Yes, another carob post. It is only my second, but the first one with an extra ingredient. And a few decent photos of the actual carob pods!
If you are interested in knowing about carob and a bit of it’s history, please visit my first carob post – carob brownies. Today you will see a twist on a portuguese classic cake, called Pão-de-Ló, which is basically eggs, flour and sugar, like a genoise. The main difference between the classic genoise and the utterly appreciated pão-de-ló português, is that we have many, many diferente versions. Some with chocolate, others with twice as much egg yolks, some extremely gooey, others dry as a bone. But I have never seen one made with carob flour, so that was my new unfascinating invention because, well, it’s just a carob version of the cake, using a so called regular recipe, but with an alternative flavor, compared to the basic plain or chocolate. But, as usual, a deliciously simple recipe.
Back in the days, people used to break apart a pod and chew on it, as it has a very sweet flavor (I have done this myself and it is strangely good).
So there is this place in Portugal, north of Lisbon, called Rio Maior – this is suppose to be the capital of Pão-de-Ló. But further north, you will also find Ovar, which also has it’s own special version! Basically, the really appreciated version, is with a huge amount of egg yolks, and a short baking time, so the middle will sink and have an extra gooey centre which resembles the typical doce de ovos (egg yolk and sugar syrup reduced into a sticky syrupy sort of custard, used in most popular sweets). Oh, and every region of Portugal takes pride in their own different recipe. This is a very common treat through the holiday season, and the basic staple for making many birthday cakes (without the undercooked center) because it is simple to make, bake and decorate (usually with a huge amount of egg yolk cream – doce de ovos, almonds, fios de ovos, gila or even a few chocolate extras).
- 200 grams all-purpose self rising flour
- 30 grams carob flour
- 250 grams sugar
- 6 Eggs
- Zest of half a lemon
Procedure: Pre-heat you oven to 160ºC. Start by sifting the flours, i like to do this twice, but the second time while I incorporate it in with the eggs. Heat some water in a pan on the stove, about 2 cm deep is enough, this technique is to help melt the sugar and create successful air incorporation. Beat the eggs with the sugar and lemon zest in a glass bowl above the pan with heated water. Make sure you use a big bowl, it will triple in size, for at least 7 minutes. When it foams, expands and has no residue of unmelted sugar, it is time to add the flours. Again, use a sifter, and add a bit at a time, while folding gently. This is a patience required process, do it slowly, and try not to pass through the middle of the bowl with the spatula, as it will burst even more bubbles than necessary. Think of it like making an angel cake, trying to fold in whites. In the end, I always check if no pockets of flour have remained in the batter, and gently blend it with the rest. Bake in a greased and floured cake pan, for at least 25 minutes, or until desired consistency (undercooked is my fave).
Medronho, known in english as arbutus berry, is a native fruit for the Algarve, mainly to make Licor de Medronho, a very strong distilled liquor. It doesn’t taste very nice (I have to be honest), but Melosa, the version with honey, custom from Monchique, is to die for. This is the jam version of the fruit, from Quinta dos Avós, which I used as a topping for the cake.
Part of my carob tree. By end of September many pods have already fallen off.
The prickles on the skin are very amusing to eat, even in jam format.