Pumpkin, Leek, & Pecan Cornbread with Spicy Honey

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Guys, this is the prettiest cornbread I’ve ever made. I first saw it on Megan’s blog and thought it was such a stunnner back then, and I finally got around to making it. I’m so glad I did!

I decided to adapt this recipe to be baked in a cast iron skillet because the fine people of Finex (forged right here in Portland!) gifted me with one of their gorgeous skillets. I mean, look at that iron-beauty down there! I especially love that the cooking surface of the pan is smooth, instead of rough like most cast iron skillets, and the octagonal sides make for easy pouring. Anyway, it’s perfect for this recipe because we start  by browning butter–always a good idea–and the butter that coats the pan after pouring it out for the batter acts to make the surface even more non-stick. Plus, the pan stays hot, since we all know cast iron holds heat like a dream, creating a little sizzle when the batter hits the pan making for a nice golden-brown crust on this cornbread. Obviously, you can use any trusty cast iron skillet you have for this recipe and it will be just as delicious.

The pumpkin in the cornbread makes it so moist, with extra tenderness from the addition of buttermilk. In addition to the brown butter flavor punch, we have lots of leeks, sliced super thinly, throughout the batter and on top. Along with pecans for a sweet and nutty bite. The leeks on top get crisp and sweet and so perfect. I’m sort of obsessed with them (I’ve been using them as a pizza topping lately, too…so killer!). But, the thing that really makes this cornbread sing is the spicy honey drizzle. It’s a sweetly spiced, sticky counterpart to the earthy-sweet and savory cornbread…and it’s SO simple!! It’s just honey and tabasco. Done.

Anyway, I urge you to make this cornbread sooner than later. Don’t wait a whole dang year like I did. And, I have to say it, it’d be a great addition to a Thanksgiving spread. Hint, hint.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Pumpkin, Leek, & Pecan Cornbread with Spicy Honey 

Makes 8-12 servings

Adapted from Take A Megabite

Leeks can be super gritty, so I like to clean them by slicing them and swishing around in a large bowl of cold water. Then I scoop them out and pat them dry on a clean tea towel.

 

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cornmeal

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup (4 ounces) brown butter

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

1 large leek, sliced thinly into rounds and rinsed well

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Spicy Honey:

1/2 cup honey

2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet until it gets foamy, once it begins to foam, continue to cook the butter, stirring until the solid bits in the butter turn deep brown and smell fragrant like toffee (if you aren’t using a cast iron skillet, refer to Megan’s recipe for alternate instructions). Pour the butter into a dish and set aside to cool to room temperature.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin puree, and cooled brown butter. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the cornmeal mixture and fold until just combined, then fold in half of the leeks. Scrape the batter into the cast iron pan and sprinkle the top with the remaining leeks, as well as the pecans. Bake in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool at least 10 minutes before serving with the spicy honey.

To make the spicy honey, stir together both of the ingredients until combine.

[/recipe]

Full disclosure, Finex sent me one of their skillet to use. I was not compensated for this post, I just really like this skillet! As always, all opinions and words are my own. 

Hazelnut Crunch Pumpkin Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

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Guys, cake!

Yesterday was a day that called for cake…even though I didn’t have any left, I wish I did. It was one of those frustrating, frantic, half-assed days where you’re pulled in different directions and nothing gets accomplished. Days like that deserve something sweet. In my case it was a Reese’s pumpkin eaten over the sink with a gulp of cold coffee between ringing doorbells, barking dogs, a startled baby, and a project I just couldn’t seem to get through. But I wanted it to be a piece of this cake with a side of coffee…that was still warm.

This cake is a moist pumpkin and spice number with little bits of hazelnut suspended in the batter, iced with a brown butter + cream cheese concoction, and sprinkled with crunchy hazelnut candy. It’s got it all: tender-spiced cake, a buttery-tangy frosting, and lots of crunchy-sweet texture. It’s a dream boat and a sure-fire cure for one of those kinda days.

I don’t mean to get all complain-y, but some days are better than others and cake days are definitely the best!

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Hazelnut Crunch Pumpkin Cake

Makes 1, double layer, 6 inch round cake OR 1, 9-inch square cake.

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teapoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cups finely chopped, toasted hazelnuts

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, browned*

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/4 cup bourbon

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease 2 6-inch round cake pans and line with parchment circles (you can also bake this cake in a 9-inch square pan).

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and hazelnuts. In another bowl whisk together the browned butter, brown sugar, bourbon, eggs, and pumpkin puree until combined. Fold the butter-pumpkin mixture into the flour and spice mixture until just combined and there are no longer streaks of flour throughout. Divide the cake batter between the two cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake in the center of the oven for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks for 15 minutes before turning out the cakes and cooling completely. Cool the cakes completely before frosting—it is even better to wrap the cooled cakes in plastic and place them in the refrigerator to chill before frosting.

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, browned*

4 ounces softened cream cheese

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 cups confectioner’s sugar

Using a mixer, beat the browned butter with the cream cheese until smooth. Add in the salt and beat in the confectioner’s sugar gradually until smooth and spreadable.

Hazelnut Crunch

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons water

pinch of salt

1 heaping cup toasted hazelnuts

Place a sheet of parchment on a sheet pan and set aside.

Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium high heat until the sugar dissolves and becomes a deep golden amber color—don’t stir it, but you can swirl the pan if you need to. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and hazelnuts. Pour the mixture onto the sheet pan and cool completely. Chop the cooled hazelnut crunch coarsely and store in an airtight container until ready to use.

To assemble the cake:

Place one of the cooled cake layers on a cake stand, spread a heaping scoop of frosting on top of the layer and spread evenly, then sprinkle with a handful of the hazelnut crunch. Place the other cake layer on top, pressing down lightly to adhere to the first layer. Pile several heaping scoops of frosting on top of the cake and spread evenly to the edges of the cake, spread the excess frosting over the sides of the cake, evenly. Scrape any excess frosting off with an off set spatula for a “naked-cake” effect, or spread thickly for a more traditional look.

*To brown the butter, place it in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat, let it melt. It will bubble and foam. Once it begins to foam, whisk it constantly until deep brown bits begin to appear and the butter smells nutty like toffee. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature before using. [/recipe]

 

 

 

 

All the Pumpkin!

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I have some pumpkin plans for the blog this month but, until I get that stuff baked up, here’s a round-up of ALL THE PUMPKIN things on the blog.

Get yo’ pumpkin on!

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Buns

Soft Pumpkin Sandwich Buns

Malted Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Brown Butter Malt Donuts

Maple Pumpkin Granola

Pumpkin Cinnamon Bun Ice Cream

Pumpkin Semifreddo

Pumpkin Beer Waffles

Pumpkin Bread with Bourbon Icing

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins