Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

The Recipe

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup oil (I prefer canola, it's your choice)
4 eggs
1 1/3 lb. roasted pumpkin puree (see The Story)
2 cups AP unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp or so freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup chopped walnuts

Grease & flour 3 8.5x4.5 inch loaf pans; preheat oven to 350.

Beat sugar, oil and eggs in bowl until very light, stopping once or twice to scrape sides of bowl. Add pumpkin, flour, powder & soda, salt and spices, and molasses; mix until all flour disappears and everything is combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally, one minute on medium/low speed should do it. Don't overmix. Add walnuts and stir briefly to combine.

Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake loaves in the center of the oven for approx. 50-55 minutes, testing with toothpick for doneness. Let cool at least 15 minutes before trying to remove from pans, then let cool on wire racks. You can wrap them up before they're fully at room temperature.

The Story

These freeze beautifully. Quick breads are often better the day after they're baked, so making these the night before makes a quick breakfast in the morning. This recipe is higher in fiber and lower in sugar than most pumpkin bread recipes, so it's good for breakfast in my mind.

I make this with my own roasted pumpkin. Take one "cheese" pumpkin (also called pie pumpkins or baking pumpkins, they are the squat creamy-yellowish pumpkins that are best for baking), cut it into quarters and scoop out the seeds, and roast at 375 until done through, maybe 45 min. to one hour. Let cool before handling. Scrape the flesh out of the shell and puree in a food processor. I then fill plastic containers with 20-21 ounces of puree, just enough for this recipe, and freeze them. I can get maybe 3-4 recipes worth of pumpkin out of a good sized cheese pumpkin. This puree has A LOT more water than canned pumpkin; if you want to make this recipe with canned pumpkin puree, use one 16 oz can and 3/4 cup of water.

I've been told canned "pumpkin" is really Hubbard squash. I wonder if it's an urban legend (rural legend?). I can say for sure that the lovely big orange carving pumpkins are NOT good for baking. They're really wet and the flesh is tasteless.

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