Sunday, November 6, 2011

Regrets and Sweet Requests - Pumpkin Bread

I meant to post this yesterday, but my ankle is sprained.  Given that I can make batter anywhere but the oven is two flights of stairs away, I decided I must demonstrate common sense* some time.  I'm supposed to be an adult, you know.  

Anyway, the post I meant to publish.

I miss my camera.  I broke the screen two months ago and have been borrowing my boyfriend's family's camera since, but it just doesn't inspire me like my old companion.  Maybe it's just that I won't ever think of this camera as mine, maybe it's because it sometimes refuses to focus.  I have been trying to take pictures blind with my camera, but the only turn out once in a while.  Maybe it's really just my fault for being such a lazy blogger and failing to document the past few things I've made.  And with such a photogenic subject, too.  

Taken the second time I made the bread.  I took this picture nearly blind since the screen is broken on my camera, and was stunned to see this.  It's one of the best pictures I've ever taken (is that good or bad...?)
This pumpkin bread was really a result of my boyfriend at the grocery store.  While I looked on the lowest shelf for flour, he grinned excitedly and pointed to a colorful box at eye level.  The resulting conversation went something like this:  Can you make that?  *raised eyebrow*  Well... can you make it, but not out of a box?  Yes, sweetie, yes I can.  

A few weeks later, he kindly drove me to Trader Joe's and set me loose.  I gathered up cocoa powder, apples for the tart, pumpkin pie spice and most exciting of all, 2 cans of organic pumpkin.  May I also take the opportunity now to mention that he bought me a pound and a half of organic brown sugar?  That stuff is rich and crunchy, with large crystals, a heady aroma and a heavenly flavor.  I put some in the pumpkin bread, but sadly I think a lot of the flavor was lost.  I'll have to save it for a shortbread or something.  Mmmm, shortbread...  Now where was I?  Ah, yes, organic pumpkin.  I rarely have the opportunity to eat and bake with organic anything, considering my diet consists mainly of school food.  Here it is, in all its glory:

Mmmm, pumpkin.  Beautifully orange, subtly scented and mildly flavored.
Behind it is the apple pie, all wrapped up and ready to go.

Interestingly, a loaf only requires half a can of pumpkin.  I only have one loaf pan and I was running out of oil besides, so I cut the recipe in half the first time.  I also reduced the sugar a tad, but should have upped the spices.  Boyfriend said there wasn't enough cinnamon.  Next time!  Otherwise, I love this pumpkin bread.  Soft, fluffy, fine crumb and full of pumpkin flavor.  The crust is just a tad crisp and flakes when cut, but it's delicious.  The recipe is a cross between Kirbie's Favorite Pumpkin Bread and Ultimate Pumpkin Bread from the Streaming Gourmet. 

Pumpkin Bread from Kirbie's Cravings and Streaming Gourmet
Makes 1 9" x 5" loaf

1 cup pumpkin purée (½ 15-oz. can pure pumpkin)
2 eggs
¼ cup oil
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
1 cup sugar
⅓ cup water/milk (see note)
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 large mixing bowl
1 wooden spoon (or electric mixer)
1 rubber spatula
2-cup liquid measure
¼ cup dry measure
1 cup dry measure
¼ teaspoon measure
1 teaspoon measure


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Butter a loaf pan, then line with parchment paper, leaving some paper hanging over the sides for easy removal.  Up to you whether you want to butter the top of the paper as well.

2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then mix in the oil.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat until completely mixed and fluffy.

3. Mix in the pumpkin and water*, then fold in the flour, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon.  Scrape down the sides, and don't forget the bottom of the bowl!  With thick batters like this one, sometimes the bottom gets left out.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 20 minutes on a cooling rack, then slice and enjoy!   

Taking pictures of the insides is harder than I thought...

Note:  Instead of water, I used a ⅓ cup of my leftover liquid from the apple pie.  I think it added extra sweetness, but didn't make much difference in terms of spice.  I'd use milk next time.

*In the morning, though, hunger overruled common sense and I hobbled downstairs with a double batch of pumpkin bread batter, a loaf pan and a cupcake pan.  The muffins were disappointing straight out of the oven, but given time to cool, they develop the same glorious flavor and texture I love about pumpkin bread.  They'd be great saved for breakfast, particularly since pumpkin bread tends to deepen in flavor the next day.  Oh, and the full recipe (1 full 15-oz. can of pumpkin) makes 24 muffins or 1 loaf and 12 muffins.  The muffins take about 25 minutes to bake. 

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