Pecan Milk…with Warm Mesquite Variation (Latte di Noce Pecan…con Variazione Calda al Mesquite)

Pecan milk has changed my life in a small, yet significant way.

I essentially stumbled upon pecan milk this weekend when I was making a Marsala mushroom soup and, rather than using 3/4 cup of half-and-half that the recipe called for, I thought I’d “clean” it up a bit and try it with nut milk.  Pecans sounded like they’d combine well with mushrooms and Marsala, so I figured, “why not?”  Even better, the higher fat content in pecans would make the milk less prone to curdling- a problem I often face with fresh almond milk, even when tempered.

I was ecstatic with the results!  Not only was the milk delicious on its own, it paired excellently with the flavors in the soup and didn’t curdle.  I’m not sure why almond milk gets all the spotlight.  While almond milk is delicious (especially mine 😉 ) and definitely more versatile than, say, pistachio or peanut milk, pecan milk is also quite versatile, yet it’s creamier, deeper in flavor and, because of a higher fat content, is less likely to curdle than almond milk.

One Medjool date and a pinch of salt lend the milk just enough of that sweet/savory balance you get from cow’s milk and the nuttiness is mild and bourbon-like.  Not bad :).

Health Benefits: A one ounce serving of pecans contains 60% of the daily value of manganese, which is especially good for brain function, heart health and metabolism of carbohydrates and fat.  You will also get 15% of the daily value of copper from a one ounce serving of pecans, which benefits your nervous system, cellular energy output and connective tissue.*

Step aside almond milk!

Yields 2 cups

What you need:

1 cup raw pecan halves (plus water for soaking)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 Medjool date

2 cups cold water

What to do:

Place pecans in a medium bowl and fill with water two inches to cover.  Let soak at room temperature for 8-10 hours.

Strain and rinse soaked pecans and place in a blender with the salt, date and 2 cups of water.  Blend on HIGH until smooth and there are no more large specks of pecan meat.  This should only take 30 seconds in a high speed blender (A.K.A. Vitamix, Blendtec, Ninja).  Allow 1-2 minutes for a normal blender.

Strain mixture through a nut milk bag or two layers of cheesecloth placed over a bowl or large measuring cup and squeeze to extract all of the liquid.  The consistency will be creamy and smooth.  Pour milk into desired storage cup and refrigerate.  Should last about four days in the refrigerator.

Mesquite variation:

You’ll also find that pecan and mesquite were meant to be together: for a cozy night cap or soothing breakfast, make this into a warm mesquite milk.  Place 2 1/2 teaspoons mesquite powder, 1 teaspoon raw honey and a pinch of salt in a small pot.  Slowly whisk in one cup of pecan milk and warm gently over a low flame, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes.  Do not boil.  Pour warmed milk into a mug and serve immediately.  Mmm.

Pecan Milk (Latte di Noce Pecan) - The Clean Gourmet

Latte di Noce Pecan:

Rende 500 ml

Cosa serve:

100 grammi di noce pecan dimezzate (più acqua per mettere a mollo)

1/4 cucchiaino di sale

1 dattero Medjool

500 ml d’acqua fresca

Come fare:

Mettete le noci pecan in una scodella e coprite d’acqua con circa tre dita da coprire.  Lasciate ammollare per circa 8-10 ore a temperatura ambiente.

Colate e sciacquate le noci e mettete in un mixer col sale, il dattero Medjool e l’acqua fresca.  Fate frullare al livello max finché non siano più pezzetti visibili di noce.  Dovrebbero bastare solo 30 secondi in un mixer potente (come Vitamix, Blendtec o Ninja).  Per un mixer normale, fate frullare per 1-2 minuti.

Passate il liquido per due strati di stamigna sopra una ciotola media e stringete bene per fare sì che sia estratto tutto il liquido.  Troverete una consistenza cremosa e liscia.  Versate il latte in un bicchiere da conservazione e mettete in frigo.  Consumatelo entro circa quattro giorni.

