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How to use nutmeg in cooking

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Nutmeg can be used in both savoury and sweet dishes to add a note of sweetness.

How to use nutmeg in cooking

– Use grated nutmeg to liven up custards, crème brûlée, rice pudding, pound cakes, pancake batter, egg nog and mulled wine. Sprinkle it on top of desserts like cheesecake for both decoration and flavour or add it during cooking or baking.

– Nutmeg goes especially well with chocolate so you can add a hint to melted chocolate when you are making a chocolate cake or chocolate mousse.

– Add a small pinch of grated nutmeg to hot chocolate or to an espresso. (To make Nutmeg Hot Chocolate, melt 2 squares of 60-70% chocolate in a cup of boiling milk, whisk and add a grating of nutmeg.)

– Add grated nutmeg to wilted spinach along with a splash of single cream and a twist of black pepper.

– Sprinkle a pinch of grated nutmeg into mashed sweet potatoes or squash along with a generous knob of butter.

– Sprinkle grated nutmeg into the caster sugar when you are making a sweet pastry to use in a pecan or nut tart.

– Nutmeg is a great partner for bananas – add a light grating to a banana cake mixture or sprinkle it on halved banana, top with brown sugar and fry in butter. Serve with whipped cream cheese on top and wait to hear your teeth chatter with delight.

– Add nutmeg to the potato mixture when you are making gnocchi.

– Nutmeg and/or mace are key to making a good haggis, a Scottish delicacy made from sheep’s stomach and innards which is mixed with oats and suet.

Nutmeg can be toxic so be careful!

– Nutmeg is pungent in its raw form so be careful how much you use: it can be toxic for people who are sensitive to it.

Mace

– The web-like hard netting that surrounds a nutmeg is called mace and it is used as a flavouring in cakes and desserts: wherever a recipe calls for mace, you can replace it with nutmeg and vice-versa. Nutmeg is sweeter than mace while mace has a deeper flavour. It is used extensively in savoury and sweet cooking.

How to buy and store nutmegs

– If you can, buy nutmegs in the shell and crack them open at home. You won’t believe the difference in flavour compared to nutmegs out of their shell.

– Nutmegs last years if you keep them dry and in a dark place.

Using dried nutmeg

– You can also use dried nutmeg in recipes but be careful not to add too much as it can be toxic when taken in large quantities – it’s a very strong spice which will overpower other flavours.

Photograph © foodpixies.com

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