Tango alert! Any of you, Beautiful People, who are not inflamed by this most famous Argentinian product, passion transformed into music, feeling that is danced, might as well scroll all the way down to the recipe. But wait! Give it a try, won’t you?
“You can dance love, rage, happiness, pleasure, every mood. The tango is not a dance to demonstrate ability but rather an interpretation of feeling. It is not just moving your feet and posturing. The tango is Argentine” (Oscar “Cacho” Dante, renowned tango master).
When I first met Dr Gabriela Moreno, a lovely lady and an accomplished psychologist, and heard that she, like myself, was a confirmed chocoholic, my first impulse was to make her my triple chocolate Morena cake (click here for recipe). Then I found out that she had diabetes. Not only sugar itself, but any fruit or berries with high sugar content were out of question. That was a challenge, and I have never yet seen a challenge I wouldn’t want to meet. Then she told me she was from Argentina, and to me, not only “tango is Argentina,” but Argentina means tango.
This is Astor Piazzolla’s Tango Oblivion, performed with all the sultry passion this fiery music deserves. Born in Argentina at the end of 19th century, tango was immediately banned by the church as immoral. The ban was enforced until the coup of 1930, when tango, considered a populist dance, gained popularity. Tango clubs, Milongas, mushroomed. According to the legend included in the musical “Evita,” followed by the eponymous film, teenage Eva, illegitimate daughter of plantation owner Duarte, ran away to Buenos Aires with a tango dancer and met her future husband Juan Peron at one of those clubs. It makes a steamy story, but it is far from truth. Eva Duarte really was an illegitimate child who grew up in dire poverty but had a dream of becoming an actress. When she ran away to the capital, at the age of 15, she did forge an acting career for herself, eventually having her own radio show. It is at a fundraiser sponsored by Juan Peron, then Minister of Labor, to which she was invited as a popular radio personality, that they met, fell in love, and soon married.
With all due respect to Madonna who starred in the movie (and all her fans), I have chosen to share with you, Beautiful People, this rendition by Patti LuPone, who played Eva Peron in the original Broadway musical. The real Eva was a devoted political activist who organized female voters and tirelessly worked on behalf of sick, poor, and disenfranchised. Argentina did cry for her heroine, when Evita passed away at the age of 33. Today, in greater Buenos Aires, there still exists an Evita City (Cuidad Evita), built by her foundation for working class people, designed to resemble her profile in an aerial view. Evita died, but tango continued its triumphal march across countries and cultures.
USA: the great Al Capone in The Scent of a Woman.
Russia: Olympic champions, the inimitable Ludmila Pakhomova and Alexander Gorshkov dancing La Cumparsita on ice.
Germany: Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango performed by Berlin Philharmonic with a group of Russian soloists.
How could I pass by one of greatest cellists of our time, Yo-Yo-Ma, playing Piazzolla’s Milonga del Angel! Listening to Yo-Yo-Ma playing PIzzolla’s tangos (there is an entire CD), I finally met my challenge.
Fruit with low sugar content? Bananas, and I just happened to have a few of them, patiently waiting in my freezer. I partially defrosted them, just enough to mash them up, using potato masher.
I whisked some aquafaba, but if you are not going completely vegan, you can use a couple of eggs instead. Grated carrots provided almost enough sweetness, but, since I use unsweetened cocoa powder – it had to be chocolate, after all! – I had to balance its bitterness with some xylitol. Spelt flour is gluten free for our purpose, but if you have an allergy to gluten or celiac disorder, do consult your physician. A pinch of cinnamon and a whole lot of walnuts, and it’s ready to be baked.Make sure your baking pan is large enough so that the batter is only 1/2 inch or so thick, otherwise you’ll have a banana loaf, rather than a galette. Do as I did, and go listen to some more glorious tango music while it is baking.
I named it Gabriela Galette, in honor of Dr Gabriela Moreno, who duly appreciated it. It’s a delicious dessert, snack, breakfast, brunch, or just a bite to make you feel the passion of Argentina – tango.
- 2 large or 3 -4 small bananas (if frozen, defrost partially)
- 1 1/2 cup white spelt flour
- 1/2 cup aquafaba or 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup grated carrots
- 1/4 cup xylitol or any sugar substitute
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
- 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
- pinch of cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Mist large baking pan with oil.
- Using potato masher or fork, mash up bananas. Set aside.
- Whisk aquafaba or eggs, add the rest of ingredients. Add bananas, mix gently, but thoroughly.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on rack.