Grilled Pumpkin Bread with Honeycomb

pumpkinbread
 
There are so many unexpected things I’ve gotten from blogging. Big and small things. A cookbook. A reason to use designer muffin cups. A community. A career. New friends. Offers to try a new line of microalgae.

But my favourite things however, are those that involve super passionate people wanting to share their awesome, healthy, and often geeky fervor with me. I’m all in! Recently, I received an email from Oliver Maxwell, the founder of Bybi (translation: City Bee), which is an urban beekeeping collective here in Copenhagen. As a blog reader, Oliver was keenly aware of just how much I love bees and the things that they make, so he was kind enough to invite me out to his operation to see how this incredible grassroots company works. And meet the bees, of course.

After a full tour, thorough honey tasting and hive visit, Oliver offered me what I can only describe as the holy grail of all bee things: honeycomb. And not just a chunk of the stuff, but an entire hive frame of it! Um, okay, really? I almost kissed him. But my husband was there too and that would have been awkward.

I carried the frame of honeycomb home cradling it like a baby. I could see the paper bag that Oliver had put it into beginning to darken in spots where the honey was oozing and pooling. My heart raced. These are the things I live for.

Grilled Pumpkin Bread with Honeycomb // My New Roots
 
Bursting with excitement and trepidation as to how I would put this delicacy to due use, I scurried home, took the honeycomb out of the bag and stared at it, praying it would reveal a grand plan for itself. But nothing came. Nothing. And all I wanted to do was dive face first into the thing, devouring it all in an animal-like frenzy just because I could, but instead I gently put it down and walked away.

A few weeks went by. Still nothing. And I remembered asking Oliver before I left how long the honeycomb would keep. He looked at me quite seriously and replied “not forever”. What does that even mean?! I could hear his words echoing in my head like a cautionary character in a horror film. The pressure continued to build to an almost crushing weight. I had to do something.

And then, as if by magic, Yotam Ottolenghi’s newest book, Plenty More, arrived on my doorstep, a gift from my publisher. Gleefully absorbed in the rapturous inspiration of pure genius, all thoughts of my self-imposed assignment drifted away. Until I hit page 319. There it was, like a beacon in the blackest of nights, the recipe title: Grilled Banana Bread with Tahini and Honeycomb. HONEYCOMB. I was saved.

Thoughts turned to alternative loaves (I couldn’t flat-out copy Ottolenghi!) and pumpkin was the seasonal flavour I excitedly committed to. I took my classic banana bread recipe, tweaked it ever-so-slightly and came up with what you have in front of you today. The loaf itself is moist, flavourful, and so very pumpkin-y, punctuated with warming spices, crunchy walnuts and dark chocolate. It is not overly sweet like so many other recipes and commercial versions of pumpkin bread I’ve tried, and I did this on purpose: if you do serve it with honeycomb, it’s important to have a little contrast, you know? The pumpkin loaf recipe is vegan, but of course the honeycomb is not. If you are vegan, or honey just isn’t your thing, the bread is delicious with date syrup, jam, or apple butter. You can grill it (highly recommended) or choose to eat it fresh – both are fantastic! But when using honeycomb, it’s a treat to have the wax melt just a little bit on the warm bread, and the honey sink into the cozy nooks and crannies of the loaf. Guh. Then you sprinkle the whole thing with flaky sea salt and devour. It’s a serious, loss-for-words kind of situation (which is convenient because your mouth will be very, very full).

Grilled Pumpkin Bread with Honeycomb // My New Roots

 
Bee Mine, Sweet Honeycomb
Honey is made by female honeybees that collect nectar from flowers, mix it with enzymes and regurgitate it (yum!) into honeycomb cells. Once the water content of this concoction reduces to less than 20% (the bees beat their wings in the hive to help evaporation, wowzers!) it is considered honey. The bees then put a seal on each cell and it is stored for times when they need food, like the winter. Kept this way, honey, will in essence, last forever – this is why it is considered the only food on planet earth that never spoils.

Honeycomb is altogether miraculous. To behold its sheer geometrical perfection is like a religious experience, and to see evidence of the deep, clear intelligence that built such a structure is humbling. It is altogether delicate and strong, housing the clear, liquid gold inside each of its cells so perfectly. Made of natural wax that the female bees excrete, it is built into the ingenious, space-saving, hexagonal cells that contain their larvae, store pollen and honey. The wax itself is totally edible, but some folks like to chew it up and spit it out after they’ve gotten all the honey out of it. The flavour of the wax depends greatly on the flowers the bees were collecting nectar from, but for the most part it is mildly sweet and mellow-tasting.

