Thursday, March 13, 2014

Honeyed Carrot Cake Butter (#DessertChallenge): Toast Topper #42

After a hearty Winter meal, my family would usually rather sit and digest over cups of coffee or tea than go in for a big dessert. That said, sometimes you just need a little sweet at the end of the meal, especially if dinner was richly spiced or salted, and for me the allure of fruit-based treats in the middle of Winter is huge. Bringing out an apple pie made and frozen last Fall, for instance, seems to immediately make room in our stomachs, and serving fruit and frozen yoghurt is a wonderful alternative to the birthday cakes that fill this season for us. Of course, finding any fruit in season here is impossible, but we're lucky to have access to preserves and well-storing produce like apples, as well as flash frozen berries and peaches from the orchard's shop.

I do have to admit, though, that I am not about to pass up certain things if they cross my dessert menu. Chocolate cheesecake, molten lava cake and cherry pie are way up there, but in all honesty my adult self always gravitates towards carrot cake. I adore the lightly fruity, nutty and moist crumb as much as the thick cream cheese frosting, and as long as I don't bite down on a big honkin' chunk of nut or pineapple I'm pretty easy to please. Carrot cake isn't exactly an "every day" type of dessert, so I thought I would combine the flavours I love with the lightness of a fruit-based treat into something that offered versatility and decadence - Carrot Cake Butter.

Honeyed Carrot Cake Butter

Yup, a twist on the classic apple butter, I basically took the natural sweetness of apples and carrots, intensified the complex note with dark amber honey and, after it cooked down to a luscious, caramel-like spread, laced it with ground walnuts. It really does taste like my favourite cake... just in a more versatile form. In fact, not only did I serve this on graham crackers and mixed into vanilla fro-yo, but it's become a luxurious spread for morning toast and a "jar to mouth" spoonable snack (with the fridge door open, of course!).

Lady Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge

This month's Behind The Curtain Dessert Challenge is focusing on the combination of honey and walnuts - a perfect pairing if you ask me! Be sure to check out all the goodies from the roundup and feel free to say hi!

Honeyed Carrot Cake Butter
Makes about 1 cup, 8 (2-tbsp) servings
3 medium apples, cored and chopped (no need to peel)
2 medium carrots, chopped
1/4 cup honey (I like a dark amber for this)
1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
pinch nutmeg
3 tbsp ground walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Combine apples, carrots, honey and apple juice in a covered casserole.
  3. Roast for 2 1/2 hours, until carrots are very soft.
  4. Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree (or pass through a food mill). Return to the casserole dish.
  5. Re-cover and bake another 1 1/2 hours, then remove the lid and bake a further 30-40 minutes, until dark brown and very thick.
  6. Stir in the nutmeg and walnuts.
  7. Cool completely, then store in the fridge up to 2 weeks.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 81.2
Total Fat: 1.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 11.2 mg
Total Carbs: 18.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.8 g
Protein: 0.6 g

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