Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Spiced Pumpkin Cornbread & Salted Raw Pepita Butter

I am one of the many people in the world that looks forward to fall for a number of reasons: the rainstorms that smell like snow; piping hot meals in the forms of porridges, stews, roasted meats and veggies, and cobblers; sipping on hot chocolate, chai tea, and apple cider; leggings, scarves, warm hats and mittens; the leaves changing; and finally, all things pumpkin.

While I have thoroughly enjoyed and embraced other foods synonymous with fall (apples, carrots, and kale in particular), pumpkin is one of those things I literally count down the days until cans of it are displayed on the shelves. I love everything about this winter squash: the flesh, the seeds, the growing, and the artwork. It is so versatile and so easy to incorporate in practically any recipe you can think of. What’s not to like?

Last year, you could say I went a little fanatic with putting pumpkin in everything I ate. And it looks like this year will follow the same route of pumpkin-ness (I mean, you’ve seen my header, right?), with the promise of non-pumpkin fall treats to balance it out.

This week I was hankering for some pumpkin pancakes, and thought of using special arepa flour (also called masa flour on this blog, i.e., corn flour treated with lime) as the base. Well, for those who use this flour regularly, you will know how dry your dough/batter can be, and thus add more liquid to make it manageable. As the result, my first pancake was impossible to flip and broke apart, and my desire for pumpkin corncakes went out the window. So I did what I thought was the most logical thing to do: I baked it in a loaf pan.

Pancakes? Sadly, no. But delicious warm quick bread? Yes, sir!

Spiced Pumpkin Cornbread

240 g Masa flour
360 g Unsweetened almond milk (whatever “milk” you have on hand will work too)  
200 g Pumpkin puree
5 g (1 tsp.) Whey
2 Large eggs
60 g Applesauce
1 tsp. Bourbon vanilla extract
1 tsp. Sea salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Ground ginger (freshly grated is okay)
1/2 tsp. Allspice
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1 tsp. Baking soda
5 g (1 tsp.) Unrefined apple cider vinegar
60 g Melted butter
120 g Thompson raisins, optional

Combine all of the ingredients as listed (except the baking soda, cider vinegar, butter, and raisins) in a medium-sized bowl and place in the fridge to sit covered over night.
Remove the chilled batter from the fridge and get it to room temperature before adding the remaining ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a greased single loaf pan, pour the batter and spread it evenly.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or longer, depending on the oven.
Remove from the oven and leave it to cool for half an hour before removing the loaf from the pan.
Slice to desired thickness and serve warm.

Makes 4 – 8 servings.

Naturally you need something pumpkin to put onto pumpkin bread, right? I made a batch raw pepita butter (salted) that definitely suited that need.

Salted Raw Pepita Butter

300 g Raw pepitas
1/2 tsp. Sea salt
Spices, optional*

Place the pepitas in the food processor and leave it to pulse for 10 minutes** (scraping the sides as needed).
Once it takes a “loose dough” consistency, add the salt and continue to process for 5 minutes or until liquefied.

Makes 10 servings.

*I added pumpkin-y spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and sage, and sweetened it with a little stevia.
**I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to make raw pumpkin seed butter without additional oils or sweeteners. And really, I don’t think it even took the entire 10-ish minutes to be liquid pumpkin seed goodness.

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