Spring is an exciting time to be a food lover. My brain starts spinning every time I go to Whole Foods and I see that new fruits and vegetables have arrived. Nowadays, zucchini is available all year round but when I was growing up, zucchini was only a summer vegetable. My grandparents grew it in the farm and so did my uncle. Our zucchini was a little different though. The skin was thin and the color was a very pale green, almost transparent. The seeds were also larger so often times, we had to discard them. We never made zucchini bread. I learned this when I came to the US. Our favorite dish was pisto which is a Basque version of ratatouille, with sauteed onions, bell peppers of different colors, zucchini, potatoes and eggs… All summer vegetables.
Line clay pots with parchment and the cake comes out perfectly
Over the weekend, my mom and I took our last grocery shopping trip together before she and my father went back home (which has left me very sad). I think our favorite past time is to go food shopping and I’m not exaggerating. If you have ever been to the Basque Country you will know that our lives revolve around food. Always thinking about what to make for lunch, then for dinner, for the upcoming Sunday lunch… Non-stop. So my mom wanted to make sure my refrigerator was well stocked with fruits and vegetables before she left. She knows how hard it is for me to go shopping with my little boy.
We walked into Whole Foods and they had a large display of organic, dark green, Florida zucchinis. It was so beautiful and inspiring. I used some for pisto, some for pasta, some for rice, but I had to save some for dessert!
This recipe is adapted from a recipe that I found in Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt, one of my favorite pastry books. I changed some things around though. I used peach jam instead of orange marmalade. Then I added some orange zest and also used pecans instead of walnuts.
I wanted to do something fun with it so I found these little clay flower pots at the craft store, lined them with parchment paper and baked some of the batter inside. They turned out wonderful and if the pot is well greased and with enough parchment, the cakes slide right out.
Zucchini and Pecan Bread
adapted from Tartine
makes 3 small loaves
270 grams unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp aluminum free baking soda
1/2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 organic eggs
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs sunflower oil
150 grams sugar
115 grams peach jam
zest of half an orange
285 grams organic zucchini, grated
115 grams pecans, chopped
Demerara sugar for topping
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil, orange zest, peach jam and grated zucchini. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and mix until combined. Add the chopped pecans and fold.
Bake in a 350 degree oven. Check for doneness with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, they are done.