I first experimented with making my own nutmeats over four years ago, and wrote up my experiences. I based my recipes on those given in Evora Buckram Perkins’s Laurel Health Cookery. It was a bit of a palaver, and at the time I commented:
It is easier to buy a tin of Nuttolene, but this is a useful recipe to know in case of drought.
Well, it has come to pass that there is a Nuttolene drought. Goodness Direct claims to have it in stock, but I haven’t seen it in the shops for over a year now. The customer comments over on that site hint at discontinuation after 105 years in production – it was invented, as a paté, by Dr. Kellogg himself, and went on sale in late 1904. I’m not sure when it turned into the more solid product I’ve been craving, but the difference seems to be simply the amount of water used.
Since my efforts four years ago, I have acquired a number of gadgets that might make the task easier. Firstly, I have just bought a pair of mug-shaped, loose bottomed cake tins, with a capacity of just over 1.5 cups each. I don’t know what they were intended for, but they struck me as just the right shape for nutmeats. I also have a 600w Braun hand blender, with a large liquidiser attachment, and a Kenwood Major with the meat mincer attachment, the latter serving perfectly well as a nut mill. All of these, in addition to the pressure cooker, should make the task easier than in 2004, and considerably easier than in 1911!
The only change I’ve made to the recipes I used in 2004 is to reduce the amount of water in the Nutmese (the Nuttolene-type nutmeat). The quantities given fit nicely into one of the tins mentioned above. For the record, here they are:
½ cup raw peanuts
1 cup cooked peanuts (see below)
a tiny smidgen of salt (very optional)
approx ¼ cup water.
Put the cooked and raw nuts into a blender and grind together. Add salt and water, and grind some more till it’s smooth. Put into a greased tin, and cover with grease aluminium foil. Steam for at least 2 hours in a pressure cooker.
Wrapped up and ready to steam
½ cup peanuts, cooked
½ cup blanched peanuts (be lazy, buy them ready-blanched)
½ cup vital wheat gluten flour
½ cup water
1 tsp cereal coffee (see note below)
Grind up the peanuts as for Nutmese. Add the wheat gluten and blend a bit more, then add the water and cereal coffee and blend until it turns into a dough, like a slightly heavy bread dough. Put into tins and steam as above.
I had expected to need to mix this up by hand and run it through the mincer a few times, but the Braun hand blender can just about handle this amount of dough. If I made a double quantity, I’d have to use the Major.
Peanuts take about 80-90 minutes to cook in a pressure cooker. I made up a large batch and have frozen the leftovers. Cooked peanuts look like pinto beans, so labelling might be important.
I found it very difficult to get hold of a cereal coffee that did not contain chicory (which would taste foul). I used Yorzo Instant Original from Lima Foods, which is made entirely from roasted barley and nothing else. I’m thinking that a tablespoon full of shoyu, and a reduction in the amount of water used, would be a good alternative.
The finished nutmeats - Nutmese on the left and Trumese on the right.
They came out of their tins pretty easily. Some water got into the Nutmese, making it more like the original paté, but the Trumese came out beautifully – it’s good and solid. I will experiment with using as little water as possible in the Nutmese, but really I’d rather be able to go just up the road and pick up a tin or two of Nuttolene.
Update: the Nutmese solidified considerably on cooling.