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Honey for this post was kindly provided by Mohawk Valley Trading Company. All opinions are my own.
I'm pretty much on a peanut butter and honey sandwich diet right now. Ok, so not literally but I do enjoy two sandwiches every night. My little one is still breastfeeding and I always make some sort of snack to help me stay awake with him at night (yet I've still managed to fall asleep with food in my mouth twice!) My go-to overnight snack used to be peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but not anymore! I've replaced the jelly with honey and I'm not sure I can go back.
Mohawk Valley Trading Company provided me with three of their raw varietal honeys to try out which is what sparked my recent honey obsession. I always stock my kitchen with a local raw honey but these are completely different from what I'm used to. In addition to being raw, they are also unfiltered and unblended. This means all of the pollen, enzymes, propolis, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, and aromatics are still in tact and indifferent from the way you would find them within the hive. The honeys are also thicker and spreadable, hence the sandwich obsession (they're mess-free!)
I have to admit, before this my experience with honey didn't stretch far beyond clover honey. I had tried a wildflower and I think an orange blossom honey but I don't really remember what they tasted like. I also know wildflower honeys and probably some others can vary in taste quite a bit depending on what region they're from. The varieties Mohawk Valley Trading Co. sent me to try are their summer wildflower, goldenrod, and American bamboo.
Compared to my familiar clover honey, the summer wildflower honey tasted the most different out of the three. This one ended up being Lenny's favorite. It had a beautiful floral fragrance to it and tasted well... floral-y. I guess that should come as no surprise but I'm still blown away every time I taste it. So, so good! It still tastes like honey, just much different from what I'm used to.
The goldenrod and American bamboo honeys were more similar to what I'm familiar with but still wildly different. I wish I knew how to describe the flavor profile of each but I really don't. The flavors are very complex with lots of different tastes and fragrances going on at once. I would have to say the goldenrod is maybe somewhat spicy/butterscotchy and rich. The American bamboo honey is supposed to taste similar to buckwheat honey if you've ever tried that. I would describe it as milder and smoother than the other two.
There's even a color difference between the three honeys which gives you an idea of how unique each variety is. You can see it in the photos and you'll even notice how they aren't transparent like what you might find at the store.
While I was brainstorming recipes I could potentially use their honey in, I immediately thought I should bake something. However, once I tasted them, I realized this is the type of honey you want to taste, not just use as a sweetener. It would be a shame to let these flavors get buried in some cookie or cupcake. I wanted to use this as a "finishing" honey. Over yogurt or oatmeal, stirred into a mild white tea, or anything that might make it really stand out.
Since the American bamboo honey ended up being my favorite, I decided to use that in my recipe (but you could really use any of them). The hives for this honey are placed later in the year (mid/late August through October) and with it being December, I figured it would be fun to use some fall or winter ingredients in my recipe. Parfaits seemed like the perfect thing to make since I thought this would go so well with yogurt and the other ingredients would be easy to incorporate.
One of the seasonal ingredients I selected is delicata squash. I decided to try something new and try to candy it. It's flavor goes well with either savory or sweet ingredients so I figured I'd take the sweet option a step further. So yes, this dessert parfait has a vegetable in it. And yes, I candied a vegetable. I don't think there's a more delicious way to eat delicata squash than this. I even candied it using the maple syrup Mohawk Valley Trading Co. provided me for a previous post so it was fun to pair their products together in the same recipe.
Dairy free yogurt, pomegranate, grapefruit, and candied delicata squash are layered together in a parfait and finished with American bamboo honey on top.
- 1/2 delicata squash (about 1/2 C of slices)
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 grapefruit
- 1/2 C pomegranate arils
- 2 C dairy free vanilla yogurt
- 2 Tbsp Mohawk Valley Trading Company raw American bamboo honey
- *Optional* If you'd like to include the decorative sugar shards as seen in the photos, skip down to the notes section and make those first. Otherwise, just continue to step two.
- Wash the squash (the skin is edible after cooking!) and cut the ends off. Cut in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Slice into 3/4-1 inch pieces.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, toss together the squash slices and syrup. Stir often until the syrup is crystalized and the squash is fork-tender. Set aside to cool.
- Segment the grapefruit. If you don't know how, you can watch a video on how to segment a grapefruit here.
- This recipe makes two servings so you'll need two parfait glasses (I actually used some stemless wine glasses but you could even use some regular old bowls if you're just hungry and not worried about presentation). Layer the ingredients so that in each glass you'll have (starting from the bottom): 1/4 C pomegranate arils, 1/3 C yogurt, half the batch of cooled candied squash, 1/3 C yogurt, half the grapefruit segments, and another 1/3 C yogurt. Finally, top each parfait with a generous tablespoon of American bamboo honey and garnish with a few extra pomegranate arils, if desired, and the sugar shards if you decided to make them. Serve immediately.
If you'd like to make the decorative sugar shards, you'll need 1C sugar and 1/2 C water. This will probably make more than you'll use but you want lots of pieces to choose from in case any get messed up or cloudy. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a deep saucepan to prevent boiling over and continuity stir to ensure all sugar is dissolved before it comes to a boil. Once it starts to boil, stop stirring and do not disturb it at all. Insert a candy thermometer and continue heating until it reaches a hard crack (about 300ºF-310ºF.) At this point remove from heat and again, do not disturb it at all until the bubbles have disappeared. As soon as the bubbles disappear, you'll need to work quickly so lay out a large sheet of parchment paper. Use a heat resistant spatula or spoon to drizzle the sugar onto the parchment paper in straight lines. You can also make a few perpendicular lines to hold the shards together better if you like. All the sugar should be drizzled out as quickly as possible before it starts to turn hazy but at the same time, be super careful handling it because it will cause severe burns. Allow the sugar to cool completely before breaking into whatever size pieces you'd like and use these to decorate your finished parfaits.