Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pumpkin Bread, Sans Cans!

I've posted about pumpkin bread before, but nothing I've made beats Alton Brown's pumpkin bread recipe that uses shredded fresh pumpkin rather than the canned stuff. It's moist. It's pumpkin-y. It's just fantastic. The first time I made it, I was too lazy...

Ok, quick aside: the "z" key on my keyboard doesn't work. Do you have any idea how annoying it is to have to comb the interwebs looking for the letter to copy and paste, or figure out what letter I can type to trick blogger's spell check into realizing z is actually what I want? Thank goodness it's not a popular letter, but even just this short missive has several! Oiy!)

Anyway, I was too lazy to confirm how to toast the pumpkin seeds, and I forgot to toast them until the batter was basically all put together and ready to go into the oven, so i don't think I toasted them for long enough. Yeah, they turned out chewy. Chewy seeds is definitely not a texture that is appealing while eating pumpkin bread. I didn't mind it so much, and I liked the flavor they added, but Husband hated them and picked them out, like raisins out of a scone. For future reference, Self, to properly toast pumpkin seeds, bake at 375 for about 7 minutes (and maybe drizzle (Ack! Two of them!) some olive oil on them first). I basically did that, but it's worth another try with some patience on the side this time.

I used my Cuisinart with the shredding blade to make quick work of the pumpkin. If you don't have one of these, or some other mechanical means to shred...perhaps this recipe isn't for you... Or perhaps you have a friend who will let you sneak over to their house for 5 minutes to shred and run. One medium pumpkin yielded enough meat for 2 loaves.

It doesn't look like traditional pumpkin bread because rather than orange in color, it's more of a brown with wisps of orange throughout, but it sure tastes like it! You can't get any fresher than, well, fresh! This bread cooks low and slow to really let the bits of pumpkin cook and become soft and delicious. I was dubious about the recipe at first because there aren't a lot of spices, just cinnamon, I think. I was worried it would be bland, and when it comes to holiday baking I tend to fall over backwards for anything with lots of holiday spices (i.e. cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, etc.), but this bread was definitely not bland. The pumpkin is the star, and the cinnamon helps to give it a boost without overpowering it. Again, another reason it's important and fantastic that the recipes uses fresh pumpkin. Canned pumpkin, I think, would have been a bit bland indeed.

I've made it twice already (the second time without the pumpkin seeds), and it was delicious both times. In fact, I'm making it again tonight for my office holiday party tomorrow (along with a Snuggie for the gift exchange, how perfect is that?!). I'm going to try toasting the seeds again, but if that doesn't go over well, I'll try adding walnuts. I never get to add nuts to my baked goods because Husband whines that it ruins it. Ugh. Well Husband is out of town this week, so I can ruin all the pumpkin bread I want! Ha!

I have a feeling I'll be breaking this recipe out every time I see sugar pumpkins at the store. Sadly, that time of year seems to have come and gone already. Good thing I stocked up!

Hey, remember when I talked about making chicken stock? Well Lindsay and Taylor over at Love and Olive Oil just posted about making their own chicken stock, in a way quite different than the method I originally tried. They sweat the veggies in oil first, and simmer for about twice as long as I did. And they added way more herbs and spices, which is definitely something I was lacking. I have another carcass in the freezer (grrr!), so I might just have to give this one a go and report back. Wish me luck!


Freya's Human said...

I can't recall ever seeing sugar pumpkins in the store around here. Of course, I don't have any kitchen gadgets other than the hand crank of a mixer that I have. It's good times right there--especially when whipping cream is involved.

It does sound really good--I never thought to add pumpkin seeds to the bread but it totally makes sense.

JuLo said...

FH, really? No sugar pumpkins at all? I never noticed them until I actually looked. They're usually out around Halloween and start to disappear around Thanksgiving. At the stores I frequent, they are located with the other winter squash.

Flavor-wise, pumpkin seeds make perfect sense, but texture-wise, they're a bit too chewy I think. I think some pepitas sprinkled on top (rather than throughout) would be good.