peanut butter is my first and abiding nut butter love. but lately it’s had to make room for some newcomers like a coarse textured almond butter made with un-skinned almonds. i spread it on toasted brown bread with a little honey for sweetness. i am pretty certain that tweaking my peanut butter cookie recipe by substituting it with almond butter would make very delicious cookies. last week i made a jar of pumpkin pecan butter. i toasted pecans, which were pulsed in the food processor and folded into roasted baby pumpkin puree. my sweetener of choice was a couple of teaspoons of maple syrup and the juice and zest of an exceptionally sweet navel orange. this butter is all about textures and flavours – grainy and rich from the pecans, brightened with orange and finished with the smoothness of pumpkin. it never made it onto toasted bread as i ate most of it with a spoon.
|home-made orange, pumpkin and pecan butter|
organic and ‘health’ food stores like planet organic and whole foods market carry meridian’s range of whole nut butters. they have a seriously nutty constitution, as there are no additives. peanut butter comes in variations of crunchy or smooth with no sugar added or no salted added and so forth. aside from peanut butter my favourites include cashew and almond butters. the cashew butter is the smoothest of the lot and has a natural sweetness that is characteristic of the nut itself. i recently used it to make beetroot pate as inspired by the café at triyoga. raw beetroot, red peppers and cashew butter are roughly pulsed in a food processor with the oils from the cashew providing the creamy element that pulls the vegetables together. at triyoga this is served as an open face sandwich on rye with some smoked tofu and micro-greens. at home i placed mine on toasted rye with smoked tofu and some lentil sprouts. one sunday brunch i ran a dollop of crème friache into the pate that gave a wonderful contrast of colour and flavour. the possibilities are endless with a pate of this kind. it will be good on crackers and scooped with toasted pita crisps. last year i discovered a poicamole, a pea dip that gains nuttiness through the addition almond butter and a little bit of heat from tabasco. it would be nice to try them together.