Grilled Pumpkin Bread with Honeycomb // My New Roots
 
The wonderful thing about purchasing honeycomb is that you know the honey is raw, unpasteurized, unclarified, unfiltered, and real. Nothing has been done to it. It is loaded with all the things that make honey good for us, like enzymes, propolis, and all of its antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties. It may surprise you to learn that most of the commercial honey available in the grocery store has been pasteurized and ultra-filtered, rendering it rather ineffectual. It is also important to check the label on your honey, as some brands cut their product with less expensive high-fructose corn syrup and other processed sweeteners. Like with so many foods these days, purchasing locally from a reliable source is the only way to ensure a clean and totally natural product.

Look for honeycomb at farmers markets and natural food stores. Late summer and autumn are usually when farmers harvest their honey so it will be freshest at this time of year. If you purchase fresh honeycomb in plastic, transfer it to a sealable glass container when you get home. Store in a dark place at room temperature.

Grilled Pumpkin Bread with Honeycomb // My New Roots
 


Grilled Pumpkin Bread with Honeycomb // My New Roots


 

* * * * * *

Hey friends! Check out the article I wrote about Copenhagen’s greenest hot spots on Melting Butter and Forbes.

There are also some albums from the Amsterdam events up on my Facebook page. Thank you again to everyone who came out!

129 comments

  1. Maria del mar

    Here is France honeycomb can be purchased on many street markets where artisans sell their products. I have been thinking what to do with it since the flavor is somewhat waxy and bland. I am trying this recipe !

  2. Nicole May

    I adore this recipe. I’m making it this morning and have made it several times. Always turns out perfect and I love having it for breakfast during these cold fall & winter mornings!

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  4. Katie

    Just wondered about gluten intolerance and spelt, I’m not a celiac but have a gluten sensitivity and wondered how a spelt loaf would be considering this? Thanks!

  5. Sarah

    I finally got my hands on some honeycomb and this was incredible!! My husband and I sat down to this treat after tucking the kids in and it was worth the wait! We grilled the loaf to perfection then melted the honeycomb on top and sprinkled with himalayan salt. Thank you for this treat!!

  6. Stefanie

    Hi there!

    I had the same problem as Justine: after an 1h30 it came out all mushy inside. I followed the recipe and used butternut. Anybody any ideas about what went wrong?
    Thx!

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  8. Anna

    Made with butternut. So delicious, especially toasted and topped with runny poached egg! The slight sweetness compliments both the savoury and the very sweet so well (creamy date caramel also a winner) x

  9. Klava

    Yummy! I made this today and it is scrumdiliumptious. I didn’t have enough pumpkin so just substituted with some sweet potato and it turned out fabulously. As I’m trying to reduce my sugar intake i had it naked without the honeycomb. It has a slight sweetness but all that sugar is not missed as the loaf has so much spicy flavour. I might even let my children eat this for breakfast. Their current favourite is the chunky chocolate buckwheat granola (with some sugar reduced modifications).
    Thank you Sarah B for another amazing recipe.

  10. Sarah

    I finally found local honeycomb and…Plenty More magically arrived in my Christmas stocking! Excited to try something new!!

  11. Justine

    Hi Sarah,
    The first time I made your pumpkin bread it came out beautiful and disappered within a couple of hours. When I made it for the second time, it didn’t firm up and was all mushy inside. Today I decided to give it another try and the result was the same. I never changed anything in the recipe, took extra care when combining the wet and dry ingredients and kept it in the oven for 1h 30 min this time. I baked your banana bread at least a dozen times before and it would always come out perfect. Do you have any idea what I might be doing wrong with this one? Thank you!

    • Stefanie

      Hi there!

      I have the same problem as Justine, mine came out all mushy inside after 1h30. I don’t understand what went wrong? I used butternut pumpkin. Anyone an idea about what went wrong? Thx!

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  13. Laura L

    Very, very good! I used raw goat’s milk, pasture butter for the coconut oil, and baker’s chocolate. I would recommend adding a tablespoon or two of extra honey if you are not planning on topping the loaf with honeycomb (we aren’t all so fortunate as to have access to the stuff). Thanks again!

  14. Gray-Blueline Massage CPH

    Another awesome hit recipe, thanks Sarah B. I subbed in buckwheat and coconut flour and added sprouted pecans. The smell while it was cooking was so cruel – the whole house was waiting for it to be done. This one is on everyone’s favourite list – looking forward to your book now!

