Cakes - Pine Nut Cakes
Native American cooking can often be seen as plain, even boring to some. Perhaps that is because many of these recipes have so few ingredients. But that perception is not correct in my opinion.
The simplicity of these dishes allows certain base flavors to shine. That is definitely the case in this simple Pinon Cakes recipe. Pinion, however, is a delicate flavor that can be overpowered by many other foods, so they are not a good side dish for more boldly flavored dishes, or even salsas. Sweet fruit-based salsas are an excellent choice to pair with these small cakes when served as an appetizer and lighter entrées such as fish, are also a good pairing.
recipe also incorporates powdered milk which is one of the base ingredients of
many recipes developed during the “long walk”, which is a sorrowful and sacred
remembrance of the relocation of thousands of Native Americans to the
reservations in the 1800’s. Not unlike Indian Fry Bread, it is often served
along with a lesson in history about the conditions imposed during the
relocation, and why such foods were a staple among the peoples.
Piñon Cakes - Pine Nut Cakes1 cup piñon nuts (pine nuts)*
1/3 cup powdered milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
Vegetable oil for shallow frying
* Also known as Indian nut, piñon, pignoli, pignolia, and pine nut. This nut comes from several varieties of pine trees. The nuts are actually inside the pine cone, which generally must be heated to facilitate their removal. This labor-intensive process is what makes these nuts so expensive. Pine nuts grow in Mexico, southwestern United States, China, Italy, Mexico, and North Africa.
Serve immediately while still hot. If needed these can be kept in a warm oven for a while before serving.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.