Sunday, 25 August 2013

Frying Pans and Umbrellas

Frittella Dolce in Padella, di Polenta, Fichi e Mandorle
Spiced Polenta, Fig & Almond Cake in the Pan

Sunday Morning in Frankfurt and I awoke to the sound of rain pounding against my window. Great. Today the stores were supposed to be opening, which is a rare occurrence in Germany on a Sunday, it was the big riverbank museum festival here in town... and of course the torrential rain obviously dashed all of those plans. There must have been a lot of very miserable and upset people in the city today!

But no- not I! I decided to defy the weather and to make something yummy and delicious for breakfast, using a couple of wonderful plump and juicy figs that had ripened under the Sicilian sun, some rich, golden polenta and some aromatic spices, to keep the blues at bay... and you can bet that I was smiling as I ate it!

This was another of my amazing "nothing goes in- plenty comes out" recipes... where out of just 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of regular flour, 2 tablespoons of polenta, 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt and a couple of figs, this yummy little cake appeared from nowhere! A good pinch of spice and a handful of almonds added the rich flavor and the yummy crunch that made this simple little pancake so special!

So, let's take it from the top- to make this I cracked an egg into my bowl and added 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons of flour, 2 tablespoons of polenta, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, a pinch of salt and teaspoon of brown sugar. I whisked these all together. thoroughly for 2-3 minutes and then set the batter to one side to allow it to rest and expand a little.

In the meantime, I turned on the oven, sliced up my 2 figs and got busy grinding up some spice! Into my mortar went 1 clove, the seeds of 1 cardamom pod, a small piece of cinnamon, a small piece of star anise and a pinch of coriander seeds. I then ground these up using the mortar, into a very fine powder, which I added to the batter and whisked in again to get it well distributed.

The pan went on the stove top, lightly buttered, as one would butter a baking tin- meaning very little butter at all- and in this case, I used clarified butter, as I didn't want regular butter to get too brown or burn. Once the pan was hot, in went the batter- and once the batter began to set- on went the fig slices! As soon as the pancake seemed firm around the outside edges, I transferred it from the stove top to the top of the oven, where it baked at 300°F for 5-6 minutes. After that time, I took it out of the oven, gave it a drizzle of honey, a sprinkle of almond splinters and then popped it back inside, under the broiler for another 2-3 minutes until everything was golden brown and delicious... oh- and it WAS delicious!

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