After a second attempt. Well, several attempts actually using the original recipe I have concluded that for farinata to work you need to have a level oven. After a change of venue, using my oven, a skillet that has a nice flat thin bottom, and a pizza stone we got better results that the previous night. They were still not 100% satisfactory though.
For the sake of padding the word count here, I’ll give you a quick rundown of what I tried. As I have researched this I have found a wide variety of recipes, and they all call for the same ingredients, but in wildly differing quantities. All of them seem like they would make a rather thin batter.
2 cups of chickpea flour
4 cups cold water
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Whisk the water into the chickpea flour. I poured part of the water in, mixed it, added more, and incorporated the water and flour as I went. Once all of the water is incorporated, whisk in the salt, cover, and allow to sit in the fridge for at least an hour. Longer might be better. When you are ready to go, skim off the white foam on top, and whisk in the oil.
Preheat your (hopefully level) oven to 450F, and oil a 12 inch pan, and ladle or pour a thin layer of the batter into the bottom. The thinner the crisper you will end up with. Bake for 10-12 minutes. You should, at least in theory, end up with a crispy on the outsides, and soft inside flatbread. Some of the descriptions call it almost pancake-like. It never quite managed that for me, except for one tiny edge bit. I put a little bit of herbs, and sliced onions on before I baked mine. It didn’t taste bad to me, but the texture could be a little weird for some people. (That was what put Amy off!) I even tried one on the stovetop, but since I have an electric stove I have less even heat. This caused one spot to burn and stick, before most of it had really browned.
Once I get my oven level I will certainly try this again, although I must admit I was more than a little frustrated with having this much difficulty getting a recipe to work. I may also look at a few other recipes to see if one looks like it might end up with a thicker batter.
Farinata is still promising to me, but I think I will be taking a break from it for now. I have a few technical issues to work out before I try again.
A bit of serendipity led to the recipe that I am working on. I ran across a mix for cinque e’ cinque on the Lucini website. At about the same time Amy ran across a recipe for farinata. When I Googled cinque e’ cinque I found the Lucini website, and a couple of recipes for farinata. Neither of us had heard of farinata, but based on the descriptions it sounded like a really tasty thing, and worth trying. From the number of different descriptions I have seen it seems like it could be a very versatile dish. It can range from a flatbread, to a savory pancake, to something like a fritata. I was more interested in the flatbread end of things.
What’s in it? Chickpea flour, water, salt, and olive oil. Simple. Right, well that is where things got a little fuzzy. After searching for a but we decided to try the recipe Amy had. For one reason or another it didn’t work out. I think I have this figured out now. Lets just say that dinner was not quite what we had in mind for tonight! It was tasty all right, but we’ll just kind of skip that. I think that the biggest problem we actually had was simply trying to get too much in the pan at one time. The recipe was a little unclear about some of the details, and although we did what we thought was right, we ended up with something that looked like we baked some hummus. It smelled fantastic though!
My hope was that this would be something that I would be able to use as a really tasty pizza crust, or as a base for an appetizer. Maybe a little thicker and I could use it almost like a pita or tortilla, folded in half and filled.
We’re going to take another crack at it tomorrow, I think, and I’ll take some pictures and let you know how it turns out.