Musical pairing – Here We Go Again by Ray Charles with Norah Jones
Guys, I’m going to out myself here and say that I am bone-tired. My brain is fried, my body’s ‘get-up-and-go, got-up-and-went;’ I’m staring at a calendar that says next week is Thanksgiving, four weeks later it’s Christmas, then New Year’s . . . and hello 2013. Hold me, I’m having a Linda Blair moment . . .
I’m gonna hazard a guess and say I’m not alone in this boat, that we’re all rowing as frantically as we can with a single oar – and with each turn of the circle, the world spins a wee bit faster.
The Professor and I have always loved hosting Thanksgiving – we really do enjoy planning, cooking, baking and shopping for our family and friends who join us each year; but this year we’ve been on the road quite a bit so we’re going to simplify – instead of hosting the usual full-on sit-down dinner, we’re hosting a ‘Thanksgiving OpenHouse’ with cocktails, a few appetizers and something sweet to share with those who stop by.
We’ll still be able to visit, to catch up, to hug, to laugh, to connect or re-connect with those we love – and after all, isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about? The very act of ‘giving-thanks‘ for all that is good in our lives?
I’m making this luscious Pumpkin Buckle with Sugared Pecans to share with our overnight guests the next morning; buttery, dense, tender pumpkin cake with a slight hint of orange, strewn with toasted, sugared pecans and more butter . . . I mean really, who wouldn’t want to wake up to a slice of this, a cup of coffee and a mimosa (or two)?
And the best part? No one will ever know it’s gluten-free!
NOTE: I have found it imperative to use a scale in gluten-free baking – flour mixes vary in weight based on the flours used – and that is exactly why I’ve given weights in this recipe. Don’t let the length of the recipe deter you – the familiar ingredients are easy to find and the buckle has two components – cake and streusel – it comes together quickly.
And finally, we live in the Midwest so getting to Blue Bottle Coffee on the West Coast isn’t optional – having this gorgeous book in my library is the next best thing!
GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN BUCKLE WITH SUGARED PECANS
Adapted from Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee, James Freeman, Caitlin Freeman, Tara Duggan
FOR THE CAKE:
- 140 grams all-purpose gluten-free flour (your own or use your favorite brand)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 11 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 150 grams sugar
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Cointreau (orange juice, Grand Marnier or Orange Bitters work too)
- ¾ cup unsweetened canned pumpkin
FOR THE STREUSEL:
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
- 140 grams all-purpose flour (see note above)
- 100 grams sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- zest of 1 orange
- ½ cup chopped sugared pecans (my local grocer carries these but you can also use raw)
TO MAKE THE STREUSEL:
- Cut the butter into small cubes and let sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, salt and zest; give it a whir to blend together
- Add the butter and mix on low until the mixture is grainy and looks like sand – 1 to 2 minutes
- Add the pecans and mix just until the streusel starts to clump together and looks like gravel – you’re not looking for dough here, just bits/pieces of butter and pecans
- Place in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use
- Wipe out bowl and continue on with the cake
TO MAKE THE CAKE:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Butter and flour (use AP gluten-free flour mix) the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice; set aside
- Using the same bowl and paddle attachment, beat the butter on low speed until smooth, about 2 minutes
- Add the sugar and salt and mix on low speed until well combined; scrape down the sides, then mix on medium speed until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes
- Combine eggs and Cointreau (or liqueur of choice) and, breaking up eggs, whisk until blended
- With mixer on medium speed, add the egg mixture in a steady stream slowly; mix until very smooth – about 1 minute. Scrape down bowl and mix on medium speed for another 30 seconds
- Scrape down bowl and add the flour mixture; mix on low until all the flour has been incorporated – about 1 minute
- Remove bowl from stand mixer and gently fold in pumpkin puree
TO ASSEMBLE AND BAKE:
- Pour the batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with an offset or rubber spatula
- Sprinkle streusel evenly over the top (use your judgment here – I had a small amount of streusel left over)
- Bake for 1 hour but begin checking for doneness at 50 minutes – rotate the pan halfway through baking time
- Streusel should be dry and golden and buckle should be firm and spring back when pressed gently in the center
- Cool cake on a wire rack for 30 minutes, remove from pan; serve warm or room temperature
NOTE: Gluten-free baked goods don’t store as well as their gluten counterparts; cover loosely with plastic wrap – will keep two days maximum but truth be told, it won’t last that long.
© 2012, Debra. All rights reserved.