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Pumpkin, hazelnut and orange cake recipe

Nicola Galloway celebrates the flavors of hazelnuts that she collected from her tree in Autumn.

Nicholas Galloway

Nicola Galloway celebrates the flavors of hazelnuts that she collected from her tree in Autumn.

The three hazelnut trees we planted about six years ago are beginning to earn their keep with a decent harvest of nuts this year. They have been drying in a warm spot for the last months and are now ready for cracking. Investing in a good nut cracker is essential when faced with baskets of nuts to crack. We use a vice-style nut cracker made by Ohiwa Macadamias, which confidently does the job for large scale cracking.

Once cracked I roasted the whole hazelnuts. This is an essential step to enhance the flavor and to easily remove the skins. I roast my hazelnuts at a low heat as follows:

Spread 1-2 cups whole hazelnuts in a single layer on an oven tray. Place into a 150C (fan 130C) oven for 10 minutes. Shake the tray then cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the skins have cracked and the hazelnuts are fragrant. Immediately tip the hot nuts onto a clean tea towel, gather it up to encase the nuts. Rub vigorously then transfer the roasted nuts, now skinless, to a bowl to cool. Shake out the tea towel and it’s good as new.

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This is a flavoursome, moist crumb cake. No pre-cooking of the pumpkin is required, as it uses finely grated raw pumpkin (see details in the recipe).

I used some of my freshly roasted hazelnuts for this cake, ground into a meal for the cake batter, and some chopped for the top. To make ground hazelnuts: completely cool the nuts then place into a food processor with 1 tbsp flour and process until finely ground. The addition of the flour absorbs the oil from the nuts preventing them turning into a paste.

If you want to make this cake dairy-free, replace the yoghurt quantity with dairy-free milk such as oat milk mixed with 1 tbsp lemon juice, and use oil rather than butter.

Investing in a good nut cracker is essential when faced with baskets of nuts to crack.

Nicholas Galloway

Investing in a good nut cracker is essential when faced with baskets of nuts to crack.

Pumpkin, hazelnut and orange cake

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 35-40 minutes

Serves: 12-16

INGREDIENTS

About 250g wedge of pumpkin or squash

½ cup (125ml) plain yogurt

½ cup (125ml) light olive oil, neutral oil or melted butter

2 free range eggs

½ cup (100g) sugar or ⅓ cup honey

Finely grated zest of 1 orange, about 2 tsp

1¼ cups (190g) plain flour (can use gluten-free, using the weight rather than volume quantity)

½ cup (60g) ground hazelnuts or almonds (see recipe intro)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp mixed spice

pinch of salt

3 tbsp roasted chopped hazelnuts

2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C). Grease and line a 20cm round or square cake tin.

  1. Scoop the seeds from the pumpkin and use a sharp knife to remove the skin. Cut into 2-3 chunks then finely grate on a box grater. It is important the pumpkin is finely grated, not coarsely grated, so it will cook into the crumb of the cake. If you don’t have a grater with small holes use the standard holes then finely chop the grated pumpkin.

  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the yoghurt, oil or melted butter, eggs, sugar and orange zest.

  3. In another bowl combine the flour, ground hazelnuts, baking powder, spices and salt. Whisk to combine and remove any lump, then add this to the wet ingredients. Use a spatula to mix until just combined – don’t over mix, treat it as you would a muffin mixture.

  4. Scoop the batter into the prepared cake tin. Scatter with the chopped hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds. Bake for 35-40 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool on a rack then cut into slices and serve.

Nicola Galloway is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author and culinary tutor.

www.homegrown-kitchen.co.nz

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