What You Do When the Flour’s Gone

Last night I called my pals Rosie and Noam, and invited them over to watch Green for Danger, a British thriller. As they were heading to my house, I realized I had nothing to give them, except for some dill tofu uncheese. A short glance at the kitchen reminded me that I had four ripe bananas which were still sweet and nice, but would go bad in a day or two; something had to be done. I ran to the grocery store.

“Where’s the flour?” I asked myself. The flour was gone. My grocer had to get ready for Passover a bit early, this time; many of the customers are folks from my neighborhood, the Yemenite Quarter, who live close by and keep Kosher quite meticulously. But I wouldn’t let that thwart my efforts! I grabbed a bag of potato flour, a bag of matzo flour, and headed upstairs.

There, I took a look at Phyllis Glazer‘s wonderful classic “A Vegetarian Feast”, and changed her banana bread recipe a bit to resemble the following:

Passover-Safe Banana Cakes

1/2 cup canola oil
2 small eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar or honey
4 ripe, sweet bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 bag baking soda
1 cup matzo flour
1 cup potato flour
1/2 cup hot water
dried cranberries (mine are sweetened with apple juice)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Heat up the oven to about 160 degrees celsius (yes, it’s pretty low). Use a large mixing bowl and mix the canola oil, the eggs and the sugar/honey. Make sure the eggs are well beaten and the whole thing is pretty smooth before mashing up the bananas and adding them in. I mashed them in my food processor, but if they’re ripe enough, should be no problem to do so with a fork. Mix up the bananas and the oil/egg/sugar mix. Add vanilla extract and mix.

Add the salt and baking soda and mix.

Then, gradually start adding the flour. After every 1/3 cup of flour or so, add some of the water to assist the mixing. Mix really well, so all the flour blends into the mix. Then, add the dried cranberries and the cinnamon and give it a little mix again.

Pour mixture into an English cake mold, or (as I like to do) into muffin cups. Lately I’ve become addicted to baking in silicone pans, which are very easy to use and require no oiling. If using a silicone pan, be sure to place it on a solid tray before pouring the mixture, so you can put it in the oven, and retrieve it, with no difficulty. Place in oven and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a fork comes out dry when you check if it’s ready.

The result? fluffy and fruity little cakes. Being on a no-wheat regime, I had to count on others to report back from the field. The cakes were a big success. Are we onto a breakthrough in Passover baking?