Sunday Supper: (A Slightly Distracted) Grilled Cheese Night
Sometimes you don't realize you like something until you can no longer have it. I remember having cravings for vitasoy milk during my college years, which I didn’t grow up with a predilection for. Recently this reverse cultural shock hits me again, where I find myself reminiscing over the most quotidian objects- a brand of tissue, a particular crossroad, a loaf of bread… Other things, like an overwhelming excitement for certain combinations of food, such as apple with cheddar, carrot with peanut butter, etc just aren’t considered palatable in my Chinese household.
Another example is pumpkin, a particularly unpopular item in Hong Kong, especially accompanied with spices. I am often nonplussed to find certain things that would've been devoured by my college friends untouched on the kitchen counter. Fortunately, a group of my friends share the same sentiment towards the States, as well as a liking for certain "American flavors." Last night, we had a dinner party to celebrate the first glimpse of fall in this subtropical city. We called for a grilled cheese night, which was christened by this "bread."
To be more precise, it was a manchego/pumpkin/sweet potato/beer BREAD. It definitely stole the show with the perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness. The crust had a perfect crunch and the nuttiness of the manchego echoed the toasted coating of sesame and poppy seeds. We made a grilled cheese with some sharp cheddar and gruyere but decided that it was better on its own, along with some simple accompaniments like butter, mustard and anchovies.
I brought a small piece of leftover home and to my surprise, my family happily nibbled on it this morning. I used sweet potato to replace half of the pumpkin in the recipe, but I think I’ve found a good reason to pop open the second can of pumpkin puree of the season!
MANCHEGO & PUMPKIN BEER BREAD
Makes 1 9″x5″ loaf. Adapted from this recipe on Spoon Fork Bacon.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tablespoons stevia
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 ounces beer (I used this local pale ale)
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup sweet potato puree
1/2 cup light vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
100g manchego cheese, skin removed and grated
- Preheat oven to 190°C. Lightly line a loaf pan with oven paper and set aside.
- Place flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground nutmeg in a mixing bowl and whisk together.
- In a small mixing bowl whisk together butter, pumpkin and sweet potato puree and egg.
- Create a small well in the center of the flour mixture and add beer and pumpkin mixture. Stir together until the dough just comes together. Do not over mix! (if there are small flour pockets, gently stir them away; a couple remaining flour pockets are okay). Fold in the cheese until just combined.
- Pour mixture into a prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with garnish (I used a mixture of golden sesame and poppy seed). Bake for about 1 hour an 15 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf.
- Remove loaf from pan and allow it to cool until just warm to the touch, before slicing.