There is this cake I have wanted to make, the "Black is the New Jam Cake with Sorghum Sea Foam Icing" from Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes by Ronni Lundy. First it was that I had to track down sorghum, and I did, from a guy standing by the side of the road on a drive through the North Carolina mountains. It's legit, it's Appalachian, check. But then I used some of that sorghum in another recipe. The other rare ingredient is the black walnuts which are only available a certain time of year. When I saw them this year, I proudly purchased them, knowing I had sorghum at home, and I was going to make! that! cake! Except I needed a jar of jam and didn't have any in the pantry.
I went looking for alternate black walnut recipes. One day I will conquer that cake, but I didn't want to go back to the store just to make it. I also have quite a bit of canned pumpkin on hand, so I decided it would be great to find something that combined both. I ran across this Black Walnut Pumpkin Bread recipe from the Never Enough Thyme when Lana's Cooking blog. I went for it and mixed the batter while I boiled water for dinner too. Opening the black walnuts, which I'd never had, was quite an experience. They almost smell like perfume, it is really a strange experience.
The fragrance of the bread with the walnuts filled the house, and I couldn't wait to try it. We do have a slight walnut allergy in my family, and I found my throat felt a little scratchy, so I will have to give most of this away. But I did enjoy this distinct flavor of a regional nut!
Black Walnut Pumpkin Bread
(recipe from Lana, the directions are mine as per her request, but please visit her blog to see her longer post, her directions, and her photos)