they are tall herbs, really, not trees ….

Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red.

Almost all modern edible parthenocarpic bananas come from the two wild species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The scientific names of bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana or hybrids Musa acuminata × balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution. The old scientific names Musa sapientum and Musa paradisiaca are no longer used.

In popular culture and commerce, “banana” usually refers to soft, sweet “dessert” bananas. By contrast, Musa cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called plantains or “cooking bananas”. The distinction is purely arbitrary and the terms ‘plantain’ and ‘banana’ are sometimes interchangeable depending on their usage.

Bananas are interesting fruits. Most underrated, and yet create so much conflict in the global trade world. It seems almost ironic when you have a banana tree in your back yard.

I like my bananas, without controversy, and hot,  in the shape of a Gugelhupf …. so, I started baking … I use ceramic Gugelhupf pans, they give a slower, more even cooking than the tin or stainless steel ones.

Banana Trees


 They are tall herbs, really, not trees,
though they can shoot up thirty feet
if all goes well for them. Cut in cross
section they look like gigantic onions,
multi-layered mysteries with ghostly hearts.
Their leaves are made to be broken by the wind,
if wind there be, but the crosswise tears
they are built to expect do them no harm.
Around the steady staff of the leafstalk
the broken fronds flap in the breeze
like brief forgotten flags, but these
tattered, green, photosynthetic machines
know how to grasp with their broken fingers
the gold coins of light that give open air
its shine. In hot, dry weather the fingers
fold down to touch on each side–
a kind of prayer to clasp what damp they can
against the too much light.

And here you may re-create your own little sweet wonder of the banana:


Ingredients for two small Gugelhupf or one square roasting tray
120      g          lightly salted butter (softened at room temperature)
200      g          light brown sugar
100      g          Maple syrup
1          pc        zest one small lemon
1          tsp       vanilla extract
3                      eggs
430      g          ripe (!) bananas
360      g          all purpose flour
8          g          baking powder
150      g          walnuts
200      g          fresh, full at yoghurt (at room temperature)
                        butter and flour for the baking mold
      • Pre-heat the oven to 180 C
      • place the butter, sugar and Maple syrup in the bowl of your mixer
      • run at medium speed until mixed
      • add the lemon zest and vanilla extract
      • mix until all ingredients are well combined and creamy
      • add one egg at the time, and mix until batter becomes smooth before adding the next egg
      • in the meantime sift the flour, baking powder
      • chip the walnuts and add to the flour
      • cut the bananas into medium size pieces and add slowly to the butter/egg mixture until well combined
      • remove the bowl from your mixer
      • add the flour and incorporate with a wooden spoon
      • last, add the yoghurt
      • melt some butter and brush your baking mold and dust with flour
      • place on the lower middle rack in the oven
      • bake for about 45 min (check with a toothpick to make sure it is cooked all the way through)

Published by ChefThomas

… born in Upper Austria’s Wels, I have done most of my growing up in Vienna. Only by sheer accident did I fall into the trade of Pâtissier. After a short apprentice ship at a Viennese Bakery, I was accepted for apprentice ship, at "K.u.K. Hofzuckerbäcker Demel’s Söhne", one of the oldest patisseries in Vienna. Learning the trade from the very basics, as the Emperor two Centuries ago would have expected from a "Pâtissier to the Royal and Imperial Court" (That is what the older Pâtissier still calls himself). I soon took to travel the world. From patisseries in America, to hotels in the Far East, Africa and the Middle East, did I accumulate a wealth of experience, ranging from bakeries to first class restaurants in major hotels to banquets for Presidents, Sultans and Heads of States and other famous, infamous and not so famous people. But the true excitement for me is in the "Viennese Café". Not just as an occupation, but as an institution in it own right.

9 thoughts on “they are tall herbs, really, not trees ….

  1. Greetings and you are in! Thank you for your first submissions to Hope you have many more of your back stock still to be added and even more; hope you make us a habit.

    Also, we have set up your own personal recipe page showing just the recipes that you submit. An easy way to keep track of the ones you want to re-cook, or a great way to direct people to what you have been cooking. Keep in mind that everything links back to your blog… here’s your personal recipe page ….


  2. I have read recently how bananas (or at least the varieties of bananas that can be exported) are probably going to go extinct. Really too bad, but I’ve read that there’s an amazing variety in the habitats they are native to. A fresh banana that’s ripened on the “tree” or whatever you call it is supposed to taste amazing.


    1. It is quite sad actually, that most people in “our” parts of the world do not have the chance to taste a banana ripened on the tree. It is true a ripe banana is not something pretty to look at, but the taste …. it is something to behold.


      1. Hopefully I’ll be able to put my travelling shoes on again one day. PS I love the kugelhopf mold. Since I love all viennese sweets (or what I think of as sweets from the austro-hungarian empire) I of course made sure to get one!


  3. This recipe makes you “top banana” in my book. Bananas practically have their own food group they are such an amazing fruit. I was fortunate enough to eat bananas, finger size and exquisitely sweet, right off the tree in Mexico. Bananas in the supermarkets just don’t have that same wonderful banana flavour. I’m pulling out my guglehopf mold today. Virginia


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