Monday, November 2, 2009

Pumpkin Bread from Scratch

I have spent years carving pumpkins for myself and now enjoy the fall ritual with my children. The process is well established. Every October I visit the farmer’s market or (store display) and pick out a few winners. Once the pumpkins get home, I spread the newspaper out across the kitchen table and begin carving with the family. In the years past, I would usually retain the seeds for a roasted tasty snack. I don’t do this so much anymore as the seeds are well intermingled with the gooey pulp which all gets thrown away in one swoop.

Pumpkins are more to me than just the once a year jack o lantern. This tasty fruit proves an excellent ingredient for pies, breads, and soups every fall and winter. I took the liberty of purchasing a smaller pie pumpkin with the goal of baking a pumpkin bread from scratch starting with the fruit in it pure unprocessed form. I usually cheat every year and opt for the Libby’s canned pumpkin. There is nothing wrong with taking the short cut as it proves to be very convenient and produces some very tasty dessert items. While I have some larger pumpkins already carved, I though it better to go with a smaller pie pumpkin that will give me a yield of about a cup or so of pumpkin meat. My methodology was simple; to yield the puree needed for pumpkin bread which will be baked the following day. I begin the pumpkin puree process by skinning or removing the outer skin of the pumpkin. I then seed it, and chop it up to be cooked down in a hot water bath until tender. Once the pumpkin is soft, I will strain and puree in my food processor. The puree will be transformed into a container to cool for a while on the counter, and then be relocated to the refrigerator for safe keeping for my pumpkin bread.

 As you see in the pictures, the process was complete yielding a much orange-yellow vibrant color than what you will find in the canned pumpkin variety. At the end of baking process, this will not matter as the batter will turn brown anyway.

Pumpkin Bread Recipe using pureed pumpkin

1 cup pumpkin puree (as prepared in the description above).
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
1 ½ cup white sugar
1 ½ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Grease on 9 x 5 bread pan.
3. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice).
4. Add eggs, water, oil, and pumpkin puree.
5. Stir until well blended.
6. Pour into the greased pans.
7. Bake for about an hour. Insert toothpick to check for doneness.
8. If dough is not complete cooked, bake additional five to ten minutes.
9. Remove from oven and cool.

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