Monday, January 31, 2011

Black sapote oat bars, variation two

My original black sapote oat bar recipe, two years ago, was a pretty big hit, both for the folks who tried the batch I made and for others looking to use their excess sapotes. As I said in my last post, I've got some new ideas for flavor combinations. I figured it would be a good idea to keep the rest of the dish constant so I could isolate that variable to see how it changes the results.

Before, the filling in the bars was made up of black sapote pulp mixed with walnut butter, a bit of cinnamon and a bit of coffee. No cooking involved. The result was a sort of mocha/fig flavor with toasty, nutty overtones. I'm going a rather different direction this time.

Filling ingredients:
1 1/2 cups black sapote pulp
1/2 cup not-too-fruity, not-too-dry red wine [I used a pinot noir]
2 Tablespoons dutch process cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla

1. Bloom the cocoa in the wine for a minute or two.

2. Add the choco-wine, sugar and salt to the black sapote pulp. Mix well, mushing up the sapote. Cook down over medium-low heat until it thickens and reduces to 1 1/2 cups, stirring frequently.

The mixture will be thick and splattery so be careful.

3. Cool until it stops steaming and add vanilla to taste.

No change to the bar itself:
3/4 cup butter, softened,
1 cup packed light brown sugar
and then mixed with
1 1/2 cups rolled oats,
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
and another pinch of salt.

I packed 2/3 on the bottom this time instead of just half, letting it rise up a bit on the sides and in the corners which should help keep things from sticking.

Then I spread the sapote mixture out and topped with the rest of the dough, sprinkled and spread around evenly, but not pressed down.

I baked at 400 degrees for 20-some minutes minutes until it's browned and it was clear the sugar had melted and the bars were fairly solid. It came out sizzling. I don't remember it sizzling before.

And here it is after cooling:

This turned out quite well indeed. The flavor was familiar, but hard to pin down. The fig element was there again, but it was filled out with rich chocolate and tanin notes. It was kind of like a port, maybe. A really great contrast with the light sweet crisp flavor of the crust, particularly with the generous amount of filling I used.

If you didn't want to make oat bars, the filling could work well as a swirl in a quick bread. Or you could cook it down a little more and use it as a layer in a chocolate cake. Or it could work as a pudding or ice cream base with the addition of some egg yolks and some cream. Lots of options worth a try.

Oh, hey, one last thing before I go. Did you know that, if cut a just-ripe black sapote around its equator, you can unscrew it open like an avocado? It leaves the seeds sitting there exposed and easily removed. It takes a little finesse to get the pulp out of the half-skins, but it's a much less messy process than what I had been doing before.


Cintia said...

Thanks for the tip! It always gets messy when I take the pulp out of the sapotes

billjac said...

You have to be careful about just how ripe the sapote is or it won't work. The sapote in the picture is actually a day or two less ripe than I usually let them get, but it needed that extra firmness to work properly.

drlindak said...

Great tip! I used brown sugar and partial steel cut instead of all rolled oats. Don't recommend either, but it's all I had...

billjac said...

Brown sugar's not a bad idea, although it would work better with the nut butter in variation one than the red wine here.

As for the oats, steel cut's going to a problem unless you give them a soak then roll them yourself. If I was out of rolled oats, I think I'd have gone for a blondie dough sort of crust instead. Actually, that sounds really good. I'm going to try that next time.