Banana Pancakes with Coconut Caramel
So here we are on the 1st Day of April 2013. Perhaps as shocking to you, as it is to me.
During this month I have used nearly a kilo ( 2 lb) of this delightful ingredient. It’s made from pure crushed and pureed Piemonte hazelnuts, with no sugar or any other flavours or preservatives. “Piemonte” means foot of the mountain, describing perfectly, the North West of Italy where these nuts grow. This region is rich in goodies and the nuts grow here along with Barolo and Barbera grapes and the truffles, that like to grow tangled in the roots of these magnificent Hazelnut trees. I have used it in semi freddos, whipped through mascapone, mixed into chocolate sauce, in creme patisserie for the middle of cakes, in a hazelnut buttercream, and through brownies. It could go into bread or cake batters, in fillings for stuffing’s or raviolis. I am sure that I could keep dreaming up ways to use it.
I love Orecchietti, meaning ” small ear” in Italian. I love the way that it gathers sauce in it’s tiny bowl when it’s cooked. This is a pasta typical of Puglia, in the south. They are often made at home by using a thumb to make the shape of the little bowl. These are made of Farro a variety of wheat, but one that is a lot easier to digest than other varieties. It most certainly is not gluten free, but it is digestively friendly for wheat eaters. In Italy Farro and Spelt (cousins) are interchangeable and most often labelled Farro. This heirloom variety has been grown in Italy since………. forever, however it is not commonly grown on a commercial scale as it is so slow growing. It’s major drawcard is that it will grow almost anywhere in any conditions and is extremely pest resistant. It can be grown organically without all the pesticides and fungal inhibiting sprays that commercial wheat crops require. So, as you may have guessed, this is organic Orecchiette. One of my favourite ways to eat it is with peas and bac0n. It goes wqith just about any sauce from tomato to Carbonara, and ragu, mushrooms, pesto or anything.
Coconut Sugar because not everything is about Italy!. I love this stuff. This is different to palm sugar. It is crumbly and resembles brown sugar. The intense caramel flavour means it makes a perfect caramel sauce with out the slightest effort. Palm sugar and coconut sugar are not the same but are often all called by the same name. Gula Jawa (coconut sugar) is made from the blossoms of the coconut tree, where palm sugar is made from the sap. This one comes from Indonesia, but sugar is made from palms where ever they grow, so there are a lot of variations on the same sugar theme. It can be used as a substitute for refined white sugar or brown but it is very strong in colour and caramel flavour. The new buzz about coconut sugar is that it’s glycemic index rating is lower than other sugars at around 35 where, for example honey is around 55 and cane sugar about 68. Want to know how to make a beautiful caramel sauce? Ok, but you will need some other bits to go with it.
First, I like to use this Kara Coconut cream. You can buy it in the supermarket or Asian store here in Australia. You may notice this one is out of date, don’t judge. This is unsweetened and heavily thickened and originates in Indonesia also. A great ingredient if you are on a Paleo diet.
- 2 eggs ( separated)
- 20 gm caster sugar (1 tablespoon)
- 125 gm flour, self raising
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 5 medium bananas
- 40 ml coconut milk (2 tablespoons)
- 30 gm melted butter
- 250 gm coconut sugar, dark
- 200 ml Kara coconut cream (or thick unsweetened coconut cream, or thickened heavy dairy cream)( ¾ cup)
- 20-40 ml lemon juice (1-2 Tablespoon)
- 80 ml water (4 tablespoons)
- Roughly chop the sugar and put it into a pot with the water simmering gently and breaking up the sugar with a fork. There maybe some lumps left but add the coconut cream ( or cream) and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sauce bubbles and thickens. it will thicken naturally as it boils. Add ½ the lemon juice and taste. Add the rest if you to taste. set aside
- Mash the bananas in a bowl ( or puree in a processor). Mix in the sugar, egg yolks, and coconut milk and butter. Combine well then stir in the (well mixed) flour and baking powder, till just combined.
- Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl till soft peak and fold gently through the pancake mixture.
- Heat a fry pan and cook pancakes in batches, any size you like.
- Chill a container of Kara coconut cream. It thickens up when chilled and can be used like whipped cream.
Good bye Sydney summer 2013. If you would like to see what others have been up to in their kitchen this month visit www.figjamandlimecordial.com and be inspired