Now that it’s November I can officially stop whining that the Summer is almost over, it’s done and like the first few days of November celebrate the dead, it’s a haunting reminder that my pool will not be used for quite a long stretch. Breathing a deep breath it’s onto the FALL and WINTER with the end of the year Holidays in front of us in all their PUMPKIN-Y spiced deliciousness…no..no…i’m not talking about the #PSL everything that has taken over everything we eat or smell but something enduring. An American baked good long made long before Starbucks was even thought of. PUMPKIN BREAD. An American “Quick Bread” as my mom’s old cookbooks called it..a bread made without waiting for it to rise from yeast, but using other leavening agents like Baking Powder or Baking Soda. I’ve been cooking for years and still do not know why one is used over the other in certain dishes, but I’ll just do what I’m told. For this Pumpkin Bread of mine, Baking Soda is the choice. Do any of you remember your family baking this in a coffee can? I do. Another great memory of things that in the absence of a calendar or your iPhone giving you the date, you know what month of the year it is and certainly know the season. Pumpkin Bread means October thru January. Let’s get you in the mood..I like “mood”…makes for a better eating and cooking experience..so here’s my current view..my home..thanks to my wife Deb for doing what I can’t (nor want) to do, and that is decorate the house, set the mood, make our home…I’ll happily stay in the kitchen.
If that doesn’t make you want to hang with some Pilgrims and Native North Eastern Americans and enjoy the dried corn and pumpkins, nothing will. Something about these colors too, they are warm..evocative…and the spices in the bread, while sharp on their own blend into this orange hug that makes you happy. Pumpkin Bread is supposed to taste of Pumpkins and Spice. As the leaves turn and peak with the colors of Fall, fill your home with the warm scent of this Pumpkin Maple Sunflower Seed Bread. Now let’s go into the kitchen…
TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes SERVES: 8
1 1/2 CUPS UNBLEACHED FLOUR
1 CUP SUGAR
1 TSP. BAKING SODA
1/4 TSP. EACH OF CLOVES, ALLSPICE, CINNAMON, NUTMEG
1/2 TSP. OF GINGER
3/4 TSP. KOSHER SALT
2 EGGS BROUGHT TO ROOM TEMPERATURE, ORGANIC IF POSSIBLE, WELL BEATEN
1 1/8 CUP PUMPKIN PUREE (I RECOMMEND TRADER JOE’S ORGANIC PUMPKIN, but any good pumpkin puree works, If you are crazy enough to do the pumpkin puree from scratch, remember it’s a Sugar Pumpkin that’s used for Pumpkin pies, not Jack o’Lanterns, everything about them is wrong for this smooth puree, they are watery, tough to work with and full of fibrous flesh, so..while they look like the right thing..they are a different type of pumpkin than what’s used for cooking pumpkin..)
1 TSP PURE VANILLA
2 TBS PURE MAPLE SYRUP plus 1 TBS for finishing the loaf
1/2 CUP VEGETABLE OIL
2 1/2 TBS ROASTED SALTED SUNFLOWER SEEDS
Pre heat your oven to 350 Degrees F. You will need 2 large bowls. In one, crack the eggs and beat well, then add the oil, mix well..then the pumpkin, vanilla and maple syrup till smooth and well blended. In the other bowl sift ALL the dry ingredients together. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry and gently combine the two using a folding motion JUST until lumps are gone, and it’s a smooth batter. Over mixing will toughen the bread. Pour into a well greased loaf pan : Then top the loaf with the sunflower seeds :Place on a baking sheet and into the middle rack of the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, rotating at the 30 minute mark. That helps to evenly bake your bread. The bread is done when it’s springy in the center and a tester run into the center of the loaf comes out clean. It should look well risen and like this: Here’s a close up of the top of the bread. After the bread has sat out for 5 minutes, take it off the hot pan and leave it to cool on a wire rack. Drizzle the additional Maple Syrup over the top of the loaf. Now leave it to completely cool before you serve/slice. Fast forward 3 hours….time to slice it..LOOK AT THAT!~!! Moist, warm, spicy, you taste the pumpkin in the background..it’s wonderful. PLEASE don’t short cut and use Pancake Syrup..no lecture on Corn Syrup here other than Pancake Syrup is Corn Syrup with imitation flavorings and colors added…it’s texture is all wrong for this too. So, if you plan on making this make sure you get yourself a nice bottle of American or Canadian Pure Maple Syrup, my favorite is the DARK AMBER grade.
I concede, I wave the white flag..Summer is over…let the Pumpkin Bread bake. Enjoy!!!