Friday, October 5, 2012

Pumpkin Gingerbread


 This bread smells like the best of fall- spicy, rich pumpkin with ginger and molasses undertones…yum!

I want to get this recipe up in prime time for pumpkin season. Some lovely ladies asked me in the grocery store the other day  which pumpkin I like to use for pumpkin bread. Honestly, it depends on what I have on hand. Of course, I love to keep winter squash and pumpkins on hand for all kinds of recipes as well as pureed squash in the freezer just waiting to be used. I have also often made this pumpkin bread using canned pumpkin puree, which is works great here for ease and convenience. It is not quite as flavorful but there is a lot of other things here to bring flavor so I think canned is fine if you don't have time, inclination or fresh pumpkins :-).

If you want to use a fresh roasted pumpkin, here are a few words on choosing the right pumpkin or squash to cook. First, use small sugar pumpkins but not the big jack-o- lantern style pumpkins you would buy for carving. Why? Well, they are bred to be great for carving but they are stringy, watery, not as tasty and have less meat than pumpkin varieties intended for cooking. This is true for pies, breads or other dishes. But you can use many things other than traditional little orange sugar pumpkins. Winter squash can be combined with pumpkin or other squash for a wonderful mix for whatever the recipe calls for.  I like to combine the sweet intense flavor of buttercup or butternut squash with the fluffier texture of the kabocha squash. Sugar pumpkins go well with any of those. I don’t use acorn squash or delicata in breads, they are too juicy and have a more delicate flavor. Try to keep some squash puree in your freezer or some canned pumpkin in the pantry so you are ready to make this spicy pumpkin bread.


By the way, you can certainly make this as muffins or even mini-muffins. It is a dense, moist bread with lots of flavor. I like it more as a dessert or in the afternoon with tea. The gingerbread like flavor really makes this one a treat. If you are not a big fan of ginger, leave out the candied ginger. I also add dates to this bread to increase moisture and sweetness, but they are also optional.

This recipe is one I came up with years ago for the county fair. The judges liked it :-)  I hope you do, too!
    
Pumpkin Gingerbread

3 1/2 Cups  Flour *
1/2 - ¾ cup White Sugar
 1 ½ cups Brown Sugar
2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ginger
1 -2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (blend of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, etc.)
 1 ½   tsp.  Salt
             

4 eggs -- Beaten
2/3 Cup Oil
2/3 Cup Molasses ( if you prefer ,skip molasses- increase sugar by ½ cup)
1/2 Cup Applesauce
1/3  Cup  Water
2-2 ½ Cups Pumpkin, Canned or  fresh, roasted, peeled and pureed**

1/3-1/2 cup dates, chopped, optional

¼ -1/3 Cup Crystallized Ginger – minced very Fine, Opt.


Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
*If preferred, substitute 2 ½ c.white flour + 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour for the white flour.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, soda, salt and spices. Mix in sugars.

In medium bowl, mix wet ingredients- eggs, oil, molasses, applesauce, water and pumpkin.
Stir into dry ingredients.  Add chopped dates and crystallized ginger, if desired. Spoon batter into 3 greased  8x4 loaf pans ( or 2 larger pans and 1 mini-loaf if needed). Bake 1 hour ( check at 50 minutes)  or until toothpick comes out clean.
 You may also make pumpkin muffins and bake them for about 18-20 minutes.
 Serve warm or room temperature. For a sweet treat, add a dollop of whipped cream dusted with cinnamon sugar.  Wrap left overs in air tight container, but only once they are completely cool.  May be frozen.

Makes 3 Loaves.

 *You may make fresh pumpkin or squash puree by cutting the pumpkin in half and scooping out seeds. Place, cut side down in large baking dish with ½ cup or so of water. Bake for about 45-60 minutes ( check after 40m) until very soft. Let it cool and scoop out meat and place about half, in food processor, puree until smooth. You may use sugar pumpkins, buttercup, butternut, kabocha squash or a combination of a couple such as I used here- sugar pumpkin and kabocha.

 

 

 

2 comments:

  1. I could really use this cake, it sounds heavenly :D

    Cheers
    CCU

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for stopping by, CCU! It is kinda of a fall like recipe while you are in spring, but it is tasty!

    ReplyDelete