Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pine Nut Oatcakes

When I was growing up, my mother made oatcakes according to her own recipe every week. These were our breakfast, accompanied by tea, every morning for my entire childhood. Sometimes we'd come home from school to sheets of oatcakes fresh out of the oven; then, my mother would cover a few in chocolate chips and spread the chocolate all over as they melted.

Pine nuts are my own addition, inspired by the fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin. They add an earthy, savory element, redolent of rocky paths through mossy forests. It isn’t hard to imagine an epic trek over a wintry landscape, fueled by these hearty oatcakes. They certainly make a morning bus commute more fantastical.

Pine Nut Oatcakes
Makes about 2 dozen

60g (1/2 cup) sweet rice flour
60g (1/2 cup) sorghum, amaranth, or brown rice flour
110g (1 cup) gluten-free rolled oats
60g (1/2 cup) rice bran
60g (1/2 cup) almond meal, pecan meal, or other ground nuts*
30g (1/4 cup) ground flaxseeds
65g (1/2 cup) cane sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup shortening, palm oil, OR vegan butter (145g vegan butter)
1/4 cup boiling water, more as needed
50g (1/3 cup) raw pine nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together flours, oats, bran, almond meal, sugar, salt, baking soda, and ground flaxseeds.

Cut in shortening or palm oil or butter until dough resembles coarse meal. Add pine nuts if using. Pour boiling water over dough and mix in thoroughly, adding more as needed to form a solid dough that is damp but not too sticky to work with. (I usually add between 1/8 - 1/4 cup more, depending on the moisture in the air.) Add more amaranth flour if you make it too wet.

Dust a large flat surface with sweet rice flour. Split dough in half and roll out one section at a time till thin (about 1/8 - 1/4 inch). Cut into rectangles and arrange on a cookie sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until oatcakes are lightly browned on edges.

Serve plain or with peanut butter, jam, Nutella, vegetable spread, cheese, or anything else that strikes your fancy. Keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. They keep well at room temperature up to 5 days or so.

Notes: If your dough is too dry, the oatcakes will be very delicate and crumbly. If it’s too wet, you’ll have a hard time working with it and they’ll bake very tough. You want the dough to be like pie crust. Don’t worry if the texture is off the first time you make them; they’ll still be enjoyable.

*If you want to make this recipe nut-free, add about 1/3 cup of another gluten-free flour in place of the almond meal: buckwheat, millet, and soy will all work. I’ve found teff to be too delicate for this recipe.

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