There’s nothing that says “autumn” like pumpkin. Visually it matches the orange tones of the changing foliage. Its texture makes it a great choice for moist, filling comfort foods. One of our favorites is a tasty quick bread made with pumpkin, cranberries, and walnuts. It’s a must have on Thanksgiving Day. Served with a hot cup of coffee and slathered with a cream cheese spread, it’s a filling and satisfying snack. You can use fresh pumpkin puree in place of the canned (see instructions at end of recipe) and also you can substitute dried cranberries if fresh are not available.
Ingredients: (for 2 loaves)
2 ¾ c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. cloves
½ tsp. nutmeg
2 tbsp. orange zest
1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature (2 sticks)
1 c. white sugar
1c. light brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 15 Oz. can of pumpkin puree
1 ½ c. coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1c. chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter, or spray with a non-stick vegetable spray, two – 9 by 5 x 3 inch loaf pans. Zest an orange for 2 tbsp. of orange zest.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until fluffy and light (approx. 3 min.) Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and pumpkin puree and mix on low speed till combined. Slowly add the flour mixture until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the chopped cranberries and walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake the bread for about 55 – 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the loaf center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes before removing bread from pan.
Yield: 2 loaves
How to make your own Pumpkin Puree –
Instead of using the canned pumpkin, you can make your own pumpkin puree. You use the same small pumpkin varieties that you would use for making pies – Sugar Pie, Baby Bear, Baby Pam, Peek-A-Boo, Long Pie, New England Pie, or Long Island Cheese Pumpkin. These pumpkins range in size from 3 – 7 pounds. The larger pumpkins grown for carving Jack O Lanterns are to coarse and stringy, and not as sweet. Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise, scoop out all the seeds and stringy fibers leaving just the firm flesh, and place cut-side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours (dependent on size) or until you can pierce easily with a fork. Scoop the pulp out of the shell and puree in a food processor until smooth. Strain the puree through cheesecloth suspended over a strainer to remove as much liquid as possible. Allow to cool to room temperature before combining with the other ingredients.
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