23 March 2009

Tartine's Banana Date Tea Cake

Banana Date Tea Cake (with title)
So, there are a few of you who are probably wondering what happened in the almost 2 weeks I didn't post on this blog. Big changes. HUGE changes. They are changes in plans, though-- as in real life, what I instead have is a giant stop sign in front of my face. You see, I failed to match for a hospital (read: the four hospitals I interviewed for went another way). What followed is almost a week of malaise, juggling trying to "feel the feelings" (as my friend Allen puts it), smacking myself in the head for inadequacies, smacking myself more in the head for realizing that there are people out there with real problems and this: coming to the United States to grab an opportunity, missed as it was, does not even rate. However, even though we can argue about what the factors were that led to this outcome were-- internal or external-- the fact remains that I could only have really influenced the internal factors, and that's what really kills me. (Especially since it worked for some of my Filipino peers, but not for me.)

"It's time to go back to the house, pack your belongings, and go. Home." In all probability I'll give it another $hot. Even though there are $ome problem$ a$$ociated with that. But frantic sublimation a week after falling flat on your face is a little superhuman, don't you think? (The start of the next application period is September.) Though I try to be a Tiffany, I usually end up a Rebecca, which is probably for the best because the last thing I need is Tyra yelling at me how to feel. But I am trying, Tyra! I want to take control of my destiny!
Banana Date Tea Cake (top)
So I whizzed past the stages of grief into acceptance (oh, Lawdy, you should have SEEN me when I was bargaining. Was not a pretty sight/sound, and some people can attest to that). Because there is really nothing to do but face the music, build a better CV, and hope for the better next time. By the way, do any of you in the US have physician-friends (or are physicians, heh) who can help me get US clinical experience (or, barring that, observership)? I realize it's extremely tacky to tack this on to my blog post but screw it, I just got held up a year, okay? :) I am an extremely hard worker... Sigh.

So, partly as an apology for ranting, here's this month's recipe from the Tartine cookbook, a joint project of Lisa and I. She is, however, supposed to be making scones this week, which I didn't do a few months back because there's no buttermilk in the Philippines (though I know I could have soured milk), and making scones in the midst of all the Christmas eating wasn't a great idea. In its place I have this tea cake, which I did see at Tartine (more on that when I write about San Francisco, again). A great way to get rid of all the bananas in the freezer. I couldn't stop lopping of slices to eat that day!

This recipe is again from one of my favorite cookbooks, Tartine. I recently reviewed it over at The Gastronomer's Bookshelf, finally!

Banana Date Tea Cake adapted from Tartine
155g (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
255g (3 medium) unpeeled bananas, very ripe
2 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
85g (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
170g (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar
115g (1 cup) walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped (I omitted these)
225g (1-3/4 cups) pitted dates, coarsely chopped
1 medium banana (I omitted this one)
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat the oven to 165°C (325°F). Spray or butter the bottom and sides of a 9x5 inch loaf pan. In medium bowl, stir together the flour and cornstarch. Peel the bananas and mash them in a second bowl. Add the eggs, vanilla, and salt, and combine thoroughly.

In a large mixing bowl, add the butter, then sprinkle the cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda over. Beat the butter until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar while beating until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Beat in the banana mixture until incorporated. Sift the flour-cornstarch mixture over the batter and fold in gently with a rubber spatula. Add the nuts and dates. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue folding until everything is well-combined. Transfer the batter to the loaf pan and smooth with a spatula. Peel the banana for the topping and cut lengthwise into 4 quarters. Lay on top of the batter and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool, then invert onto a cooling rack, then flip right side up. Serve at room temperature.

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