When Natalie of Hungry Hinny chose pumpkin for this month’s We Should Cocoa, my first thought was not a happy one. Normally we manage to grow a fair few winter squashes; this year, if we are very lucky and the mild weather continues for a bit, we might get one. So, for the first time in many a long year, I had to buy a winter squash, in this case a butternut. Once I got over this unfortunate turn of events, a number of possibilities went flying around my head. Last year, I made a really light almond and squash cake and some really dense pumpkin and ginger cakes, both were delicious although very different. I quite fancied making a marble cake to get the bright orange from the pumpkin contrasting with the chocolate, but others got there before me. In the end, I thought I’d go for a triple whammy and do something using pumpkin oil, pumpkin seeds and squash flesh.
- Roasted 350g of cubed butternut squash in a little olive oil at 200C for 20 minutes.
- Toasted 40g of pumpkin seeds by dry frying them in a pan for a few minutes until a substantial number had popped.
- Put 300g flour (100g wholemeal spelt, 200g white) in a mixing bowl.
- Added 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda and 1/4 tsp salt.
- Added 2 tbsp cocoa powder & whisked together to ensure all was incorporated and there were no lumps.
- Stirred in the cooled pumpkin seeds.
- Grated in 30g cheddar cheese.
- Divided 70g goats cheese into two.
- Chopped half into small pieces and stirred into the flour.
- Chopped the other half into 24 portions and put to one side.
- In a separate bowl beat 3 small eggs with 200ml yogurt.
- Beat in 50ml of pumpkin seed oil and 50ml sunflower oil.
- Beat in 100ml milk and a good good grinding of black pepper.
- Chopped a few tarragon leaves into tiny pieces and beat these in too.
- Mashed the roasted squash roughly with a fork and stirred into the milk mixture.
- Made a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and added the batter.
- Stirred as lightly as possible until everything was just incorporated.
- Divided between 12 silicone muffin moulds.
- Topped each with a few raw pumpkin seeds and two pieces of goats cheese.
- Baked at 200C for 20 minutes
- Left for a few minutes in their moulds, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool.
As I hoped, these were a match for the beetroot muffins and made a very tasty lunch for CT and I for the next few days. Toasting the pumpkin seeds first worked really well, bringing out their rich nutty flavour. The squash was more subtle, but played its part very well in keeping the muffins moist. The tarragon added a nice aniseed hint, although a few more leaves would have given a better flavour; it was only just detectable. The cheese added that yummy umami quality which just makes you want to come back for more.
One Ingredient is also featuring pumpkin this month, so in addition to entering this, I’m also looking forward to seeing the other entries – squash is one of my favourite vegetables. This month’s challenge is hosted by Nazima of Franglais Kitchen, but is co-hosted by Laura of How to Cook Good Food.
As the last of our tarragon was used in these muffins, I am entering them into Herbs on Saturday, hosted by Karen of Lavender and Lovage.
I’m also submitting these to Weekend Herb Blogging as I’ve used both tarragon and pumpkin seeds. This is a weekly challenge where any recipe featuring some part of a plant can be submitted. This week is being hosted by La Cucina di Cristina.