Pumpkin Bread


Having not been raised in the U.S, my first pumpkin cooking experience happened by way of Halloween.  My husband wanted to get into the spirit of the holiday, and brought a couple small pumpkins home from the store.  After they had been laying out for some time after Halloween had come and gone, I thought, ‘why waste?  I’ll cook them!’  He gave me a bemused look – ‘you can cook them?’  ‘Of course!’ – I said – ‘They are food!’

Google to the rescue of the pumpkin noob – cut the pumpkin in half and discard the stem section and stringy pulp.  Save the seeds to dry and roast. In a shallow baking dish, place the two halves face down and cover with foil.  Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for about 1½ hours for a medium-sized sugar pumpkin, or until tender.

Once cooled, scoop out the flesh and use a food processor to puree.


I have seen recommendations of cooking out some of the liquid from the resultant puree, but I never do this, and find that I like how my bread turns out – very moist and tender.  It is also important to note that your bread will taste different depending on the type of pumpkin you choose.  I prefer the traditional sugar pumpkin variety for this recipe, which comes from the Joy of Cooking.  The recipe is slightly modified to the way I like to prepare it.

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.  I like to use canola oil, but non-stick spray works too.

Whisk together:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


Combine in a small bowl:

1/3 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Beat in a large bowl until fluffy:

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, softened

1 cup plus 1/3 cup packed brown sugar

Beat in one at a time:

2 large eggs

Add and beat on low speed just until blended:

1 cup cooked pumpkin puree

Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk mixture, beating on low speed or stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth and scraping the sites of the bowl as needed.


Fold in:

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly.


Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.  Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely on the rack.



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