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Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin bread tastes so quintessentially of the fall, with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and molasses. Plus an optional orange glaze! Use canned or homemade pumpkin purée.

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Oh, pumpkin season! There’s a chill in the air, kids and adults alike are planning their Halloween costumes, and pumpkins are pouring out of the local markets. Now’s the time for pumpkin bread, don’t you think?

THE BEST PUMPKIN FOR PUMPKIN BREAD

Most people use canned puréed pumpkin for baking recipes like this because of the consistent results. Although if you want, you can easily roast a sugar pumpkin, butternut squash, or kabocha pumpkin for its purée. You’ll get more roasted and caramelized flavor that way. Steaming or boiling also works, though you’ll miss the extra flavor from the roasting.

CAN I COOK WITH A HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN?

Not all pumpkins are equal when it comes to cooking! Those large carving pumpkins? Probably best left to carving, and maybe salvaging the seeds to roast.

Jack-o-lantern pumpkins are raised more for their durability than for their taste.

 

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN PUMPKIN PURÉE

Want to make your own pumpkin purée? It’s easy! All you have to do is cut a small sugar pumpkin (or kabocha or butternut squash) in half horizontally and scrape out the seeds and stringy insides. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on a lined baking sheet, and bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Once the pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the flesh and use it in any recipe that calls for pumpkin purée. Freeze whatever is left over for future use.

If you are working with pumpkin pieces instead of a whole pumpkin, roast or boil them until tender, then remove and discard the skin.

WAYS TO ADAPT THIS PUMPKIN BREAD RECIPE

This pumpkin bread recipe is quite adaptable to different types of pumpkin purée and spice mixes. We took an old recipe from Fannie Farmer as a base and have made several changes to it over the years.

We have also made a lovely optional glaze for the pumpkin bread —with orange juice, orange zest, vanilla, and powdered sugar.

Here are some ways you can adapt this recipe:

  • Mix-ins: The recipe calls for optional pecans or walnuts. You can also add a half cup of chocolate chips or dried, sweetened cranberries. Add a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger if you want more of a gingerbread flavor.
  • Sweeteners: We are using white sugar with added molasses. You can sub those out with 1 1/4 cup of packed dark brown sugar, or sub the molasses with dark honey.
  • Butter or oil: The original Fanny Farmer recipe used 1/2 cup of oil. We love the flavor that melted butter brings to this bread, but you can easily use olive oil, or a combination. You can also use melted coconut oil.
  • Flax eggs: Looking for an option to the eggs? You can use flax eggs instead—flaxseeds whisked together in water.

MAKE-AHEAD AND FREEZE

Life most loaf cakes, this one freezes quite well unglazed. Wrap it first in plastic wrap, then in foil. Freeze for up to three months.

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