There’s something to be said about seasonality – that is, cooking with echoes of the current season and embracing all that is resonate. Autumn, of course, means pumpkins and nutmeg, apples and cinnamon, squash and sage.
The crisp air reintroduces the warm breath of the oven back into the home. It welcomes back hearty breakfasts laced with leisure, proteins cooked low and slow, root vegetables, herbs and stock that are simmered gently and eventually find their way into a warm and welcoming bowl.
I am not one to shy from tradition. In fact, I adore everything that it brings. And while I might not be the first person to run out to the store for fresh pumpkins in which to make their own puree, or even stockpile the canned variety for the weeks ahead, I do recognize the value of accepting convention and, ultimately, the predictable.
I woke this morning earlier than expected, to an unusually cold floor underfoot – windows were wrapped up in a blanket of frost and the kitchen stood blissfully still in the early morning light. The rush of the day was just starting to take shape outside and I understood, then, the value of tradition – the routine of it all.
Much like my need for a steaming-but-not-too-bitter-cup-of-coffee as I first rise each morning, tradition brings with it the comfort of anticipation, reliability and consistency.
And so I decided to make a batch of granola just as I have done many times in the past. Only this one would be flavored with pumpkin, and it would be laced with the spices of the season – cinnamon, nutmeg, clove. It would be a sweet and salty reminder of the reassurance that predictability can bring.
I urge you to try your hand at this recipe. It is one of my favorite granola recipes to date and, truly, there are few things as encouraging as having your own home made granola waiting for you in the morning.
4 Cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1 Cup Pumpkin Seeds – Natural and Unhulled
1/2 Cup to 3/4 Cup Pecans – Chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon Clove – Ground
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar – Packed
1/2 to 3/4 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1/2 Cup Applesauce – Unsweetened
3 tablespoons Maple Syrup
A good pinch of sea salt – preferably Maldon
(1) Preheat oven to 300F
(2) In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients well to combine. (Oats, nuts and spices)
(3) In a second bowl, mix all wet ingredients well to combine. (Pumpkin, applesauce, brown sugar and syrup)
(4) Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. If too dry, add more applesauce or pumpkin puree. Spread onto baking sheet and sprinkle with the sea salt. Bake for 40-60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Bake until granola is golden, dry and starts to form small clusters.
(5) Store in an airtight container. Serve with cold milk, yoghurt, or use as a topping for ice cream.