Spicy machica cocoa baked pudding

baked pudding

The other week I bought some machica at the Super Tropical Food Market. I’ve been thinking about what to do with it ever since. What is machica, you ask? Well, it’s toasted barley flour. The machica that I bought is from Ecuador, and according to my extensive research, when it’s at home it’s used to thicken hot drinks. I saw several recipes for machica hot chocolate, that sounded very nice. And then I was browsing through Mrs. Beeton’s Everyday Cooking. (There’s such strange stuff in there! So matter-of-factly presented! It’s irresistible.) She has a recipe for baked puddings made with very finely ground grains! Including barley! The idea of combining Ecuadorian machica and a recipe of Mrs Beetons seemed like the best kind of fusion cooking, so I gave it a go. I decided to flavor it with dark cocoa powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I didn’t want to overwhelm the subtle flavor of toasted barley, but I thought it might be pleasant to fashion it after spiced cocoa thickened with Machica. The resulting pudding was very tasty. The texture is comforting, and it has a nice balance of tastes, with the toasted barley-flavor subtle but distinct.

Here’s Miles Davis with Tasty Pudding.

1 cup machica
2 cups milk
1 t. vanilla
1 T dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs – separated
pinch cream of tartar, if you have it
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. baking powder
pinch salt

Measure the machica into a bowl. Add the spices, bp, and salt. Pour in about 1/2 cup milk, and stir till you have a nice smooth paste.

Meanwhile, put the rest of the milk to boil. Once it’s boiled, stir it into the machica. This was a little hard for me, because the machica got very lumpy. So I’d do it in a steady stream, stirring very rapidly with a spoon or whisk the whole time. (It was quite comical, I tried mixing it with the whisk before enough milk had been added, and the whole lump of machica found its way INSIDE the whisk, and wouldn’t come back out) What fun! No swearing at all from me!

So…try to keep it nice and smooth. If this doesn’t work for you, do as I did, and smoosh it through a strainer. Once the milk is all mixed in, return it to the saucepan, and cook for about 5 minutes, till it’s nice and smooth and cooked through. Put it in a bowl to cool.

Meanwhile…whip the egg whites till they’re stiff, adding a pinch of cream of tartar.

Once the machica-milk mixture is cool enough that you won’t cook the eggs, stir in the sugar, vanilla and egg yolks. Then carefully fold in the egg whites. Transfer the mixture to a well-puttered cake pan, and cook at (preheated) 350 oven for about 1/2 hour, till the top’s a bit brown and it’s not too wobbly.

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One thought on “Spicy machica cocoa baked pudding

  1. I have not been aware of another culture using roasted barley flour. We, Tibetans, call it Tsampa. We never use it for cooking. We would make a dough of Tsampa with butter and hot tea .. some will add sugar or dry crumbled cheese to it. You can have the dough as consistent as a bread dough — fairly dry or if you wish you can add enough tea to have the mixture as a porridge. Since the grain is already cooked in the roasting process, you don’t need to cook it again. It is a ‘fast food’ and a very staple food in Tibet. Easy to transport, easy to prepare, and full of nutrients.
    You can prepare your own Tsampa. Just wash some hulled barley. While wet, ‘roast it’ in an open pan (preferably an old skillet as you do not want it all burned up), keep stirring it so as not to burn it… once roasted/toasted, it will crack slightly. Let it cool. Grind it. We prepare it at home all the time.

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