Sunday, 26 January 2014

A little bit less & a whole lot More!

Piccola Torta di Farina di Carrube, Banana Matura, Fichi Secche & Mandorla
Carob Flour, Ripe Banana, Fig & Almond, Unsweetened Breakfast Cake

Sunday morning, Breakfast time and that age-old dilemma of what to do with the over-ripe banana. There is always one of them come Sunday- isn't there? Maybe sometimes more- but always at least one of the darned things!

And yes, by now you know that my Sunday morning breakfast concoction is going to be as quick and easy and no-fuss as... well... almost every other meal I ever make! But I promise you that with this one, you can cut out the work, cut out the fat- even cut out the sugar and still have a real treat that is delicious and healthy to boot!

Now that I finally have managed to get the Carob flour that was proving to be so difficult to find here in Germany, I decided this morning to try to incorporate it into a little breakfast dish, rather than simply add it to my drinks. 

I had carob flour recommended to me by my doctor in Sicily as I have been having some tummy troubles of late and he suggested I try it as a natural remedy. If I tell you that the refined version of carob flour- the type that is bleached and ridded of its flavor and aroma, can be used as a binding agent in the same way that you can use cornstarch to thicken soups... I am sure you will know what I am talking about ;-)

But as we are talking about all things yummy here right now, you will be pleased to know that in its unrefined form, it has this lovely, rich, golden brown color and the aroma of a yummy caramel. It is also naturally sweet and is used by many people (mostly in the USA and Australia) as a substitute for cocoa. 

Ok- that was just a little description in case you are not familiar with it- so, sorry if you already are- let's get started! To make this little cake, all I needed was: 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of regular flour, 1 tablespoon of carob flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, half a teaspoon of baking soda, a pinch of salt, 1 ripe banana cut in slices, 2-3 dried figs cut into slices, 2 tablespoons of plain low-fat yogurt and a handful of slivered almonds.

I made the cake batter by stirring the the dry ingredients together and then adding  the 2 tablespoons of yogurt. As soon as the flour and yogurt had become the lovely, dark, cocoa-like paste that it does (and immediately started to smell yummy!), I added the egg and gave it a quick whisk... no need to fuss- you can even simply use a fork for this small amount! 

I then added the banana, the figs and three quarters of the almonds and stirred them in... until I had a rich and creamy, fudge or toffee-like blend, as you can see in the photo above. And yes- I did like the spoon!

I poured the mixture into a lightly buttered dish, sprinkled the last few slices of almond on top and popped it into a pre-heated oven, on the middle shelf, at around 280°F for 20-25 minutes. After 20 minutes or so, I took a peek, and saw little bursts of liquid coming up around the outside edges here and there and a few coming through cracks in the surface... this is yummy juice escaping from the banana as it cooks and a good sign that the cake is ready by the time that much heat has built up in the middle of the cake... That is what I am guessing- haha! I wasn't about to start sticking a toothpick or a piece of spaghetti or anything like that into a little fake cake! No, not I- you all know I can't bake anyway! 

Well, as luck has it, as you can see... this little beauty did actually turn out JUST RIGHT- even if I do say so myself... and I do! The great thing about it, if you are like me and you like sweet things that are not TOO sweet- this is just wonderfully balanced and all the the sweetness is natural. All of the flavors are natural. No added cinnamon, vanilla... nothing- jut the great, pure, rich taste of the carob, the fig, the banana and the almonds... and who could possibly want for more?

The consistency was firm but chewy- like a soft brownie I would say, but not icky and oozy... just look at that last photo. You are going to know whether you like it or not from that shot. That is all I am saying. But I am guessing you will ;-) And I know I am going to make this again! 

New favorite, yummy, healthy, good for me, done-deal- The End. 

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