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carob-dessert recipe

Date:    Wed, 20 Oct 93 16:04:00 BST
 From:    Dennis Furey (df@doc.ic.ac.uk)
 2 1/2 cups water
 2-3 T      dandelion root (a.k.a. dandelion coffee)
 1-2 T      agar flakes
 2          cloves
 1 T        corn flour
 to taste   carob powder or carob syrup
 1 T        kuzu
 2-3 T      rice syrup or barley malt syrup
 ( 1 drop   orange essence or peppermint essence (not both)
 1 pinch    nutmeg
 Simmer the dandelion coffee, cloves, agar and water in an uncovered pot on a
 low flame for about half an hour or 45 minutes, or for as long as it takes to
 have a strong enough taste.  Remove the undissolved dandelion root from the
 liquid with a strainer, and when it's cool enough to touch, squeeze the
 remaining liquid from it into the rest. Maybe it can be reused, but I've never
 tried it.
 Make a thin batter out of the corn flour with a small amount of water, and stir
 it gradually into the dandelion coffee liquid. I'm the type of cook that never
 measures anything, so my method is to look for a barely perceptible change in
 the color from black to dark brown, and maybe a change in viscosity from that
 of water to that of milk (if you'll pardon the analogy).
 Add an amount of carob powder or syrup in proportion to how much you like it,
 probably between 1/2 and 2 T. Also add the nutmeg at this stage if you're using
 Dissolve the kuzu in a small amount of cold water, and add it a little at a
 time, stirring constantly, and waiting for each addition to clear before adding
 more. You can substitute arrowroot but it's not as good. It should get slightly
 thicker, maybe like a thin gravy, but not more.
 One drop or more of orange or pepperment essense will obliterate the taste, so
 if you're using it you need to figure out a way to add less than a drop. I do
 it by touching a chop stick to the surface of it, and just using the amount
 that sticks to the tip of it. It should be added after the kuzu.
 Add the rice syrup or barley malt syrup to taste, just at the end, as it will
 lose its sweetness upon being cooked. Rice syrup is better, but it's more
 expensive and it's a gentler sweetner, so more is needed.
 Pour it into bowls or a mold or whatever (see notes) and allow it to set, which
 will probably take about an hour or two.
 It's important to strike a balance between the three thickeners that are used.
 Corn flour imparts a stodgy thickness, kuzu a syrupy thickness, and agar a hard
 shaky kind of thickness like jello. If the result is too much of one and not
 enough of another, you need to modify the amounts accordingly the next time
 around. My most frequent mistake is to use too much of all three, but on
 occasion I've also had it barely hang together.
 This stuff can just be served in bowls, but the way I usually use it is to make
 a tart out of it by putting it on top of a couscous base. The base can be made
 by cooking half a cup of lightly roasted couscous in 1 cup of apple juice for
 five minutes, then leaving it covered for twenty (to absorb the liquid and get
 sticky) and then pressing it into a small cake tin with removable sides.
 In either case, it needs some sort of garnish to jazz it up. Chestnut puree
 works well, as does amazake, especially the kind made from millet. Heap a
 sloppy amount on top just before serving. Another possibility is to embed an
 arbitrarily small number of almond flakes in it before it's completely set.
 For a really fancy dessert, I suggest putting it in alternating layers with
 something of a contrasting color in a long tall glass. Now that Halloween is
 coming up, I'll bet a sweetened pumpkin puree would look cool.
 kwvegan vegan