The proportion of banana in this decadent banana bread batter is higher than usual, so be prepared for a very tender crumb. Chef Lincoln Carson uses completely black, slightly fermented bananas, so let your bananas turn as black as possible so they have that slightly fermented, super-sweet flavor that he designed this recipe for. To ensure all the batter fits, purchase a true 9-by-5-inch loaf pan if yours is smaller. The floral honey ganache with which Carson glazes the bread here is optional, but if you make it, you’ll see a breakfast bread transform into a stunning cake. Whatever path you choose, make the bread a day before you plan to serve it; it improves in texture the longer it sits.
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan (8-cup capacity) with butter and line the bottom and two long sides with parchment paper. Grease the paper, then dust the inside of the pan with flour to coat, knocking out any excess.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. In a small skillet, melt the butter and vanilla bean seeds together until the butter just melts. Remove from the heat and let cool while you make the batter.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (or a large bowl with a hand mixer), beat the bananas on medium speed until liquefied, about 3 minutes (you should have 2 ½ cups). Reduce the mixer speed to low and pour in the sugar and salt, then continue mixing for 1 minute. Pour in the eggs, beating until smooth. While still mixing on low, spoon the dry ingredients into the batter, then pour in the melted butter in a slow stream. Continue mixing until the batter is smooth, then remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape the bottom and side with a large rubber spatula to make sure the batter is completely mixed.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center reads 210 degrees and comes out with no crumbs attached, 70 to 75 minutes. Remove the banana bread from the oven and let cool completely in the pan.
Unmold the banana bread, and if you have the patience, wrap completely in plastic wrap and let stand at least 8 hours or overnight before serving to improve the texture and flavor. If glazing the bread, pour the warm ganache slowly over the cooled loaf. Sprinkle with banana chips and let stand until the ganache is firm before serving.
Burnt Honey Ganache
Pour ¼ cup honey into a small saucepan and place over high heat. Cook, swirling the honey on the bottom of the pan occasionally, until the aroma becomes more pronounced, the honey becomes almost completely small bubbles and the color is deeply caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the cream; be careful — it will bubble and steam. Slowly stir the cream until the honey dissolves, then stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon honey and the salt until dissolved. Return the pan to medium heat and cook until it just begins to bubble at the edges.
Meanwhile, place the white chocolate in a small bowl. Pour the hot honey cream over the chocolate, then tap the edge of the bowl so that the chocolate settles under the surface of the cream; let stand for 1 minute.
Using a small whisk and staying in the center of the mixture, slowly stir until the ganache begins to emulsify, slowly spiraling the whisk toward the edge of the bowl as it comes together. Add the butter and stir until melted and the ganache is smooth. Use right away, or pour the ganache into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Gently reheat the ganache in a hot water bath until pourable before using again.
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