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32 responses to “Acorn Cake and Acorns Around the World”

  1. suburbanbushwacker

    Hey Hank

    Bad news about the tendon – Vitamin E is reputed to aid re-growth.

    Good News about the book – now you have no excuses and with Holly back at work no distractions either.

    I feel hungry just thinking about reading it. Please reserve two copies of the first print run for me.
    SBW

  2. JA

    I am intrigued by the acorns. I’ll have to figure what kind of oaks we have here in Northern Germany.

    Get well, Hank!

  3. T. Michael Riddle

    Excellent article Hank!
    Had me all the way to the end, and I especially am fond of Gingerbread!!

    Both my Maternal and Paternal Grandmothers made a very tasty flat bread from acorns (which did not cause diarrhea like the joke upon white people which some natives would play ;-))

    I will have to ask my Aunts if they remember the recipe.

  4. Diana Foss

    Best of luck for a speedy recovery! My neighbor has two huge oaks that produce many acorns. It would be fun to be able to use their bounty.

  5. A. Tokos

    Hello. I have been reading your blog for a while, but this is the first time I have commented. I enjoyed the acorn entries very much. I have never cooked with them, but I have with chestnuts. My Nonni asked me to find her chestnut flour a few years ago to make Castagnaccio o Migliaccio. She told me a story about her mother taking a perilous train trip to buy chestnut flour during WW II, as wheat flour was scarce, and the chestnut flour is very nutritious. Also Giuliano Bugialli has a small section “Chestnuts and Chestnut Flour Desserts” in “The Fine Art of Italian Cooking” that could perhaps inspire other recipes. Good luck!

  6. Mark Erickson

    I love the info on acorns and can’t wait for more! I’m in Korea and I usually see acorns used in something called dotori mook (?). It is like a brown jello, usually made into a square shape. They make the same thing using buckwheat which is a lot better.
    The key is the sauce that is poured over it, or dipped into. The main ingredients are soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, sesame seed, minced green onion and a sweetener.
    I don’t think it is considered lower class food because it is sometimes served as a side dish at both cheap and expensive restaurants Koreans have great food attitudes and seem to eat anything. Maybe that is why I like it here.

    I have seen the acorn powder they use to make the mook translated as acorn starch. I’m not sure if there is a difference like corn flour and corn starch though. I’ll only be here another week, but I will ask around on it.

  7. Russell

    Bummer about the leg Hank! Least you got a last duck hunt in.

    As for acorns, I just pulled my copy of the excellent (and James Beard Award-winning) “Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations” by Lois Ellen Frank. It’s a great source for wild ingredients from the desert Southwest, and has two recipes using Emory Oak acorns from the Apache lands in Southeast Arizona. One is an Acorn Chile Ravioli in a clear azafran broth and the other is an Acorn and Pine Nut soup with Wildflowers. Both look good, but I’m fresh out of Acorns around here. She does talk about how the Emory acorns don’t require the usual soaking and debittering.

  8. r.

    Hank,

    It looks like both you and FOTL are both switching directions a bit that that is awesome. I can’t wait to see what comes out.

    Sorry about the injury. That must be hard and I feel or you.

    Good luck with the Acorns, I think I might try some of these.

    r.

  9. Hilton

    Hank, way to go with the acorns. They were the most important staple to Native Americans in most of California. I am an archaeologist and we have found large sites that were located near oak groves, bedrock for grinding and a water source specifically for the exploitation of acorns throughout California.

    There have also been several hundred human teeth found from the late archaeological period (last 1,000 years or so) that show distinctive wear of the bicuspids that many feel is indicative of a diet based on acorns. Though the wear may be from bits of gravel that got into the acorns during processing, not necessarily the acorns themselves.

    There are also large pestles that have been found which are apparently prized items as they have been found in burial contexts and as grave goods. And indications on skeletal remains that show that the tendons that attached the muscles to the bones in the shoulder of some Native American women were highly developed, suggesting they spent a lot of time grinding and pounding acorns.

    The acorn is very important to Native Californian culture, so the fact that you are using them is very cool. Do not miss the acorn celebration in September/October at Sutter’s Fort.

  10. Tovar Cerulli

    Hey Hank –

    As a vegan-turned-hunter, I enjoy your approach to “honest food”. Great stuff!

    Hope the tendon heals quickly and well.

    Tovar

    http://www.tovarcerulli.com/

  11. Jim Horn

    As a chef in a Native American restaurant I cooked acorn soup and bread (cake). We used both locally harvested acorns and acorn starch and flour bought in local Korean stores.

  12. Kevin Taylor

    You have definatly changed the way I go hunting. I not only look for the specific game I’m hunting, but searching for anything and everything to cook and eat. It has made every hunting excursion alot more enjoyable. Can’t wait for the book! I’m having some good duck duck days of late, so let me know if you need any.

  13. Swamp Thing

    Feel better! And I’ve also heard tales of acorn coffee. Blech. I’d try it, though!

