Monday, January 25, 2016

Sudanese Kisra - Sorghum Crepes

Last year I tried recipes from Oceania, and this year I'm going to be lingering in Africa. This coincides with my reading projects, since I'm trying to finish reading (at least) one book from every country in Africa in 2016. This month I have been in South Sudan and Uganda. Sudanese cuisine is interesting because it shifts when you move into South Sudan, from the Arabic influenced cuisine that is most similar to Egypt to more of an East African cuisine like in Ethiopia and other neighbors. Kisra seems to be most like injera (from Ethiopia) and can simultaneously be a utensil and a bread.  It is not as pliable as injera, although I was not cooking it as thin or wide as is typically found in Sudan. You can read more about how it is traditionally prepared several places on the internet; I could only do what I could in my kitchen.

Luckily I had sorghum flour on hand from one of the gluten-free recipes I make frequently - pumpkin chocolate chip bread, which has a combination of three flours. These crepes (at least in the recipe I used) are not gluten-free, as the recipe maker thought using some all purpose flour helped them stick together better. Traditionally I believe they are made entirely of sorghum flour, but even with this adaptation, I had a hard time not having the crepes come out of the pan in pieces.

Plan ahead for this one - the batter must sit at room temperature at least 12 hours! I used the recipe from Global Table Adventure, and also made the stew she recommended alongside it, without the beef. I wish I had put another type of protein, maybe beans, because it was much thinner without the meat, and could only be eaten with a spoon.

Sudanese Kisra - Sorghum Crepes
(Recipe from Global Table Adventure, but go to that site for more information on traditional preparation; I'm distilling it to basic kitchen steps)

Makes at least 8 (depending how big you make them).

2 cups sorghum flour
1 1/2 cups water, plus 1 cup, or as needed
1 cup all purpose flour
unroasted sesame see oil (I used vegetable because I could only find toasted sesame)

  1. Mix the sorghum flour with 1 1/2 cups water and let sit overnight (at least 12 hours).
  2. The next day stir in the  all purpose flour and last cup of water, to form a thin batter.
  3. Ladle some kisra batter into a greased pan over medium heat. Immediately take a credit card or small scraper and, holding it at a 30 degree angle, spread the batter around smoothly. This can take some practice. 
  4. When the edges begin to curl up like a smile, the kisra is done. This should only take a minute or so.
  5. Stack them on a plate and keep warm with a towel. After they cool, they’re quite a bit more sturdy… and are less likely to break or crack.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (paleo, lower carb, gluten-free)

This is another recipe that is a slight adaptation of one I found at PaleOMG, a blog I recommend! Really this post should be a guest post because my husband made them both times we had them, because I had a knee injury that wouldn't let me stand very easily. And then this morning he made them again just because he's nice. Sorry the picture looks like a cookie but it is merely an aerial view. You can see what a great muffin texture this has despite being all the dietary restrictions that it is. This calls for chocolate chips but would also be great with berries, probably without the espresso powder.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Adapted from PaleOMG

Serves: 12 muffins
  • 3 brown bananas, mashed
  • ⅓ cup sugar substitute*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup peanut butter (almond if you're really paleo)
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips

*We have made this recipe with coconut/palm sugar as well as Truvia brown sugar substitute, and both worked great!

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan (we use silicone muffin cups.)
  2. In a large bowl, mix together bananas, sugar substitute, vanilla extract, eggs, and peanut butter.
  3. Then add coconut flour, instant coffee, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Pour mixture into 12 muffin cups and place in oven to bake for 25 minutes.
  5. Let cool before removing from muffin cups.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Cardamom Crescents

This is one of the recipes I had planned to make for the holidays but I ran out of time! Despite a knee injury I was in that mood where the only thing that will help is to MAKE something, so I sucked it up and made these cookies Wednesday night. I thought they were tasty! Next time around I am not sure I'd bother with the crescent shape, however on a cookie tray it would add some variety. This is a similar recipe to "Mexican Wedding Cookies" or "Russian Teacakes" that seem to show up at tea parties and the holidays, probably because of the final stages of rolling a baked cookie in powdered sugar, which looks like snow.

I made the recipe as I found it although originally I dumped 2 cups of confectioners' sugar in with the butter. I cleaned the recipe up to add clarity to that confusion. I also had vanilla powder on hand, a gift from a co-worker who recently traveled to India, so I added 1/2 tsp of that. It looked almost like finely ground vanilla beans, and was more the color of the spices.

Cardamom Crescents
from Sweet Paul Magazine

You will need:
2 1⁄2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3⁄4  teaspoon cardamom, ground
3⁄4  teaspoon cinnamon, ground 
1/2 tsp vanilla powder (optional; I added this because I had it!)
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1  teaspoon vanilla extract
2  cups walnuts, very finely chopped (in food processor) 

For after baking:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar 
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Whisk together the first 4 ingredients.
  3. Beat butter and 1 cup confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add vanilla extract and stir to combine.
  5. Add the flour mixture and mix, just until combined.
  6. Add walnuts and stir until thoroughly incorporated.
  7. Using 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie, shape into crescents and place on baking sheets about 2” apart.
  8. Bake, in batches if needed, until lightly golden. This will take about 15 minutes.
  9. Let cool for 5–10 minutes.
  10. Place the remaining 2 cups confectioners’ sugar in a wide, shallow bowl.
  11. When the crescents are cool enough to handle but still warm, roll in confectioners’ sugar, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  12. Once cool, roll in confectioners’ sugar again.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Marionberry Pie

This is actually the pie I made for dessert on Thanksgiving, but in all my posting about Oceanic baking I somehow left it out. I have previously explained why I have marionberries in my freezer, but I was saving some for a real pie with a real crust for the holiday. I'm so glad I did!

This recipe comes from Sunset Magazine, a magazine I only recently discovered is about northwest living. I grew up with it so I just thought it was part of everybody's childhood. It was voted one of their favorite recipes of all time. I wouldn't change a thing!

Marionberry Pie
from Sunset Magazine, via Anjou Bakery


The crust 
2 cups flour
2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 2-tbsp. chunks 
The filling
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 pounds (6 1/2 cups) fresh or frozen marionberries or other blackberries (for frozen, measure, thaw until somewhat softened, and use all juices)
Coarse white sparkling sugar


1. Make crust: Combine dry ingredients in a stand mixer. Add butter and beat with paddle attachment on low speed, scraping bowl as needed, until pieces are raisin-size. With mixer still on low speed, drizzle in 1 tbsp. ice water; beat until pastry comes together, 1 1/2 to 3 minutes. Form 1 1/4 cups into a disk and the rest into a smaller disk.
2. Preheat oven to 375° with rack on bottom rung. On a lightly floured board, roll larger disk into a 12-in. circle. Loosen with a long metal spatula, gently roll around a rolling pin, then unroll into a 9-in. pie pan (if dough cracks, press back together). Fold edge under, so it's flush with pan rim, then crimp. Chill 15 minutes.
3. Roll remaining dough into an 11-in. circle. With a cookie cutter, cut out as many shapes, such as squares, as needed to cover most of pie. Set cutouts on a baking sheet; chill 15 minutes.
4. Make filling: Stir together cornstarch and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Add berries with juices and toss to coat. Arrange evenly in pie shell. Lightly brush pastry cutouts with water and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Arrange cutouts over filling.
5. Bake pie until filling bubbles and pastry is golden in center, 55 to 60 minutes (up to 1 1/2 hours if berries were frozen); if edge starts to get dark, cover with foil, and if pie starts to bubble over, put a rimmed pan underneath it.
6. Let cool on a rack to room temperature, at least 3 hours.