Friday, January 10, 2014

Jat Juk

Jat Juk

With every graphite-colored day that drags by I find myself grasping for new winter survival strategies.  Currently, I'm leaning on homemade pudding and awkward song parodies. 

This recipe for Korean jat juk, an intensely comforting pinenut-rice-date porridge, comes from Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray's excellent "The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of the East."  I added only this optional theme song, sung to the tune of Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City":

"Hot pudding!  Winter in the city!  Back of my spoon feelin' really cinnamon-y!"

Jat Juk

1/2c lightly toasted pine nuts 
1 1/2c water 
pinch of salt 
1/4 c brown rice flour 
3T agave or other sweetener 
4 finely chopped dates 
pinch of cinnamon 

Blend the nuts and 1c of water in a blender or processor until smooth; pour into saucepan and place over medium heat.  

Meanwhile, use a frying pan to dry fry the rice flour over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently; slowly add 1/2c of water, whisking for a smooth paste.  

Add the pine nut mix and salt to the rice mix; cook until it thickens, about 5 minutes, whisking well, then stir in the sweetener. 

Pour into serving bowls and top with chopped dates and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

"Hot pudding!"

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Egyptian Date Cake

Egyptian Date Cake

Spellchecker may object to my saying so, but many traditional Egyptian sweets are what you might call desert desserts, based in large part on sweet crops like apricots, grapes, and dates that thrive along the damp margins of the Nile in what is otherwise a hot and arid environment.

In their A World of Recipes: Egypt, Sue Townsend and Caroline Young give this recipe for a spongy, spicy Egyptian date cake:

11oz/325g fresh dates, pits removed

5oz/150g blanched almonds
4oz/100g soft brown sugar
1 orange, washed
4 eggs¼ c superfine granulated sugar

½ t ground cardamom
1 ½ oz/40g butter
3T cornstarch
1t confectioners sugar

Butter a a 9” springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a food processor, blend the almonds and brown sugar until coarsely chopped; add the dates and blend until finely chopped, but not ground.

Grate the orange rind, then squeeze one half of the orange.

Separate the eggs and whisk the whites into soft peaks.

Beat the yolks with the granulated sugar and cardamom; add the date mixure, orange rind, 1T of the orange juice, and the cornstarch.

Gently fold the egg whites into the date mixture.

Spoon the batter into the pan and bake 35-45 minute at 400/200 degrees until the cake springs back with pressed.

Dust with confectioners sugar before serving.