Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread, originally uploaded by chrisfreeland2002.

When I was in Australia two weeks ago, pumpkin was turning up in the oddest dishes - on sandwiches and in quiches & stuffed pastas. This was a good thing, as Chris and I both love pumpkin, and it made me just the tiniest bit homesick to be missing out on prime pumpkin time in the States. So, as soon as I could find some time to cook something to blog about, I knew it would have pumpkin in it.

I went with a fairly traditional pumpkin bread, mostly because Chris Cozzoni listed it at the top of his favorite pumpkin dishes (I live to serve). I used one of my mom's recipes, but of course found a few ways to amp up the flavors by adding in some of my favorite pumpkin-enhancing spices (cinnamon, cloves, fresh ground nutmeg) and crunchy mix-ins and toppings (dried cranberries, walnuts, pumpkin seeds).

One last note: A good friend, and one of the original South Comptonites, Eric Becker, gave me a fantastic gift years and years ago. I was complaining that I didn't have any loaf pans and Eric, in all his generosity & wisdom, gave me 4 mini loaf pans (5.75 x 3.25 x 2.25-in.), rather than 1 or 2 of the regular sized ones. That random act of kindness has begat many more, as I now make 4 mini loaves of breads (pumpkin, banana, zucchini), save one for us, put one in the freezer, and are left with two to give out to friends and neighbors. I would definitely recommend that everyone have a set of 4 mini loaf pans on hand, in addition to 2 regular pans, as those around you will be happy to receive a little loaf of something from time to time.

Dry Ingredients:
3 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

Remaining ingredients:
3 C sugar
1 C vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 can pumpkin

Toppings & mix-ins:
-dried cranberries
-chopped walnuts
-pumpkin seeds (also sold as pepitas)

Preheat oven to 350degrees. Grease and flour 4 mini loaf pans or 2 regular sized ones.

In a large bowl, measure and combine the dry ingredients. Sift into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, or using a stand mixer, beat the sugar and oil until well combined. Beat in the eggs and pumpkin, then add flour mixture, stirring just until the dry ingredients are dampened. Pour mixture into prepared pans.

If you're going to go with the cranberries, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds (all three are great together, or mix and match your faves), add them to the top of each pan then use a knife to cut them into the batter. Sprinkle some on top of the batter, then bake for 1hr, or longer as needed. Check for doneness by sticking a toothpick into the loaf; if it comes out clean it is ready.

Let loaves cool for 5 minutes, then turn out of loaf pans onto a rack. You can use a knife to separate the loaf from the pan, if needed, but the grease + flour should make them pop right out. Let the loaves cool to room temperature, then wrap with aluminum foil. These loaves are actually better the second or third day, so try reeeeaaaally hard to resist cutting into them straight away.

No comments: