"Alfarroba" - a Chocolate for Donkeys

Sunday, August 6, 2017

As you might have already noticed my choice of ingredients is often influenced by Iberian peninsula cooking traditions. I love to discover new things and look for inspiration both in Spain and Portugal... Two summers ago we spent our holidays in a lovely and tiny village in Algarve, called Fuseta. This place is highly appreciated by the locals for its unpretentious accommodation, uncrowded beaches, and delicious, fresh food. 

 

It was there, that I discovered "alfarroba" (carob flour), which makes the most delicious, healthy and truly guilt-free chocolate flavored desserts. "Alfarroba" flour or powder comes from funky looking pods of a carob tree, first imported to Portugal by the Arabs.

Twisted and dried to stone, these pods are the most beloved treat of any donkey... and believe me, once you try it, you'll wish you were born a donkey. For all the chocolate lovers out there, let me introduce you to the healthy, chocolate flavoured, and naturally sweet flour! From now on you will forget about adding industrial sugar and chocolate to your favourite cakes. 

 

Apricot Galette with Carob Flour. The Recipe

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Serves: 6-7 people

Ingredients:

500g (17.5oz) apricots

115g (4oz) butter or vegan butter

130g (4.5oz) all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour

45g (1.5oz) carob flour

4-5 tbsp ice cold water

vanilla sugar (if you want)

pinch of salt

 

Where do I get carob flour? - depends on which part of the world you come from :)... but it can be in bio and organic food departments, para-pharmacies or simply Amazon. In Portugal, you will find it in any big grocery store (you can also use just all purpose flour if you do not find carob one... but carob flour makes all the difference to this recipe).

 

Making the galette:

1. Starting with the pastry! Excited? It is very easy! Mix together carob and all purpose flour, finely chopped butter and salt. Your butter should be very cold and right from the fridge. I use a food processor to mix the ingredient. It will take literally 2-3 seconds because you want the texture to be flaky and not too fine. Instead of a food processor, you can also use a fork to knead butter. 

 

2. To make the ingredients hold, we need to add some ice cold water (water from the fridge with ice cubes in it). You just want the texture to be more sticky, but not solid. Add 3 tablespoons and then see if you need more... If you squeeze a bit of the dough, it will hold, like this:

3. Put the mixture onto the plastic folia and use your hands to form the dough. When done, wrap it with the same plastic and put into the fridge to chill for 10-15 minutes, while you are cutting the apricots.

4. Put the chilled dough onto the baking paper and slowly roll out. Add more flour on the top (if needed) and then brush off the remaining:

5. Move the dough onto the baking tray and decorate with apricots. I move from the centre towards the edges, creating a spiral. The idea is to put the pieces as close to each other as possible. This way they will stay solid and release less juice when being cooked. If you feel, that the apricots are not sweet enough for you, you can spread one pack of vanilla sugar on top. 

 

6.  Slowly fold the edges by pulling up the baking paper and pressing a bit, so that your galette does not unfold while baking:

7. You can also add a bit of vanilla sugar on top of the bent edges:

Put your beautiful galette into the preheated oven 175C/347F, fan and bake for 20 minutes until crispy. Let the galette cool a bit and serve!

 

Simple and delicious! The apricots are so soft, but still slightly raw and fresh. Carob flour did the job (as always)... injected natural sweetness and light chocolate flavour into the dough! Love it! If you think that eating a chocolate dessert requires sacrifice (more exercises, less sugar on the next day, etc.) - you are wrong. Now that you know what carob flour is, you can use it every single time and eat your favourite cakes without feeling guilty about it. 

 

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