Super-Pumpkin Pumpkin Bread!

Alright, I am bestowing to you my special recipe for Super-Pumpkin Pumpkin Bread. I’ve been on a quest for the last several months to find a pumpkin bread recipe that was intensely pumpkin flavored. Most recipes use only half a can of pumpkin and rely on various spices for the flavor punch. But I don’t want a spice bread, I want a pumpkin bread. So I thought back to the ways I already know of to concentrate flavor – adding more and reducing. Adding more didn’t appeal to me since I didn’t want to alter the texture of the bread. Reducing, however, was an intriguing notion. From a usage standpoint, it was highly appealing as I could use the entire can of pumpkin in one recipe and not have the other half go to waste. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened a can of pumpkin for a recipe, used half and forgotten about the other half lurking in the back of the fridge. I really hate to waste food. And then the flavor improvement – that’s what I was really after. This recipe does take a little work in that you have to reduce the pumpkin puree before you can even begin to make the batter. But this little bit of work will be more than forgiven once you taste the bread. It screams pumpkin and it’s worth every bit of time in the kitchen to make it. My recipe is adapted from one in The Milk-Free Kitchen by Beth Kidder, which is just chock-full of superb recipes for dairy (and egg) free dishes – they’re so good you wouldn’t even know that they were dairy and/or egg free unless someone told you in the first place.

1 can of pumpkin puree

½  cup butter

1 cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground allspice

2 tablespoons molasses

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup water 1

. First you’ll need to reduce the pumpkin puree. Put the entire can of pumpkin into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. You want to cook it down until it’s a dark orange color, slightly thicker, and reduced by half. This will take anywhere from 20-30 minutes. Give it a stir every few minutes or so to ensure it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. Turn the heat down slightly if you find that it’s sticking to the bottom. Once the pumpkin is reduced, let it cool to room temperature while you assemble the rest of the batter.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together until the sugar is well combined with the butter and no longer grainy. Add the vanilla and spices and stir until well combined.

3. Mix in the eggs and molasses. If the pumpkin is cool enough, add the pumpkin. You do not want to add the pumpkin while it’s still hot to the batter as you don’t want to risk cooking the eggs – scrambled eggs in a baked good is not what you’re after. If you need to hasten the cooling of the pumpkin, put in the freezer for a few minutes.

4. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and add to the batter. Add the water and stir well to combine all of the ingredients.

5. For baking, I prefer to use four mini loaf pans, but you can also use one large loaf pan, a muffin tin (for twelve muffins) or two eight-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes, until a knife in the center comes out clean.

Let the bread cool for at least 15 minutes on a wire rack before slicing (it’s hard to wait, but the crumb will be better for it!). This bread has such a wonderful, concentrated flavor and moistness that no adornments are necessary, but if you must, spread a little salted butter on a slice. It’s perfect for breakfast, holiday desserts and gift gifting – so please do try it out this winter. You won’t go back to unconcentrated pumpkin bread again!