Listen, it’s no secret that I love fall. How could you not? The leaves are turning, sweater weather is finally upon us, and everything you can eat or drink involves pumpkin. In fact, I can directly identify with the following clip from Iliza Shlesinger’s comedy special Freezing Hot: (WARNING: There’s a fair amount of profanity here, so maybe don’t watch this at work. Also the quality is terrible – I recommending heading to Netflix to watch the full special, if you can.)
So last weekend I commenced Operation PUMPKIN EVERYTHING. I started by picking up two seasonal beers I know are quite widely available and beloved; Southern Tier’s Warlock, an imperial stout, and the Pumpking imperial ale. The Pumpking is a little too sweet for my tastes, but I figured it would be perfect for use in a dessert.
First of all, I had to make a main course. I decided to go for the ideal fall meal – a hearty vegan chili, made with the Warlock for some extra warmth. I based myself on this recipe and improvised based on what I had. Zucchini? Kale? Extra cocoa? In the pot it went!
Since I’d bought a large bottle of the Warlock, I had some leftover. Not a problem. I do quite like the Warlock. It’s strong on the pumpkin spice, molasses and booze on the nose. The taste reminds me of a cup of coffee with some of Starbuck’s pumpkin spice syrup mixed in. It also masks the fact that this is a 10% beer – maybe a dangerous choice for my baking exploits, but a tasty one nonetheless.
While the chili simmered away, I put the Pumpking to good use and began making this pumpkin bread. It ended up much more bread-like than I expected, although this may be due to the vegetable oil I used instead of the butter. Even with the intense sweetness of the Pumpking, the bread itself wasn’t sweet at all. However, it was quite tasty when it came out of the oven, drizzled with a bit of honey. Next time, I’d double the amount of pumpkin, and probably add a touch more sugar.
The chili turned out great – I may have been a little overzealous with the cocoa but the pumpkin came through loud and clear, and the Warlock added a little more depth to it. Not at all a bad way to use up some veggies that were starting to look shady!
And with that, my pumpkin cravings were satisfied.