A couple of days ago I had my first attempt at making a fruit butter. As it’s the start of October, and firmly into my favourite season, autumn, I decided to make a squash butter as my first attempt. It was lovely; warming, soft and a resplendent celebration autumnal spices. Delicious.
The creation of the squash butter, of course, saw me spreading it on everything from toast to crackers to tattie scones, mixing it into porridge, smoothies and yogurt and then looking around for more ways to eat it (all in the interest of research of course). So it’s no surprise that even before my first pot of the butter was finished cooking I was thinking of ways to bake with it.
One of the things that had put fruit butter into my mind in the first place was, while looking around the internet to see how other people had incorporated fruit and veg into baking, I happened to notice a comment on an article from someone who said that using fruit butter instead of puree is really lovely. Having just read another unrelated thing about fruit butter from a book I have, I took this as a sign to immediately make some, and then bake with it.
But what to bake?
I have this weird book called the Yoga Cookbook. I love yoga, and love to eat in a way that makes me feel good, but this book comes from the perspective of ancient yogic beliefs as relates to food, and discourages the consumption of foods that are spicy as they will overstimulate the mind, foods that are fermented or “unclean”, mushrooms for one, vinegar’s out too, as they will promote laziness and depression, and overly flavourful foods such as onions, garlic and radishes, as these foods are believe to promote selfishness, violence and lust. Though I firmly believe that the foods we eat directly affect our mental health and happiness, I can’t believe that nutrient rich foods that nourish our bodies can be bad, and while I also believe that a calm and relaxed state of mind is best, I also think that there’s a place for passion and a bit of over-excitement some times. Having said all that though, some of the recipes in the book are great, and many of them make a great base recipe to adapt and alter. So it was there that I found a recipe for Apple sauce spice cake that I figured would be a perfect base for the squash butter cake.
The original recipe called for three apples, 50g of butter, a heap of spices, and raisins or nuts. As I was using the squash butter which was already filled with spice, I omitted the extra spices and the apples, omitted the butter as I figured a bit more squash could replace it, and decided to add chopped prunes in place of raisins, mostly just because I had some that I’d been wanting to bake with for a while. The first mix was quite dry so I kept adding squash butter until I thought it was a nice consistency.
The resulting whole wheat spice and prune cake was lovely, moist, slightly sticky and warmly spiced. I was very pleased indeed. So pleased in fact that we ended up eating it before I got a chance to take any pictures…so guess I’ll have to make another one before I can post this …what a shame…
- 200g squash butter
- 125mL water
- 100g honey
- 300g whole wheat flour
- 1tsp baking soda
- 1/4tsp. Sea salt
- 100g chopped prunes (or dried fruit or nuts of your choice)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and lightly grease a 2Lb loaf tin.
- In a jug, mix together the squash butter, water, and honey until well combined and smooth.
- In a large bowl stir together the flour, baking soda and salt until all evenly distributed.
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry and quickly mix it to combine.
- Stir in the prunes making sure they’re evenly distributed through the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin and place it in the oven.
- Leave to bake until the loaf is risen, dark golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Leave to cool 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool. If you like you could brush the top with a bit of honey dissolved in hot water to glaze it.
- Instead of the squash butter, try simmering 3 peeled, cored apples until soft, mashing and using that along with 50g butter or oil, 1tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1/4 tsp ground cloves.