Baked Bananas and Cranberries (adapted from Old-Time Meatless Recipes, 1955)

Baked Bananas and Cranberries is an easy-to-make fruit-forward side dish that exemplifies the spirit of Old-Time Meatless Recipes.  The original cookbook includes full mean plans:  Baked Bananas and Cranberries is meant to accompany a luncheon menu of cheese rarebit (i.e. Welsh rabbit) and coffee.  As will be obvious from the ingredient list, it is not the tastiest nor most sophisticated recipe in the book.  There are several fish recipes and salad dressings that are truly excellent, and that I intend to write about in the future.  But Bananas and Cranberries illustrates both a 1950s sensibility and the lack of boundaries in the recipe selection.   It’s the perfect complement to the minimalist and oddly composed illustrations.

Baked Bananas and CranberriesThis recipe is as simple as it sounds:  bananas are peeled and sliced lengthwise, covered with canned cranberry sauce and thrown in the oven.   It’s an unusual and uncommon pairing, but it’s not half bad.  There’s a smidge of butter in the baking dish that brings out the richness of baked bananas, and I threw in a couple of dashes of orange bitters to brighten up the cranberry sauce.  I’ll admit that it wouldn’t be my first choice to serve with cheese on toast, but would work well as a brunch dish or even a waffle topping.  I’ve even served it as a light dessert, but resist the urge to cover it in whipped cream – it’s just fine as it is.

Baked Bananas and Cranberries (adapted from Old-Time Meatless Recipes, 1955)

  • Preparation: 5 min
  • Cooking: 30 min
  • Ready in: 35 min
  • For: 4 servings
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  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Peel bananas and slice in half lengthwise. Place in a buttered baking dish in a single layer like nested spoons.
  3. Slice the cranberry sauce and place over top of the bananas. Cover as much of the banana as possible to prevent it turning black while baking. Add a couple of dashes of orange bitters and, if desire, another pat of butter or two on top.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cranberry sauce has 'melted' and bananas are soft and fragrant.

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