I’ve been cooking all sorts of pumpkin dishes lately, both savory and sweet, using canned organic pumpkin that I found at the Costco. And I’m sure the family will get tired of it soon, but for now we’re loving it. It would be a shame to only make pie (though we love that too)!
This particular pudding-like cake is of Arab origin and is common throughout the region of Valencia, Spain. Pumpkins are native to North America but, like most foods today, they are grown and available around the globe.
The spices (cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg) are typical of a pumpkin dessert. But I like this one because, like many desserts from that part of the world, it’s not too sweet. Just the sweet side of savory.
I took the zest of half a lemon and then finely chopped it. You can use dried lemon peel too but be aware it’s typically much stronger — read your label. Usually it’s 3:1 so 1 tablespoon of fresh is equal to 1 teaspoon of dried.
Next, I ground half a cup of almonds in a small food processor. Let it run a while, a couple minutes at least, so it’s ground very finely.
You can blanch the remaining 20 almonds while the cake is in the oven. Bring some water to a boil, drop in the almonds, wait 1 minute, then dump them into a colander or strainer and rinse immediately with cold water. Then just gently squeeze the skins off them.
From here, it’s just mixing and baking.
Beat the egg in a bowl.
Then stir in the lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves, and half a teaspoon of the cinnamon (we’re saving the rest to dust the top after it’s baked).
Now stir in the ground almonds.
And finally add the pumpkin and mix well. It should be reasonably smooth. Pour it into a well-greased round dish, even a pie pan or cake pan would work, either 8-inch or 9-inch.
Bake for an hour at 375°F.
Once it cools (you don’t want the sugar to melt), dust the top with the cinnamon and the tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar. I use a small mesh strainer to get a nice even dusting.
Then press the blanched almonds into the cake around the outside edge or, if you’d like, evenly spaced all over the top (I didn’t want to hide the design). Since it’s nearing Halloween, I used a spiderweb stencil to dress it up a bit.
Now, here’s the key: cover the dish and put it in the refrigerator. While I think it’s good warm too, it’s usually served chilled.
Arnadi de Carabassa
With only a little prep time, this pudding-like pumpkin cake is super easy to make and really nice when you want something that's seasonal and not too sweet. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.
- 1 large egg
- peel of half a lemon, finely chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup finely ground almonds
- 16 ounce can mashed pure pumpkin, drained
- 20 blanched almonds
- 1 tablespoon confectioner's / icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Zest half of the lemon and finely chop.
- Grind 1/2 cup of almonds in a food processor until it reaches a fine crumb.
- Blanch 20 almonds and remove peels.
- Beat the egg in a bowl. Add the cloves, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon, the chopped lemon peel, and the sugar. Mix well.
- Add the ground almonds. Mix well.
- Add the pumpkin purée. Mix well.
- Transfer to a well-greased shallow pie or tart baking dish.
- Bake for 1 hour.
- Let cool.
- Dust with the remaining cinnamon and the confectioner's sugar.
- Gently press the almonds into the cake around the outside edge.
- Serve cold.
From Sweet Delights from a Thousand and One Nights
by Habeeb Salloum, Muna Salloum, and Leila Salloum Elias