Saturday, January 11, 2014

Okay. If you've got a blender, a pumpkin, and some tequila may be able to put together something interesting to bring at the last minute to a Thanksgiving party. To wit.: below, we mix sweet, rich pumpkin with the herbal smokiness of a good tequila to create Azuñia pumpkin spice pudding. How very imaginative. I salute it as one who, a la Marilyn Monroe's character in The Seven Year Itch, "just has no imagination at all" when it comes to devising really new food combinations.

Now to make the pudding properly, you must cook a fresh pumpkin, but that is not difficult.  -- Simply rush out and buy one, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and bake it, flesh side down, in a shallow pan with a small amount of water at 425 F. It will be soft in about 45 minutes. Let it cool slightly and then scoop away the flesh from the rind. --  Sssh: since you only need one cup of cooked pumpkin, if you decide to substitute the canned sort I wouldn't tell anybody. 

I certainly wouldn't tell the recipe's creators. They have worked hard on this. It comes from Azuñia brand tequila, in partnership with Kelly Lam, “Ambassador of All Good Things” at The Whole Purpose and Chef Jenny Ross of 118 Degrees. (I got the press release.) I give it to you entire; I'll bet my dear things -- my fatheads -- will be able to spot one thing I would change. 

Azuñia Pumpkin Spice Pudding

1 cup baked pie pumpkin (See instructions for rushing out, buying, prepping, and baking, above.  Only "pie pumpkin" seems confusing. A pumpkin is a pumpkin, no?)

1/2 cup water
1 cup of raw walnuts
1 tbsp. of vanilla extract
1 tbsp. of cinnamon
1 tbsp. of pumpkin pie spice
4-5 tbsp. of  Azuñia Organic Agave Nectar (surely we might replace with simple syrup? Plain sugar?)
2 tbsp. of Azuñia  Reposado Organic Tequila

Blend water, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, Azuñia agave nectar, Azuñia Reposado Tequila and walnuts in blender to a thick paste. Slowly add pumpkin till a thick creamy consistency.  Refrigerate for 1 hour, can be topped with cinnamon, walnuts and a drizzle of agave and tequila.


It's the instruction about using a half cup of water in the spice-and-walnut paste that leaps out at me, begging to be altered. Water seems to scream flavorless-ness, while leaping. In its place I would pour cream or at least milk, but the recipe is meant to be canonically healthy, so cream and milk aren't there. Neither is salt, you'll notice. The large doses of vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and agave nectar -- sugar, in other words -- here do the work that the simplicities of cream and salt would easily do.

What with my advising you to resort to canned pumpkin, substitute cream for water, and regard organic agave nectar as functionally so much sugar, well -- Kelly Lam and Chef Jenny Ross would probably be so mortified at my bastardization that I fancy I'll get few press releases in future from Azuñia tequila. Still. At least with this I have conveyed to my fatheads a little something unique to whip together for today's holiday of thanksgiving. By the way, did you know George Washington proclaimed the holiday, on October 3, 1789? I don't remember being taught that, either.

"Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be -- That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks -- for His kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation -- for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His Providence which we experienced in the tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed -- for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted -- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us."

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