Split Pea “Cake”

The term “cake” is a bit misleading here – this sweet is really more like a jelly or stiff pudding, but as it is served in slices it seems appropriate to call it a cake. The ingredients may be a bit off-putting – who puts split peas into dessert?! – but you’ll be surprised at how delicious (and nutrtitious) this is. You can find split peas in the dreid beans section of most conventional grocery stores. A good dessert to make ahead for a Chinese meal or to have on hand to serve with tea, it seems like Chinese New Year (gongxi facai!) is a good day to post this.

ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb yellow split peas
  • 1/2 c sugar, raw cane is best
  • 2 T honey
  • water

method:

  1. Sort through the peas carefully, removing any grit and green peas from them, then rinse well.
  2. If you have a rice cooker, you can cook the peas with 1.75 c water as you would rice; if you use a pot to cook rice, used 2.5 c water (see Basic Steamed Rice).
  3. Add the sugar and honey, mixing well, then puree in the blender until completely smooth.
  4. In a saucepan (avoid aluminum or iron, which will cause discoloration of the paste), cook the mixture until when dropped from a spoon it mounds on the top instead of instantly disappearing into the mixture. This can take up to 30 m.
  5. Scrape into an 8″ or 9″ square baking pan, cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for 5-6 h until completely set.
  6. Cut into squares, diamonds, or other shapes, and serve.

accompaniments:

  • For added color, you can cut jellied cranberry sauce into pretty shapes and add them to the top of each piece.
  • This also goes well with a fresh fruit sauce, such as a raspberry coulis, which would add color and a bit of acid to cut the sweetness of the cake.
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