thanksgiving blues [Spiced Pumpkin & Amaranth Bread]
It was just another Wednesday night around these parts. No turkey and no brine bath. No pies in the oven. No bread proofing. Instead of being jampacked with sweet potato ring and wild rice salad and cranberry ambrosia, the fridge was empty (except for the odd things that live in the door, like miso and flaxseed oil and green curry paste). It was a wee bit sad, this night-before-Thanksgiving with no Thanksgiving dinner in sight.
I came home from work and I hemmed and I hawed and I moped. And then I biked through the rain at 32x speed to the grocery store in the dodgy part of town to buy ice cream and wine. And then I tossed a makeshift apple crumble in the oven.
Let’s just say I felt festive enough then to ponder sharing a recipe with you. A recipe that you are to read and promptly forget for another few weeks until you’ve recovered from Thanksgiving dinner (if you’re American) and the Sinterklaas sugar coma (if you’re Dutch and eating the treats St. Nicholas brings on December 5). Everyone else, proceed on.
This is not party fare. But it IS everything-else fare. I ate this dense and darkly sweet pumpkin bread with butter for breakfast, with goat cheese for lunch, with jam for afternoon tea, with dark chocolate sprinkles for a midnight snack. Not all on the same day, mind.
I developed this recipe around a new (to me) sweetener – appelstroop, or Dutch apple butter, which is a dark molasses-like reduction of pure apple juice. It’s delicious on bread and pancakes, and adds that je ne sais quoi factor to meaty stews. I was delighted with the subdued sweetness it brought to this recipe.
Amaranth is basically mini quinoa — a protein pop in a cute little body. I typically strew a handful into broth-based soups to add some oomph, but here it gives the bread a crunchy crust and a soft puddingy center.
Spiced Pumpkin & Amaranth Bread
70g (1/3 cup) coconut oil
6 tablespoons appelstroop (or 3 tablespoons each of honey and molasses)
450g (2 cups) pumpkin puree
1teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon orange zest
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
225 g (1 3/4 cups) whole wheat flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
50g (1/4 cup) rinsed raw amaranth
Pre-heat the oven to 160 C (325 F).
Roasted your pumpkin, puree it, then let it sit for a few minutes and pour off the liquid that comes to the surface for a more concentrated puree.
Melt the coconut oil and the appelstroop together, then beat in the eggs, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and orange zest. Combine the dry ingredients and mix into the wet ingredients. Pour the batter into a greased and floured loaf tin. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top.
Bake for approximately 60 minutes. You may need to cover the tin with an aluminum foil hat for the last 20 minutes to prevent overbrowning.
PS. Anyone else inadvertantly skip Thanksgiving this year?