recently i spoke to a friend and she mentioned this item by its name which i had long forgotten. "calentita", that's it! my friend told me that it was a specialty of gibraltar and was a snack item she used to eat after school. as i confess to knowing next to nothing about this place, i was surprised to discover it was of italian origin and was a "national dish". read this short article for the details. i also found a reference to this dish under the name karantita which says it is of algerian origin. if you understand french it is interesting to read. whatever its origin, it is delicious. for recipes from gibraltar and the calentita [basically the same as what i am posting here], check out the heritage magazine published in gibraltar itself. to learn more & view photos about this famous place, visit gibraltar's official site.
here is the simple recipe for calentita. it really is a "nothing" recipe. it relies on very basic ingredients quickly thrown together, all of which do not look like they will result in much of anything.
after baking, you get a thin product which is cut in squares and lightly sprinkled with fresh black pepper. the consistency of the calentita is that of a thicker baked chickpea layer topped with a thin, custard like top layer.
makes 1 small 8" x 8" calentita [you may double this and bake in a larger pyrex]
1 c chickpea flour
2 1/2 c. water
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp ground cumin, opt.
in a large bowl, sift chickpea flour with salt & cumin, if using. do not skip the sifting step. slowly add water and mix thorougly with a whisk. set this aside on your countertop for 4 to 6 hours.
preheat oven to 350F. and oil a pyrex on the sides and bottom. add about a tbsp of oil to do this and don't drain it. place the pryex in the hot oven so it heats the oil well.
add the egg and the remaining oil to the chickpea mixture and beat again.
remove the pan from the oven and CAREFULLY add the chickpea flour preparation to the pyrex and replace it in the oven for approximately 1 hr to 1 hr 10 min. or until the sides are crispy and the top is golden brown. the calentita will look not fully cooked on top. that is how it is supposed to be. it will firm further as it cools.
remove and let cool. cut in squares and serve with a sprinkling of fresh black pepper.
three different european items using chickpea flour are the provençal socca & the ligurian cousin [and predecessor?] of calentita called panissa and the ligurian pancake called farinata.