  14. Ellen

    Just came home from my local Korean market and they had packets of acorn starch for sale- no idea what its used for though, and the gentleman at the register couldn’t be of much help.

    I’d love to know what it could be used for- its consistency was extremely fine, and it looked more like a beige flour or cornstarch than finely ground nuts.

  15. Chilebrown

    Hope your recovery is swift! I was housebound for 4 days and almost went KooKoo for Coco Puffs.

  16. Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener

    So sorry to hear about your tendon and the surgery. Best wishes for a recovery as smooth and prompt as can be!

    I don’t know if I’ll ever grind my own acorn flour, but boy, you do always write interesting stuff! The cake looks great – and what an intriguing description of flavors….

  17. agadir

    Great post. Thanks for sharing it with us. I’m searching for recipe of Tajine of lamb to artichokes. Has anybody heard of it?

  18. Ray McIntyre

    Could you comment please on using Acorns from the English Oak? They are about the only kind which grows here and I am aware that they are higher in tannins than most.

  19. Patrick

    Great read on cooking with acorns. Arts culinaire magazine did an article on a San Francisco Chef James Beard award winner Corey Lee and featured his cooking with acorns, acorn soups and apps.

  20. Galwin

    I also have been cooking with acorn flour for several years now. The flour I make can be kept in a cool dry location for long periods of time. The current batch is over 3 years old, but almost depleted so I will make more this season.

    Also I have made what people tell me is a darn good Sopapilla with a Acorn / white flour mix. 1 part acorn flour to 2 parts white flour, use a normal sopapilla recipie and your about there spot on. You can go to a 50 & 50 mix but they do not puff up as much and are heavier then.

    Currently instead of white flour I am considering the use of potato starches instead, I just need to figure a good way to hand make potato flour with out modern electrical equipment.

    Currently I am trying to find a good Soba noodle style recipie, my regular sobas work out fine, but the same ratios do not seem to work as well with acorn, so I am trying to go to a 1 to 2 raito instead.

    Best and good luck on the foot.
    Galwin

  21. Galwin

    Hank in Norther Germany, you have basic red oak usually. They are medium to high in tannic acid content but you can leach them out easily.

    As above I am in Germany also and the acorn flour I make last for years nonrefregerated nor frozen.

    Look me up and we can chat.
    my SKYPE is usually up when I am home and not out doing Paleo work.
    Simply look for barongalwin. Send me a message with “Acorn Flour” in the spot and I will know to reply.

  22. Erik

    I found your blog while searching for homebrew recipes using acorns. Seems they were used in early settlement of America along with squash (pumpkin) and perhaps corn to make beer since malted grains were not available. I will be trying some of your recipes as food pairings with my acorn beer!

    Cheers!

  23. linda

    I know this is an older blog, but I was at the Korean grocery store with my mom and bought myself some acorn cake because she use to make this when i was growing up and it was a favorite. After I got it home I wanted to research it and found this blog curious to know how other people ate it. The way we buy it comes in a package like a more solid jello form. It is green and she would cut into bite size pieces and soak it in a soysauce mixture with sesame seeds, green onions and maybe sesame seed oil so it’s sticks a bit because it’s not very porous. Usually by the next day the flavor will soak in and is fun and tasty to eat with rice of course.

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    [...] acorn flour. I chose to make the flour because I wanted to make an acorn honey cake, a recipe from Hunter Angler Gardner Cook. A cake seemed like a good first acorn based food to [...]

  27. Susan McCarthy

    Thank you for the acorn cake recipe. I made it last night for my mother’s 80th birthday party, since she’s a fan of the unusual and of wild plants (we’re in California).

    It was popular, delicious, and as you say, amazingly reminiscent of gingerbread.

    Incidentally, you don’t indicate what the cook might do with the optional pine nuts. I omitted the powdered sugar and sprinkled them on top. I’m guessing you had in mind mixing them into the batter at some point.

  28. Amber Baker

    I just made your recipe with some Valley Oak acorns (I live in Northern CA) and it was DELICIOUS!

    The leeching process was a bit tedious, but worth the effort. I boiled my batch of acorns probably 10 times, lightly roasted them and stored them in my fridge until I was ready to use them. I ground the roasted nuts in a coffee grinder to get a fine texture.

    My cake was spongy and fluffy – not crumbly at all. I’m not sure what could have made yours so crumbly? It seemed like the beat egg whites were really helpful to keep the cake light and held it together.

    I like that the simplicity of the ingredients really allow the special acorn flavor to be tasted.

    I think there could be some interesting variations on this cake, served with fruit and/or ice-cream to really make a decadent desert.

  29. Elizabeth Morrison

    I made the acorn cake for Thanksgiving and it more than held its own in a very crowded dessert field! I cold leached Valley Oak acorns, then ground them into flour in a Vitamix. I used honey from my own town, Pacifica, and you could taste that too in the cake. Really yummy, perfect texture and it jazzed me so much to be cooking with acorns! Thank you for the great recipe.

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