      • Gray

        Hi Laura – 1.5 cups buckwheat, .5 coconut.
        I’ve also tried it with sunflower seeds and cacao nibs in place of nut – seems this recipe is so adaptable.

  15. Pingback: More Honeycomb
  16. Amy @apidaecandles

    Hi Sarah,
    My Mom in the States told me about this post from you! Thank you. I love bees too. Ah and honeycomb. Take a look at my hand-crafted beeswax candles. I make them here in Germany. I love how the internet makes us all so close!
    Amy

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  21. Beverly

    Your recipes are fantastic but probably best to recommend only coconut, almond, and hemp milk in recipes. Rice and goat milk tend to generate mucous in the immune system.

  22. Petra

    Lovely! A question about substitutions: I am not a big fan of the coconut oil – what would work as a substitution without changing the lovely texture of the bread?

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  24. Karlena

    Hi Sarah!
    I absolutely loved this recipe! Finished it in two days….. but I had one problem and that was that the pumpkin bread was still so super moist still after baking it for over 1 hr 30 min and it was really hard to grill or even slice. How can I fix it so that when I make it again that it is a bit tighter ?
    Thanks so much! I absolutely love love love your blog, it inspires me every time you put something new up.
    xox

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  26. Chelsea

    Love this!!! Thank you for sharing with all of us. I look forward to each new post, they’re all so beautifully written and posted with such yummy pictures.

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  30. Marissa

    I had bananas that were begging to be used for a banana bread so I substituted the pumpkin puree for bananas and it worked so well. I’m having such a hard time going back for more! Thank you for the amazing recipe, Sarah!

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  33. eme

    This was really good pumpkin bread! It’s tasty but not too desserty. I was out of maple syrup and walnuts so used honey and molasses to sweeten, used pecans and pepitas for a nutty crunch, and tossed in some raisins. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with us 🙂

  34. Jenna

    Delicious! Found your blog yesterday and made this bread last night for breakfast today. I am ready to try other recipes. I pre-ordered the cookbook. As I browsed through the blog I noticed your baby was born around the same time as my son, congratulations on celebrating year one. We celebrated on Sunday, did the year really go by that quickly? 🙂
    Thanks for inspiring me to keep on trying to cook nutritiously for my growing family.

  35. Door

    Sarah this recipe is even better than your banana bread! With the banana bread I always struggle with moistness and getting the bread out of the tin without breaking it. This time it came out like a charm and it’s delicious!!! No honeycomb frame for me sadly but it tasted great with a little bit of goat cheese or almond butter.

    Loved seeing you in Amsterdam!!

    • Julie

      Hello-

      I’ve never made Sarah’s banana bread, but what you’re describing happened to me with this pumpkin bread. 🙁

      How did you measure out your flour for the recipe? I usually spoon it into my measuring cup and then just level it off, so that the quantity is light and airy. Thanks.

  36. Carlin

    just made this with steamed sweet potato instead of pumpkin as that was all we had and it turned out great! The batter was really thick, so I was worried it might be dry, but it came out just right. We added the chocolate and next time might add even a bit more chocolate as it made it super yummy, and with adding the chocolate we found we didn’t need any honey on top at all-it was sweet enough:)

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  38. Roy Hansen

    My wife says thank you thank you… though we had a hard time sourcing the honeycomb itself, we were able to make contact with the beekeeper who was selling his different honey at the market, and we went to his farm to collect the larger honeycomb. We made pumpkin, acorn squash and zucchini versions, all of them absolutely delicious. If you make one with zucchini, adding a touch of savory spice to it really gives it a nice touch with the sweetness of the honeycomb.

  39. Ana P

    I’ve just made this. And it’s so scrumptious. You never disappoint me Sarah. I had to control myself from eating all the wet batter before baking! This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thanks for sharing these gems with us.

  40. Anna

    Hi Sarah,

    thanks for the recipe! I just tried it out and was not able to get the bread to firm up. I baked it for an hour and 40 minutes at 350, and finally had to pull it out because the crust was blackening. the inside is still completely mushy. The only change I made to your recipe was to sub 1 cup almond meal + 1 cup rye flour (tried to work with what I had at home), and I used ghee instead of coconut oil. Do you think the flour I used was the reason it didn’t work? or perhaps I mixed it too thoroughly when blending wet and dry? Hoping to learn from my mistake…thanks!

