Los Angeles Times article, "Oliver Grower Pours Passions into Dessert Recipes," sent my head spinning. Theo Stephan, the olive farmer, suggested using olive oil to bake a cake or make pies and cookies.
"Just try it," she is quoted.
One of her recipes was for Greek Walnut Cake. "Hmm," I thought. I've got a bottle of that glorious extra-virgin Frixa olive oil that George Chryssaidis imported from Greece and sells in his restaurants in St. Augustine.
So, I gave it a try. The preparation was easy and entirely by hand; no need for an electric mixer. However, I did not have ground walnuts, so had to get out my Cuisinart to take care of that job. The recipe make a large sheet cake with a moist and somewhat firm texture. The dessert would travel well.
I ate it plain and un-frosted. Theo suggested a topping of cream franche with honey. Vanilla ice cream also make a great accompaniment and that's how I served it to others.
I proclaim the cake delicious, as did my friend, Chris.
The fat grams are high but remember, it's heart healthy oil, much lower in saturated fat.
Next up? Chocolate sauce with olive oil. Theo's directions are to pour about 1/3 cups plus a few more tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil into a skillet over low heat, then toss in 1 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. Stir until it all melts into a velvety sauce. I see hot fudge sundaes in my future.
Greek Walnut Cake
From Theo Stephan of Global Gardens Olive Oil
with adaptations from Debi Lander
2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup (3.5 oz) ground walnuts (I ground fresh whole nuts in a food processor)
1 cup milk (I used skim)
1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar (I used white vinegar)
1 cup Frixa extra-virgin olive oil
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bow, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, allspice, cinnamon and ground walnuts.
3. Mix the eggs into the dry ingredients, 1 at a time, then whisk in the milk, vinegar and olive oil Beat until just thoroughly combined. ( I did all of the whisking by hand- did not use a mixer.)
4. Pour into a greased 13-by-9-inch pan.
5. Bake in the center rack of the oven until puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes.
6. Place the pan on a rack to cool slightly. Cut on the diagonal into diamond shapes.
If using whole milk ,each of 16 servings contains (I used skim) : 309 calories; 4 grams protein: 32 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 19 grams fat but only 3 grams saturated fat; 41 mg cholesterol; 20 grams sugar and 112 mg sodium.