I have to admit: I am not a big fan of Halloween. Whilst I am the first one to raid my Mum’s closet for ridiculous outfits when invited to a bad taste party, the thought of walking around in the cold asking strangers for candy is somewhat unappealing to me. But then again I am 24 years old so I guess it would be a little late for me to start now anyway.
One thing I do like about the season around Halloween is that the supermarkets are packed with my favourite vegetable: pumpkin. Suddenly the squash plant appears in the produce section in all shapes, colours and sizes. While for some carving funny faces into a pumpkin is the first association, my mind is racing with recipe ideas featuring this orange wonder-plant. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin mash, pumpkin stew, pumpkin smoothie, pumpkin pancakes — the list goes on. On top of it this year is my Gingerbread Pumpkin Loaf – the recipe of which I want to share with you today.
What is great about pumpkin is that you can use it in sweet as well as in savoury dishes. When I was little, one of my favourite treats was gingerbread and I wanted to replicate these familiar flavours of my childhood and combine it with the subtle sweetness of the pumpkin. The fact that pumpkin is naturally sweet makes this recipe super healthy and in fact completely sugar free. I used a little brown rice syrup, which you can happily omit if you want stay clear of any sweetener or if you want a savoury version.
- ½ heaping cup pumpkin mash (see notes)
- ½ cup almond meal
- ¼ cup flaxmeal
- 3 tablespoons almond butter
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- one thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 big egg
- pinch of salt
- optional: 2-3 tablespoons brown rice syrup, a handful of pumpkin seeds to decorate the top
- Preheat the oven at 180°C.
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined.
- Put the batter into a small rectangle shaped baking form.
- Bake at 180° C for about 40 minutes — or until the fork comes out clean when sticking it into the loaf.
- Allow it cool for about 20 minutes before cutting it into slices.
- Serve with coconut butter or almond butter.
For a paleo-version just use some natural honey instead of brown rice syrup - you might need a little less.
The loaf keeps in the fridge for about 5 days but individual slices can also be frozen and then defrosted and toasted whenever you need a quick breakfast fix.
While peeling and chopping a big pumpkin can be quite a tedious task I think it is totally worth the effort. I usually buy a rather large one, make pumpkin mash and freeze it in single portions in little plastic bags — ready for me to be taken out of the freezer whenever I need some. You can enjoy this Gingerbread Pumpkin Loaf as a snack with some tea or toast some slices for breakfast. Either with a sweet topping — such as coconut butter or almond butter — or as a savoury version: avocado, ham or hummus come to mind.
Either way the combination of the crunchy top and soft and moist inside of the loaf always makes for a belly-warming classic on a cold autumn day. And I decided if it means that I will be guaranteed to find my favourite vegetable in the supermarket, I guess Halloween is not so bad after all.
Happy thrifty cooking! – Johanna