Thursday, 27 November 2014

spiced pumpkin pecan butter

spiced pumpkin pecan butter
i recently became part of the editorial team of foodand_; an on-line food journal that provides a community for talented individuals, creatives and cooks to collaborate and share their skills and stories with a wider audience. with thanksgiving round the corner, it seemed appropriate for the editorial team to work together on a series of recipes and features. we agreed that what we wanted was for to take traditional ingredients like pumpkin, cranberries and sweet potatoes and transform them into not-so-traditional recipes. this spiced pumpkin pecan butter was created in that spirit. 

i am unfamiliar with the tradition of thanksgiving, as i have not celebrated it. however, its theme of giving thanks for the blessings of the harvest is one that resonates across cultures. in pakistan (which is where i grew up), the festival of basant shares roots with thanksgiving, as it too celebrates seasons and their bounty. basant marks the beginning of spring. in the flatlands of the agricultural punjab, the horizon is marked with fields of mustard flowers. friends and family come together to fly kites in the narrow streets of the old walled city in lahore. there is music, merriment and of course food. the traditional menu celebrates the crop of the season. sarsoon ka saag is a vegetarian dish made with mustard and spinach leaves cooked in a delicately spiced clarified butter and thickened with wholemeal flour. it is eaten with makai ki roti; a thick unleavened flat-bread of crumbly constitution made of maize flour and brushed with plenty of ghee.

but to return to thanksgiving. last year, i purchased a can of libby’s pumpkin puree with the intention to make pie. however, thanksgiving came and went and the can of libby’s sat forlornly in my kitchen cupboard. until it found itself transformed into this spiced pumpkin pecan butter. it brings together some of my favourite american ingredients that are traditionally associated with thanksgiving. in fact it is much like the filing for a pumpkin pie but with a tamed sweetness. it is a play of texture and flavours – grainy and rich from the pecans, bright with orange and finished with the smoothness of pumpkin and cinnamon. 

it is versatile too. 

i love it slathered on sourdough with a crown of ricotta, or to sandwich freshly baked oatmeal cookies. it has found itself in parfaits, alternating with layers of crème fraiche, topped with a rough and ready crumble of chopped pecans and crushed biscuits. but mostly, i confess to spooning it straight from the jar. 

head over to foodand_ for the recipe

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