    Anna

    • Georgina

      Using almond flour will make the bread incredibly moist due to the natural oils in the nuts…this will be why it didn’t firm up 🙂

  41. Ellen

    I just made the bread, it’s delicious and it turned out SO WELL! I’m so happy to have found such a great vegan recipe, thank you :)!! Should I keep this in the fridge? How long will it keep? (though I don’t think this will last long haha :-)!)

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  44. Ania

    Hey, thanks for the tip how to bake pumpkin. Baked is so much more delicious than canned or boiled (which I used to do), but I always baked it skin side down. I’ll try baking it your way and of course make the pumpkin bread. With my home made seed or nut milk :=))
    Also, Josie, Angela, and Allison, thanks for asking about making it gluten free. And thank you, Sarah, for responding. I recently bought all purpose GF flour by Bob’s Red Mill but I’m excited to try the one you’ve recommended and see the difference.

  45. Alison

    Wow, this was amazing. By some strange coincidence, I had steamed half a pumpkin the night before and was to purée it for my 9month old daughter the next day. But then this recipe popped up in my email so I used the pumpkin for that instead. And I am so glad I did -I had to improvise a bit – half and half honey and molasses – and regular wholemeal flour, but it was so incredibly delicious I am planning the next load already. Thank you!

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  48. Katie in California

    WHOAH my worlds are colliding.
    Oliver and his lovely wife were so kind to host me during my year abroad in Copenhagen… and I just love your blog Sarah! Makes total sense that the two of you could get together and geek out about food!!

  49. Luke

    This looks divine! I picked up a good slab of honeycomb from a local city market a few days ago and this would be the perfect recipe to go with it – however my friend and I couldn’t resist it and the whole lot was devoured before we even got home! I guess I’ll have to buy more 😉

  50. lynsey

    Sarah this looks amazing. I want to drop all my work right now and bake up this loaf…. now if only to find honeycomb on a rainy TO night…! xo

  51. Marie-Helene

    Delicious! I made this beautiful loaf (with flour GF flour substitutuons) last night. It was the perfect treat for a chilly autumn canadian day. Had it with raw honey (honeycomb next time :)) yesterday and today with a bit of ghee. Simply delicious!
    Thank you for your beautiful inspiring recipes! 🙂

    • Ellie

      CAN YOU PLEASE SHARE YOUR GF FLOUR SUBS FOR THOSE OF US WHO ARE GLUTEN FREE? THANKS!
      -SORRY ABOUT THE CAPS, CAN’T GET THEM OFF!!

  52. lisa

    if you eat butter, honeycomb butter is delicious: soften good butter, break up honeycomb with rolling pin, mix up the two and roll butter back up to harden again. makes the most amazing condiment for corn anything, especially savory corn cakes

  53. Ally

    Swoon. What a treat! My friends and I kept bees when I lived in Eugene, but since moving to Seattle it’s just not an option right now. I long for the day when I can welcome them back to our home! Gorgeous recipe, Sarah B.

  54. Kevin Riddoch

    Hi Sarah, this recipe sounds amazing as always. I am gluten free. Do you think this would work with gluten free flour? Thank you.

  55. Jo | The Nectar Cafe

    Whoa this looks incredible! I used to work for a bee-keeper and one of my jobs would be to cut the comb into box-sized squares. I went home with alot of off-cuts! Needless to say I ate my fair share of honey comb then, but I haven’t had it for a long time. You’ve inspired me to pay him (and the bees!) a visit and buy some beautiful comb, straight from the hive. The ultimate of treats. Give thanks!
    I’ll be making and enjoying this for sure, thank you Sarah! xx

  56. Teffy @ Teffy's Perks

    This looks so so sooo incredible!
    Not only does the bread look insanely delicious, but your photography is just stunning!
    Love how you’ve used honeycomb, I need to head to a farmers market on Saturday and look for some as it’s just amazing!

  57. Annie

    I love honeycomb. I used to take it for granted a little, it was always presented when I went to visit my grandparents, as my grandfather kept bees, but now that he has passed away I realise how lucky I was to have what seemed like an endless supply on my visits. The bread sounds like a lovely accompaniment for when I next find some honeycomb.

  58. Vera@growntocook

    This looks scrumptious! I have made pumpkin bread once before but the recipe called for canned pumpkin puree and I made my own and it did not turn out so wel (too wet). I like that you start from scratch!
    Als: we sometimes buy pieces of honeycomb at our local farmer’s market, but I have never figured out anything to do with it other than eat as is. So thank for the wonderful recipe!

