Posts Tagged ‘Pumpkin’
I know the actual dates of when a new season begins hardly reflects the actual mood or feeling of the weather outside (last Saturday, otherwise known as Autumnal Equinox, I’m looking at you). But, the leaves on the trees are changing outside, I’ve actually had to wear a light cotton coat on my walk to school each morning and, most importantly, I have a nasty little cold. At least in my world, Fall has arrived.
Now, I’m no hypochondriac and I hate going to the doctor. Yet any time there is any sort of auto-immune attack in my body, I wither and whine like there’s no tomorrow. Yes, I’m on one of those types of people, the kind that where you only see their real, true colors when they have a moment of weakness, no matter how arbitrary or small that weakness may be. All of a sudden, I’ve been drinking komucha—a drink I otherwise consider a “hippie drink” under any other circumstances—and I’ve been popping those little, tasty orange vitamin C pills as if they alone contain the key to my salvation. Also, in case you haven’t noticed already, I may have become somewhat melodramatic.
But, the combination of this slight sickness and the start of Fall has its perks. Such as the excuse to make and eat lovely spiced baked goods that come warm from the oven like this pumpkin bread. Truth be told, I actually made this pumpkin bread the night before I woke up with a sore throat and a runny nose—I know, I know, it’s as if this pumpkin loaf knew what was in store for me and planned its timing around that!
No matter the fact that I’m the one that made it. If you’re a baker, you know that these baked things have a mind of their own. There’s a reason this one came out so moist, so pumpkin-y—it knew it had its duties laid out for it. Especially considering the fact that only one week before I made my first attempt at conquering pumpkin bread, and the results fell short. This loaf you see here is the “just right” version of balancing pumpkin flavor, spice level, and overall size.
It is worth noting that this loaf should have risen more—the baking powder I used is old and as a result it rose barely at all. The proportions in this recipe are all right though, for a tall, spiced and damp (in the best way) loaf. Also, due to the fact that I ran out of all-purpose flour, I used almost half-and-half of all-purpose to whole wheat flour. I didn’t notice anything negative as a result, and it made me feel so virtuous that I decided it deserved a lovely little glaze to accent the top of the loaf. It’s a really simple glaze of powdered sugar and a tablespoon or two of water, and it adds a small detail that I think make both the aesthetics and tastes of the cake just that much better.
Spiced Pumpkin Bread
Adapted loosely from Martha Stewart
Makes one 9-inch loaf
As noted above, your loaf will come out taller than mine did in the picture– just make sure you use active, non-expired baking powder! Also, I really, really recommend eating slices of this loaf cold from the fridge. Even if it’s cold out. The dense and moist texture of the bread is enhanced by the coldness. Try it!
butter, for greasing the pan
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, or a combination of all-purpose and whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup regular sugar
1 1/4 cup (about 330 grams or 11.5 ounces) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup oil
1 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together sugars, pumpkin, oil, and eggs. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the wet mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Don’t overmix.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean with just a crumb or two attached, about 1 hour, plus or minus 5 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes; invert pan and transfer the loaf to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the glaze, if desired, combine the 1 cup powdered sugar with 1-2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Mix until combined. The mixture should be smooth, but thick. Add more powdered sugar or water to reach the consistency you like. Pour over the top of the cooled loaf and allow 15 minutes for the glaze to set.
I believe there’s this one quote by Oscar Wilde that states, “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” When I first came upon this a few years ago I giddily scrawled it down in a notebook of mine (I have a habit of collecting quotes). Of course I was happy about finding it–I’m terrible at moderation. And what better way to reaffirm your personal view of the world than to find a famous person who is reiterating exactly what you want to hear?
Anyway, that quote has stuck with me. It justifies my lack of moderation when I go through the week eating like a Spartan, only to go out all weekend and eat quite a bit more cheesecake than any one other person should consume in one sitting. It also justifies how some days I work with mad efficiency, crossing to-dos off multiple lists with frenzy, only to waste the following days barely moving beyond 20 feet from my couch. My weekday mornings are spent (on-time, I might add) eating oatmeal or a couple pieces of toast (always with either almond butter or apricot jam). What can I say? I enjoy routine. But come Saturday or Sunday, I enjoy nothing more than lounging around all morning with absolutely no obligation to pay mind to. Once I gather enough determination for breakfast when the time nears closer to noon, I gawk at the idea of oatmeal.
I have, however, been on a real pancake kick for my weekend breakfasts lately. They’re not only warm, cozy and filling, but when you add a little pumpkin and a few pinches of spice they’re festive, too. I think they’re a great idea for a Thanksgiving breakfast, that is if 1) you have enough energy in you for the day that you’re not only going to prepare a feast for dinner but whip up some pancakes for breakfast too, and 2) you eat breakfast on Thanksgiving. Going back to my whole not-very-good-at-moderation thing, I like to nibble only at cereal or small snacks all day, in order to have the proper amount of hunger in store for the main show.
But Thanksgiving morning aside, these have been making me a fine weekend breakfast, one in which I’m still in my pajamas and combining two meals of the day. I’ve also been getting in the habit of making the whole batch and storing away the leftover ones in a zip-lock bag in the freezer. That way, during some weekday mornings (when I don’t have time for oatmeal or an appetite for toast) all I do is pop a couple in the toaster, and voila! They get crispy, toasty warm and require no syrup or even butter–the pumpkin spice flavor is really enough by itself. But weekend breakfasts? Yes, I think those require a nice slather of butter and syrup. After all, it is the weekend and we mustn’t let moderation get the best of us.
Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Adapted from Crepes of Wrath
Makes about 10 pancakes
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 egg, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Combine the milk, pumpkin, oil and egg in a medium-large bowl. Sprinkle the the flour mixture over and whisk until just moistened and combined; make sure not to overmix.
Melt a pat of butter or spray non-stick spray on a large skillet over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup of batter at a time, leaving space between each pancake. When the pancakes look dry around the edges and bubbles form on top, about 3 minutes, flip the pancakes and cook for another 2-3 minutes. You may have to adjust the heat of your skillet depending on if the pancakes are cooking too quickly. When done, remove pancakes from the skillet and place on a baking sheet (or oven-proof plate) to wait in the oven until you’re ready to serve them.