Farinata is a kind of pancake that is popular in the Italian city of Genoa and the surrounding areas. Made from chickpea flour, it is sold in bakeries and pizzerias and is more of a street food than something that would be prepared at home.
The last time I’d had it was over 30 years ago. Unfortunately, the day after tasting if for the first time I came down with an awful case of the flu and, even though I knew it wasn’t the farinata’s fault, I was convinced I didn’t like it.
Recently I found a mix in the clearance section of my local supermarket where it was marked down to 50 cents, so I decided to give it a second chance. I tossed a few packages in my cart without even reading the cooking instructions assuming it would be a good candidate for the Sun Oven.
When I finally read the directions I wasn’t so sure. According to the package the oven needs to be heated to 500 degrees. With many baked goods the lower temperature of the Sun Oven isn’t an issue and while the cooking times may be longer the end result does not suffer. But 500 degrees is quite a bit hotter than the Sun Oven can reach even on an ideal day. I was starting to feel a little unsure about baking it in the Sun Oven.
Luckily, having bought more than one package, I was able to do some experimenting. I baked the first one in my gas oven according to the directions to have something to compare to the solar baked version to.
Like pizza, farinata is traditionally baked in an open, wood-burning oven and in my experience no home oven, not even one set to 500 degrees, can produce the same results. In fact, while my gas oven baked farinata came out nicely browned, it was not charred in spots like it would have been if it were baked in a pizza oven. Now I was pretty sure the Sun Oven could handle it. It took a lot longer to cook, 2 hours as opposed to 30 minutes, but the taste and texture were almost identical. Too bad the supermarket doesn’t carry the mix any more, turns out I do like it.