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Going bananas on a gluten free traditional recipe

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Funny how some things often turn out. I was home last month baking a gluten free hazelnut cake, one of the trademark recipes from my native area in Italy, and casually munching on some extra hazelnuts I just roasted for the bake. My friend and her two year old had just said goodbye and left behind half a banana. I had a bite of it and was struck by how lovely it tasted together with the hazelnuts.

So I came up with this twist on the old recipe. You can make this cake with banana chips or fresh banana slices, it will be luscious either way. And because it’s going to be Valentine’s soon, this time I decorated it with a heart shape.

Feel the love and get baking with your sweetheart. This recipe is just delicious!!

Ingredients

200g raw hazelnuts
4 eggs
200g sugar
A pinch of salt
A little butter or olive oil to cover the cake tin
A little gluten free brown rice flour or similar for the tin
20 gr banana chips (or half a fresh banana, thinly sliced)
1 tbsp runny honey

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Turn your oven on and bring the temperature to 200C.
Spread your hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for about 10 minutes until they start to brown.
Take them out, let them cool down and, if they came with the skin on, place them inside a tea towel and rub them all together to peel them.
Discard the peel and place them into a food processor to finely grind them.
Lower the oven temperature to 180C.

Divide your egg whites and yolks into two medium bowls. Whisk your yolks, sugar and pinch of salt either by hand, with an electric whisk or in a food processor until the mixture becomes soft and lemon yellow in colour. Then add the ground hazelnuts to the mix and set aside.

Whisk your whites until you get stiff snowy peaks (electric whisk or food processor highly recommended for this!) then fold them delicately into your hazelnut mix.

Pour all the ingredients in a small rectangular cake tin, previously buttered or covered in olive oil and layered with brown rice flour or any other gluten free alternative. Bake at 180C for 40 minutes until the top is browning nicely.

Remove from the oven, let it cool then arrange your banana chips (or fresh banana slices) in a heart shape. Finish with a drizzle of runny honey and enjoy with your sweetheart.

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Carolina Stupino

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