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  60. Jodi

    So gorgeous! Bees are the most incredible little things, aren’t they? Congratulations to you on getting your hands on some beautiful honeycomb, the pumpkin bread sounds pretty perfect too! x

  61. Gretchen @ Two Healthy Kitchens

    So beautiful!! I’ve always been amazed at how those tiny little bees make such perfect little containers for their honey. I loved learning some fun new facts about bees and honey, too!

    This pumpkin bread is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I love that it’s not too sweet … and grilling it is a truly phenomenal idea!! I can’t wait to make this! Pinning!!!

  62. Kathy

    Now I’m really frustrated! The time share on B.C.’s Vancouver Island where we are vacationing has no bakeware in the kitchen. Can you believe that. But how can I live for 2 weeks without trying this? I may have to break down and buy some supplies including sourcing out some local bee keeper. Looks totally amazing Sarah and the recipe includes so many of my favourite ingredients.

  63. S @ Modern Granola

    I have never been sure whether or not it was okay to eat the waxy honeycomb. This is so interesting! I’ve also never tried toasting a loaf cake like this… what a great excuse to try your recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  64. Rachel

    Beautiful, Sarah. It’s wonderful to see you so passionate about what you do. The making of honey is a truly amazing processing!

  65. Allison

    Just wondering about the gluten-free option as well. Any flours or other tweeks that you recommend trying? Looks so deliciously yummy! Can’t wait to try it!!!! 🙂

    • Sarah Britton

      Hi Allison,

      Just substitute the spelt flour with an all-purpose GF flour blend. I like Pamela’s brand – the results are always consistent! Good luck and enjoy!

      xo, Sarah B

  66. Jasmine

    Yes! The answer to prayers! I live in Australia where it is a major event to find a tin of pumpkin… so as with the honeycomb dilemma, a tin MUST be saved for a worthy recipe. Your blog is my favourite, and your banana bread also my favourite, so a recipe for pumpkin bread from you makes my heart very happy indeed!

  67. Because Yum

    Wow! That looks wonderful. I have a huge Blue Hubbard Squash waiting for a slew of recipes before I can crack into it. I’ll definitely make some of this bread with it. Thanks for another winner!

  68. Linda

    ooohh honeycomb! I haven’t had it since I was a child…and I still remember it as one of the best things ever one could eat… I need to make some new friends, of the kind that keep bees 😉 Pumpkin bread looks yum, i usually make a version with raisins but this seems delicious, I will have to try it!

  69. Alexa

    Your pictures are so beautiful and enticing, and the recipe looks great. It so happens I have a pumpkin waiting on my counter for a wind of inspiration. I’ll try to substitute the spelt with gluten free flour. I appreciate your write-up on the nutritional benefits of honeycomb.

  70. Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table

    Absolutely amazing. I have often tasted fresh honey with honeycomb chunks mixed into it (from Israel, like the first commenter), but I’ve never gotten my hands on a bona-fide, hot-off-the-presses, oozing tray of honeycomb. This would definitely be one of the biggest perks of blogging!

  71. Maike

    Wow. Just wow. This post has me wanting to rush over to my kitchen and make this bread. Like NOW. Even though it’s way past 10 pm here and I’ve already made a fair share of Pumpkin bread this season (see my post about Vegan Pumpkin Bread – elderflowerkitchen.com/festive-pumpkin-bread/ ). But OH MY this looks so amazing. I love the Banana Bread recipe and this should be so. very. good. I am going to make this as soon as possible… And love what you said about honeycomb! My dad once brought us some from Israel and it was delightful. I love how gooey it tastes, quite a bit of chew but oh so delicous. Thanks for constant inspiration!! Lots of love.

    • Sarah Britton

      Hi Angela,

      Thanks for sharing the recipe!
      For a gluten-free version, just substitute the spelt flour with an all-purpose GF flour blend. I like Pamela’s brand – the results are always consistent! Good luck and enjoy!

      xo, Sarah B

  72. Jesica Cervonaro

    love all your recipes there amazing. Wanted to know if you could substitute the spelt flour to a gluten free flour?? And which one you think would work best in this recipe?? Say quinoa or rice flour??or even coconut flour maybe? thanks 🙂

  73. Alexandra

    Ooh, honeycomb is the best! This looks fantastic (as always) and I love your comments on the healthfulness of honey and honeycomb. This is a truly seasonal and comforting recipe, thank you!

  74. jaime : the briny

    oh lawd. this is gorgeous. congratulations on your frame of honeycomb; what a beautiful gift. and what you made with it is so perfect. keeping it in its simple and wonderfully complex form and letting it shine on top of comforting seasonal flavors. i love it.

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