Project: CROSTATA

Sunday I stumbled upon an ancient vase of raspberry jam. Oh dear, it was long forgotten in my omnivorous cabinet. 

I instantly thought about crostata, a traditional Italian sweet bake. The dough is something between a shortcut pastry and a pound cake. Normally we top it with jam or apples.

Yet I wanted to try a sort of vegan version, without eggs, butter and refined sugar (I guess that the fact that I ran out of all these ingredients had nothing to do with it).

My significant other watched speechless and forlorn as I gathered the ingredients. After tasting the cake, he said his standard remark “I know this will surprise you, but I was kind of skeptical about this thing here, and I don’t know how it is possible, but it tastes delicious”. He even commanded me to save the recipe.

The cake is very nutritious and dense. I still wonder how we managed to eat the whole thing in twelve hours. Maybe that’s why my crisp white shirt felt kind of tight yesterday.

What you need if you dare to try it:

A brownie tin coated with parchment paper

Dough:
1/3 cup steel cut grains (I mixed oats and spelt flakes)
1 and a 1/2 cups milk (I used almond)
1 tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tbsp water
3 tbsp seeds (well, I used Amaranth, which I have no use for, so now I am dispensing it in anything I cook in very small helpings, just to get rid of the whole lot. I have three darn bags to go).
3 tbsp honey (other ingredient I have been unconsciously stocking: I even own a giant vase that will probably last forever, unless Winnie the Pooh comes for a visit, that would be nice).
3 tbsp oil (I used sunflower)
3 tbsp peanut butter
½ cup coconut flakes
All purpose flour: how much, I have no idea. Probably it was something like 1 scant cup. I have been adding it until the dough was kind of stiff but still soft.
1 tsp baking powder

Topping:
1 cup jam (yes, I used antique raspberry jam)
1/2 cup steel cut oats
½ cup muesli
1/3 cup almonds (dressed in their skins)
1/3 cup coconut flakes
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp oil (sunflower)

How to do it:

For the dough: mix the grains and milk and set aside.

Mix honey, oil, and amaranth. Add the peanut butter and mix until smooth. 

Then pour in the flax seeds mixture and the coconut. 

Add the grains mixture. You will have quite a liquid dough. Add flour so as to get a relatively stiff dough, but still slightly soft. At the very last add the baking powder.

Pour in the tin.

Spread the jam on top.

Prepare the granola topping: mix honey and oil. Mix all the other ingredients and coat them with the liquid part. Sprinkle on top of the cake.

Bake for about 1 hour at 180 Celsius degrees. If the granola starts browning, cover with foil.


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