As you know, we roast the pumpkins that we get from the CSA. It doesn’t matter if they’re the kind for Jack o’ Lanterns, or the little Sugar Pie pumpkins; around here, they get roasted and eaten. Of course, with the Jack o’ Lantern pumpkins, that means we have a lot of pumpkin in the freezer at times; figuring out a way to use it all, well, it can be interesting. But not this time. This time we opted to go with a faithful standard: pumpkin bread.
While we’ve used the recipe in The Joy of Cooking for many years, we’ve actually yearned for something that was a bit lighter and a bit less sweet. So, we decided that we’d venture out and make a pumpkin bread based on the recipe that we’ve used in the past for zucchini bread. That was light, closer to a spice cake than a bread, but it tasted very good; plus, all we needed to do was swap out the zucchini and replace it with pumpkin. But, while we were at it, we also used toasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) instead of the walnuts. (Of course, we didn’t have to tell you all that; we could have pretended this was a completely new recipe).
Yes, you can use canned pumpkin, but just this once. After that, you’ll have to switch over to advanced scratcher mode and roast it yourself. Eggs, why, free-range, of course. The hens thank you. We don’t think imitation vanilla should even be sold, much less used, so you know where we stand on that. It doesn’t have to be canola oil, just a light neutral flavored oil.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.
Toast pepitas. Spread the pepitas out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, shaking and stirring occasionally.
Chop pepitas. Take about three-fourths of a cup of pepitas and chop them into smaller pieces. These we’ll put into the batter later; the remaining quarter of a cup we’ll use to top the loaves. Set the pepitas aside for now.
Whisk drys. Measure the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl and whisk until uniform in color.
Whisk wets. In an even larger bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the oil, vanilla, and sugar until the mixture is thick, and all the oil and sugar are incorporated.
Fold. Switch to a rubber spatula, and fold the dry ingredients into the wet batter (see, that’s why we used an even bigger bowl), until everything’s combined.
Add pumpkin and seeds. Now, fold in the pumpkin and chopped pepitas.
Divide. Divide the batter between the two loaf pans, smooth it out on the top, then sprinkle the tops with the remaining whole pepitas.
Bake. Put the loaves into the oven and bake about an hour, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaves comes out clean.
Cool. Place the loaves on a rack to cool. After 30 minutes, run a dull knife around the edges and invert to remove the loaves. Let the loaves cool completely before slicing.
We didn’t get to taste this pumpkin bread, as we’d made it for a church social hour. That’s probably why we forgot to get a photo when it came out of the oven, too. It was eaten in no time flat, so it must have been good, or the parishioners very hungry. Since we’re writing this, we select the former explanation. (If you were there and disagree, let us know, and we’ll listen; we might not change it, but we’ll listen). Overall, for returning empty-handed, five stars.