Spa Chocolate Banana Bread with Pickled Strawberries

Adapted lightly from Rancho La Puerta Spa
Makes 1 loaf

2 cups spring water
12 ounces pitted prunes
2 medium ripe organic bananas
2 large free range eggs
1 cup cassava flour
½ cup natural cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks
1 carton organic vanilla yogurt

For the pickled strawberries:
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced thin
1/2 cup water
1/4 sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon organic honey

Preheat the oven to 350° degrees. Lightly spray an 8-cup paper loaf pan, with non-stick spray.

In a saucepan, combine the water and prunes and bring to a simmer. Simmer slowly until the prunes are very soft, about 20 minutes. Drain any excess liquid.

Puree the prunes, bananas, and eggs in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Sift the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda together into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the banana mixture and combine thoroughly. Gently fold in the chocolate chunks, reserving about a tablespoon for the top. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, with only a bit of melted chocolate on it.

Make the pickled strawberries: Place the sliced strawberries in a glass jar or bowl. Heat water, vinegar and honey in a saucepan, simmer until honey is dissolved. Remove from the heat and pour the hot liquid over the strawberries. Cool to room temperature and serve on top of banana bread slices.

Take the loaf out onto a rack to cool for about an hour. Run knife around sides and carefully lift out of the pan. Cut into slices to serve. Serve warm, sliced and topped with pickled strawberries, and nap vanilla yogurt on the plate.

COOK”S NOTES: This bread is dark and dense and not at all sweet. The pickled strawberries and yogurt add flavor complements of fresh and creamy.

Freeze the bread for up to one month.