Versione al mesquite: 

Troverete che noce pecan e il mesquite vanno benissimo assieme:  per una merendina prima di letto o come una prima colazione leggera, fate un latte al mesquite caldo.  Mettete 2 1/2 cucchiaini di polvere di mesquite, 1 cucchiaino di miele crudo ed un pizzico di sale in un pentola piccola.  Gradualmente unite 250 ml di latte di noce pecan e riscaldate leggermente sul fuoco basso, frustando frequentemente, per circa 4 minuti.  Non fate bollire il latte.  Versate il latte caldo in una tazza, preferibilmente riscaldata, e servitelo subito.

*Sources:

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/walnuts-vs-pecans-nutrition-1576.html

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/pecans.html


Creamy Almond Milk (Latte di Mandorle Cremoso)

This nut milk has the consistency of low fat milk.  If you like a thinner consistency, add more water.  If you like it even creamier, add more coconut milk.  The long soaking and blending time also contribute to the creamy, full-bodied texture of the milk.  If you are doing a smaller nut, such as pistachio, you could probably get away with soaking for less time.  Alternatively, if you use brazil nuts, you might want to soak for another six hours.

If you like sweetened almond milk, I recommend soaking and blending a PITTED date along with the almonds.  You can also add agave or maple syrup.

I like the base of coconut milk, but if you don’t have it or dislike it, simply omit.  I actually like Trader Joe’s brand of light coconut milk best.

The nut milk bag is a lot less messy and works really well, but a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer will do the job.  In fact, my first tries involved a strainer and then cheesecloth, but I gave in and got the nut milk bag.  It’s easy to find on the Internet, cheap and is perfectly suited for the job 🙂 .

I like to keep mine in a glass milk jar so I can shake it up since the milk is not homogenized and will definitely separate.

Per gli italiani, ho fatto un pò fatica spiegare gli attrezzi che servono, dunque fatemi sapere se qualcosa non ha senso o se sapete com’è meglio chiamarli!

What you need: 

1 cup raw almonds (or other nuts, if you like)

1/2 tsp salt

About 1/2-2/3 cup light coconut milk (optional)

2.5 cups water

Nut milk bag, cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer

What to do:

Soaking

Soak nuts in about two cups water for 24 hours in a cool place.  (Refrigerator works well.)

Straining

Drain and rinse nuts in a colander and place in blender.  Add salt, coconut milk and 2.5 cups water.

Blender

Blend for three (yes, three) minutes.

Straining Squeezing Nut Milk Bag

Place nut milk bag over large measuring cup and pour almond mixture into bag.  Squeeze pulp until fully wrung (perhaps best to do in two batches).

Pouring

Pour milk into pitcher or glass jar and refrigerate.  Lasts about 3-4 days.

Almond Meal

Use pulp for baking or add to oatmeal!

Cosa serve:

1 tazza di mandorle crude (o altro tipo di frutta secca, se preferite)

1/2 cucchiaino di sale

Circa 1/2-2/3 tazza di latte di cocco (facoltativo)

2.5 tazze d’acqua

Borsa di rete apposta per fare il latte di mandorle, della stamigna oppure un colino col rete sottile

Cosa fare:

Saturate le mandorle per 24 ore con circa 2 tazze e mezza d’acqua.  Tenete in un posto fresco.  (Nel frigo va benissimo.)

Colate e sciacquate bene le mandorle e mettete in frullatore.  Aggiungete sale, latte di cocco e 2,5 tazze d’acqua.

Frullate per tre (sì, tre) minuti.

Mettete la borsa di rete dentro una scodella e versateci la mescolanza.  Stringete la borsa finché la poltiglia sia abbastanza secca (è meglio farlo in due lotti).

Versate il latte in un broccale o vasetto e mettete in frigo.  Dura circa 3 o 4 giorni.

Usate la poltiglia per fare dolci salutari o mettete nei cereali caldi!

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