Pumpkin Spice Loaf
Category: Desserts & Sweets | Blog URL: http://www.turkishmuse.com/2009/12/whats-cooking-pumpkin-spice-bread.html
This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.
Photo: Barbara Isenberg
Anybody still out there? Yes? Oh good! I'm so glad you haven't left me after my little hiatus there. What have I been doing?, you ask. Oh, the usual. Drank too many martinis on Saturday night at a dinner party, which left me with absolutely no brain cells to write on Sunday. Then got caught up with work on Monday and had somewhat unexpected guests arrive at 8 am on Tuesday.
But then I put on my cooking apron and decided to do something with the frozen pumpkin puree that's been sitting in my freezer for a month. Come hell or high water, I decided, something must be done with it.
So I searched my favorite cooking websites and found this, which seemed to be the perfect pumpkin spice bread. It got rave reviews from commenters and the pictures looked oh so divine.
Sadly, however, I had to make several substitutions seeing as how I did not have canned pumpkin (yuck), sour cream or grapeseed oil. I used fresh pumpkin puree, yogurt and corn oil, respectively, in their places, and the bread suffered for it.
Oh, it smelled just divine, don't get me wrong. But the bread was soggy and mushy inside, a result, I think, of too much water in the puree and yogurt. And maybe I didn't bake it long enough. Who knows?
But oh the smells. All that fresh ground nutmeg and cloves and cinnamon....oh my goodness, I knew that I had to try again. And so I went out in search of another recipe, this time knowing that it couldn't have as much water in it, which meant that sour cream or yogurt was out, and preferably called for pumpkin puree, not canned pumpkin.
And oh, I found it. And it was wonderful.
Now, I've eaten pumpkin spice bread as a kid, and it is always good. But this....this is AMAZING. And it's all because of one single thing: fresh spices. They are the single most important part of this recipe.
I used to gripe that it's hard to find ground spices at the supermarket in Turkey, but fresh is so much better, even if I do have to go to three different stores to get enough spices for one recipe and even if I do have to look up what the heck to do with whole cloves online.
Be sure to buy fresh whole nutmeg, which you can grate down with the smaller side of a cheese grater. And purchase whole cloves too, which you can pound into powder in a plastic sandwich bag with a hammer. Or, if you don't have a hammer (and what expat does?) use the heel of a heavy boot.
Hey, I'm all about working with what you've got.
The cinnamon I used was not fresh (that is, I didn't grate any cinnamon sticks for this recipe, but I think I will next time so I've specified to do so in the recipe), but it was fairly new so that helped.
The first loaf I baked of this pumpkin bread was a test one to see if the recipe worked. And huzzah! It did! I baked a second loaf to freeze for the Christmas party we're hosting this Saturday, but the bread wasn't 20 minutes out of the oven before I couldn't help myself, I had to slice into it and eat a big chunk off the end.
All right, I thought. Well, nobody has to know that the end is missing. Everyone will assume someone else at the party ate it.
Nah, I said. Who cares? Here's hoping the pumpkin man at the pazar has more fresh pumpkin for sale!
Pumpkin Spice Bread
Adapted from Simply Recipes
1 1/2 cups flour (210 grams)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar (200 grams)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree (1/4 litre)
1/2 cup olive oil (1 dL)
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated cinnamon sticks
Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C. Sift together flour, salt, sugar and baking soda.
Mix together the pumpkin, olive oil, eggs and spices with a whisk or a hand-held blender. Combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly. Mix until just combined.
Pour into a well-buttered (don't skimp!) loaf pan (any size is fine, as long as it is shaped like a loaf of bread). Bake about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean and the top is browned and crackly.
After 10 minutes in the loaf pan, turn out the bread onto a cooling rack.