Thursday, 11 October 2007

Pumpkin Loaf

I haven't made this for a while, but we succumbed to a pie pumpkin at a market a while back, and it was high time I did something with it. I have to say I enjoyed this a lot, but I don't know how necessary it really is to cook your pumpkin from scratch. In general, I'm a big fan of fresh produce over canned, but pumpkin is a reasonable exception. The canned stuff is inexpensive, good quality and allows impulse baking. And by the time you are done cooking your fresh pumpkin, it's not that different. Just be sure to get plain canned pumpkin and NOT pumpkin pie filling.

If you wanted to use a light vegetable oil instead of butter, that would be fine.

2 loaves - 32 slices
Anywhere between 1 and 3 hours, depending on if your pumpkin is fresh or canned

Pumpkin Loaf1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup Sucanat
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups cooked pumpkin purée

3 cups soft whole wheat flour
OR 1 3/4 cup brown rice flour and 1 scant cup barley flour**
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt

Cream the butter, then beat in the Sucanat and the sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and the pumpkin*.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter 2 standard loaf pans.

Beat the wet mixture again - the Sucanat is rather granular and takes a little while to dissolve. It should be mostly dissolved by the time you are ready to continue. Mix the dry ingredients, and fold them into the pumpkin mix. Divide the batter between the 2 loaf pans, and smooth it out. Bake until the loaves are done, about 40 to 45 minutes. Turn out on a rack to cool.

*TO PREPARE FRESH PUMPKIN:

Cut a lid in the pumpkin, and remove all the seeds and stringy bits. Digression: I then pick the stringy bits out of the seeds, rinse them, toss them with a little oil and some seasonings, and roast them at 350°F for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned and crunchy. Yum. Almost makes fiddling with a pumpkin worth the hassle. Sorry; next put yer lid back on the pumkin and roast it at 350°F until tender, say 45 minutes to an hour. Let cool.

Cut up the pumpkin and peel off the skin. Mash or purée the flesh. Spread it out in a heavy skillet and cook it over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until it thickens; anywhere between half an hour and an hour. It may caramelize slightly; that's fine. After this treatment, my entire pumpkin yielded 2 cups. (It was closer to 4 to start with.) Yes, this is a pain in the arse. Yes, it improves the pumpkin immensely. If you can't be bovvered - and really, I don't blame you - you might as well go with the canned stuff, which as previously noted, is perfectly respectable good stuff. But without seeds.

**If using the non-wheat flours, I find it's best to let the batter sit for 5 or 10 minutes before the loaves go into the oven.

2 comments:

SF Money Musings said...

This is a silly question - but are you referring to the pumpkin the orange round ones? Would you recommend using canned pumpkin puree or any other types of pumpkin or squash as a substitute?

Ferdzy said...

Sorry! I assume everyone knows which pumpkins to use - the little orange pie pumpkins, not the big field pumpkins used for Hallowe'en decorations, which are edible but bland and watery.

Canned pumpkin is just fine. As for other types of squash, canned pumpkin often contains butternut squash, and it's an excellent substitute in pumpkin recipes.