banana bread I had ever seen. Mom and I spent years trying to figure out the secret to its rich dark colour.
Eventually Millie and Zelica were able to get the recipe, and we learned the secret: the bananas are pureed with the sugar (secret to the even colour) and the bread is baked at a low temperature for two and a half hours.
The Beaver Club’s famous banana bread
Ingredients for two loaves (8”x4x3”)
- 4 bananas, very ripe
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 cups flour (I use whole white)
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 7 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- Combine bananas, sugar and baking soda in the blender and whiz for one minute.
- Pour into a large bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, alternating with the flour.
- Mix in the oil and buttermilk
- Beat mixture for two minutes, until well blended.
- Pour batter into prepared pans (lined with parchment paper is best)
- Bake at 275 F for 2 ½ hours