When I was 12, we had an American family join us for Christmas. The father had just started working with my Dad, and had moved to Perth late in the year with his wife and two young sons. Being new to Australia and away from family, my parents thought it would be nice to invite them to join us.
I don't remember much about the day, but I do remember that the American family contributed a pumpkin pie. It was the first - and to this day is the only - pumpkin pie I have had. I had no idea pumpkin could be made to taste so good, and I fell in love with the pie as utterly and completely as one can fall in love with any edible product (which is to say, quite a lot). The pie base doesn't feature in my memories, but the pie filling...oh yes. Soft yet firm, brown sugar and maple syrup sweet, and delicately spiced. At 12, the spice mix was foreign to me. Now, I suspect that it involved nutmet and cloves or cardamom. It certainly involved a lot of wonderful things.
I haven't had a pumpkin pie experience since, but this loaf cake conjured up the memories. The filling is exactly like that of a pie - soft and fudgy, yet firm enough to hold together. The flavour seems exactly like that of my 12-year-old pie memories. The apple? That is my own contribution, but I will submit that it made this exactly right.
Over 17 years have passed since that Christmas I first had pumpkin pie. I don't think I'll wait 17 years before I make this cake again.
Pumpkin pie loaf cake with cardamom spiced apple
Heaven in a cake.
Vegan and low fat.
Makes 1 loaf cake or approximately 8 - 10 serves.
2 tsp chia seeds in 1/2 cup water
1 small butternut pumpkin, or 1 cup cooked and mashed pumpkin
2 cooking apples
1 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 cup apple sauce (mine was sweetened)
Preheat your oven to 180'C and prepare a loaf tin. Combine the chia seeds with water and set aside.
If cooking pumpkin from scratch, peel and chop your pumpkin and then steam pumpkin pieces for 15-20 minutes or until soft.
Roughly chop one of the apples and steam or boil for roughly 10 minutes (I added my pieces to the pumpkin steamer half-way through).
Finely slice the remaining apple and set aside.
When the pumpkin and apple have cooked, mash together roughly.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and spices. Mix to combine. Add the apple sauce and chia-water mix. Add the mashed pumpkin-apple mix and mix well.
Transfer the batter to your loaf tin and then arrange the remaining apple slices on top.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
This might be my new favourite baking recipe...for now at least.
Do you enjoy pumpkin desserts? And tell me - what is one strong food memory of yours? I have so many, I think it's for the best I now have a blog to reflect on them!