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Cook the Book: Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting
Monday, December 03, 2007
After Thanksgiving I had canned pumpkin left in my cupboard and buttermilk in my fridge. The canned pumpkin was my back up, in case my roasted pumpkin didn't work out for pumpkin pie--but it worked out fine. The buttermilk was for the Cook's Illustrated Best Drop Biscuits, which I didn't make for Thanksgiving, but I did make later in the weekend. But buttermilk comes in such large quantities, I still had some.

So I went investigating into Dorie Greenspan's Baking book and found pumpkin muffins. And then realized that I have no muffin tins. None. How this happens in a fairly well-equipped kitchen (sans KitchenAid mixer and pastry cutter), I don't know. So I made pumpkin bread, instead. Now, in the cute photo, I have two loaves of the stuff, but in a repeat of the recipe, I made one and got a thicker loaf, which worked much better.

Pumpkin Bread
adapted from "Pumpkin Muffins" in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours, page 13

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I didn't have this, so I just used ground nutmeg)
Pinch of ground allspice
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree (one 15 oz can renders enough for a double batch of this stuff)
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup moist golden raisins (I only had regular, dried out purple raisins, but I soaked them in warm water for a few minutes and they plumped up nicely)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (pecans were left over from cornbread stuffing, so in they went)

About 1/3 cup unsalted raw sunflower seeds, for topping (I skipped this because I didn't have it, but it looked delicious in the book).

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray loaf pan and center a rack in the oven.

2. What will we do with all those dry ingredients? Of course we'll whisk them together (that'd be the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices).

3. Beat (or hand-stir) the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add the pumpkin and buttermilk, stir.

4. Now add the dry ingredients a bit at a time and don't overmix.

5. Add the raisins and nuts.

6. Pour/spread into loaf pan.

7. Bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

8. Cool for a few minutes, remove from pan and let continue to cool.

Yummy warm from the oven or toasted and topped with a little cream cheese frosting, cream cheese being another ingredient left from Thanksgiving. Dorie's recipe for this, from "Bill's Big Carrot Cake" recipe (pages 254-255):

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound (3 3/4 cups) confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice or 1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional and I didn't use it)

1. Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth.

2. Add sugar, beat until smooth.

3. Add the lemon juice.

4. Go ahead and add the coconut, if you must.

<--This photo is the dinner Lenny got the evening I baked the pumpkin bread (which I made in the morning). It's just plain scrambled egg, a piece of sausage I didn't use to stuff my onions for Thanksgiving, and two thick slices of pumpkin bread, toasted, with cream cheese frosting melting all over it like a glaze.

This bread got good reviews and has this amazing orange-mustard color when cut into. Without nuts and raisins, I baked up another round (making only one loaf) and served it for snack at my youth center, with the cream cheese frosting. It was demolished fairly quickly, although the kids hesitated at first--its color is pretty pronounced. But it has a nice texture and very wintry taste.

Now to get me some muffin tins...
posted by Rose @ 6:25 AM  
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