So…we had some overripe bananas. I’d just made a sort of traditional banana bread last week, with pears and chocolate chips. It was delicious! I don’t have a picture, but I’ll give you the recipe anyway. I wanted to try something different this time. So I mixed semolina flour into the batter, which gave it a lovely texture – large crumbed and dense, but light and delicate at the same time. And I flavored it with cardamom and ginger. And I added a half cup of coconut milk, which gave it a lovely creaminess and flavor. There’s no actual coconut in the cake, so it’s quite a mysterious and subtle flavor.
I also think it would be fun to live in Greece and go to lunch with friends in Paris. And that’s the origin of this recipe. My friend Sandy, (who lives in Greece and goes to lunch with friends in Paris) sent me this “non-recipe” for a dessert she had. She described it thus…
…dessert one of those fabulous french tarts (er tartes) – tart dough, then a pate of crushed or somehow pated pastichios – may have had another ingredient in pate, i don’t know. maybe a bit of a liquer or rose water or something. (it was from a pastry shop so i couldn’t ask). and on top apricots. in a sense it was like a tarte with pistachio pate instead of custard under the fruit, but the apricot was not raw – it was baked.
Well! With my obsession with frangipane, and making frangipane out of hazelnuts or other non-almond nuts(which makes it no longer frangipane!) OF COURSE I had to try this!! I made a simple paté sucrée crust, with a hint of cardamom. I made a pistachio frangipane (an imaginary beast!), and then I just sliced very ripe apricots, and sprinkled them with sugar because they’re quite tart! I liked the resulting tart very much indeed, but I have to admit that my boys wouldn’t try it because they don’t like apricots. And the apricots were tart. It was a tart tart. This appealed to me very much! I think it would be nice with some lightly whipped, lightly sweetened whipped cream. The tart won’t last for days in pristine form, because the fruit softens the crust. So eat up!!
Here’s Howlin Wolf, Goin Down Slow.
Ahem. Sorry for the creeping tangential nature of this post. Anyway – I can sometimes hear snippets of the stories David reads to Isaac, and yesterday one of them mentioned carrot cake. Carrot cake!?! Said Isaac. What on earth is that? You know, said David, it’s like pumpkin bread – it’s sweet and sweet-spicy. You could see the little wheels turning in Isaac’s head as he processed this information. And, of course, you could hear the little wheels creaking rustily in my much older head as I planned to make a carrot cake. Why not, thought I, why not purée the carrots, instead of grating them? Just for a change. And then my mind wandered back to an Indian dessert I had recently read about (I like to read the dessert sections of my Indian cookbooks while I eat my breakfast, don’t you?) It was a sort of carrot pudding, with pistachios and cardamom. Sounded good! But I didn’t want to just stir the pistachios in. I thought I’d make them into a crumbly topping with lots of butter and sugar, to make this even less of a healthy cake. It turned out very good! The cake is velvety, and the pistachios are a perfect crunchy little accent. Isaac came running into the kitchen, with a beaming smile, saying “you made carrot cake!” and boys both give it their seal of approval (crumbs all over the living room).
Here’s the B 52s with Cake
This cake has ground oats inside, to give a nice oaty flavor and texture, and rolled oats on top for crispy crunchiness. It has cardamom, which is a mysterious but lovely flavor, and very nice with pears. It’s a nice cake to have with coffee in the morning, but it’s sweet and special enough to have with a glass of wine after dinner. Maybe with some ice cream or lightly whipped cream. It’s very quick to put together.
Here’s Big Youth with Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. Time is running and passing, and you better get it right this time, but wait…there is a next time! If you miss the moment of ripeness – bake a cake!!
I made these sweet potato buns with the last of the veg from our CSA. They’re a lovely rosy color, have a crisp crust and a fine crumb. I added a little cardamom and paprika, so they have a subtle sweet/smoky flavor that seems to go with their color. Yesterday was a day of freezing dampness, and it was nice to have a fresh-baked bun at the end of it.
Good with black bean burgers!
Here’s Mikey Dread’s Hot Cross Bun to listen to as you wait for the dough to rise.