Pumpkin rocks with brown butter icing
In solidarity with our neighbours up north, in the middle of pumpkin-feasting season, I thought I'd make something to appeal to their strange practices of eating pumpkin as a sweet food. Pumpkin pies, cookies and desserts are definitely not popular here in Australia, and feel well....kinda wrong! Like announcing you enjoy having fish with strawberry jam. Down here, pumpkin is eaten roasted in chunks, next to a roast meat dinner, or in a Thai curry, or pureed into soup. Even the infamous pumpkin scones of Flo Bjelke-Petersen fame are just spread with butter and toe the line between sweet and savoury. That's not to say we're right and you're all wrong! It's just very odd to us.
Halloween is not a big deal here; it passes with barely any acknowledgment, despite the weather around now to be perfect for wandering the streets in the light of evening asking for lollies. Around this time, at least in Melbourne, there's far more popular attention showered on the Melbourne Cup and the Spring Racing Carnival. Although, whilst the pumpkin-feasters in the north have been bunkering down iin the autumnal chill, we had one of the hottest nights on record last night with the temperature hovering around 27 degrees (80F) all night. I barely got a wink of sleep. And Melbourne is nowhere near the tropics! To think there's the possibility of this occurring anytime from now until late March fills me with dread. Gawd, I hate summer.
So, back to the pumpkin. This is another recipe from the book where I found the quick brown bread in the last post. It caught my attention, both for its seasonal ingredients, but also for its browned butter icing. Mmm...nice. I had a bit of desultory look around some gourmet supermarkets for canned pumpkin, without much hope, and not much hope was returned. It's impossible to find here. Sure, I could have gone to the David Jones Food Hall and spent $10 on one imported can, but I'm not that crazy. So, I cooked and steamed my own pumpkin.
Using your own steamed pumpkin in a baking recipe is always going to change the texture. There is much more water in the puree, which is removed from the canned pumpkin. Therefore these biscuits were definitely cakey in texture. In fact, without any crunch at all, they were similar to little patty cakes or scones. This actually wasn't a bad thing; it was nice to create something quite unexpected. I used walnuts rather than pecans, and chose not to include the raisins because.......well, bleaaaahhh! The spices work really well, and they even taste quite nice without the brown butter icing. My uncle preferred them that way. In fact, without the icing they're relatively health conscious; nuts, raisins (maybe), pumpkin, wholemeal flour... However, the icing really is excellent; a big, round, vanilla, buttery taste that works so well with the biscuits. In fact, the boss at A. work, where I sent half of the batch, claimed they were "possibly the best thing you've ever made! A definite 8 out of 10 for sure".
No, I don't know why she took off those 2 points. Maybe she likes raisins....
Read on for the recipe:
Pumpkin Rocks with Brown Butter Icing
Ingredients (Makes ~50)
125g / 4 oz butter, softened
150g / 5 oz plain flour
175 g / 6 oz soft brown sugar, lightly packed
225g / 8 oz canned pumpkin or cooked pumpkin*
1 medium egg, beaten
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
125 g / 4 oz wholemeal flour
75g /3 oz pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped
100g / 3 1/2 oz raisins
50g / 2 oz butter
225g / 8 oz icing sugar
2-3 tbsp milk
* Cutting the pumpkin into small pieces and microwaving, then pureeing with a fork works very well.
1 - Preheat the oven to 190C/375 F. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
2 - Using an electric beaer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the plain flour, sugar, pumpkin, beaten egg, and beat with the mixer until mixed well.
3 - Stir in the ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon on the vanilla essence and then sift in the baking powder, bicarb of soda and grated nutmeg. Beat the mixture until combined well, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
4 - Add the wholemeal flour, chopped nuts and raisins to the mixture and fold in with a metal spoon or rubber spatula until mixed thoroughly together.
5 - Place teaspoonfuls about 5 cm/2 in apart on to the baking sheet. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are firm.
6 - Remove biscuits from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat, until pale and just turning golden brown.
7 - Remove from the heat. Add the sugar, remaining vanilla essence and milk, stirring. Drizzle over the cooled cookies and serve.
Tagged with baking + pumpkin