Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries

This year for the first time I baked a pumpkin from scratch.  I never saw any reason to do this before as it was so easy to get canned pumpkin in the store, especially when the only ingredient listed on the label is "Pumpkin".  How much more pure can you get?  But for whatever reason in Northern Michigan, where we were staying for five months, the area was suffering from a canned pumpkin shortage.  Couldn't find a can anywhere!  But when the fresh pumpkin harvest came around, there were pumpkins everywhere!  I finally decided I could deal with baking a pumpkin, scraping the flesh out, and pureeing it in a food processor.  I bought a medium sized pumpkin from the Girl Scouts, and ended up with 5 cups of puree.

Today I used one cup of the puree to make "Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries" (p. 402).  A very festive sounding loaf, and very timely, with Halloween just behind us, and Thanksgiving only three weeks away.  After reading through the recipe, I figured out what changes I needed to make to omit any added oil, and keep to using just whole grains.  For awhile now I've been using mashed banana, applesauce, or pureed prunes to replace the fat content in baked goods such as cookies and quick breads.  For this recipe I decided on applesauce, since I had the snack size containers on hand, and I thought the apple flavor would complement the pumpkin, cranberry, and spices (cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg).  Instead of all purpose flour (white), I used whole wheat pastry flour.

The recipe mixed up just right.  The baking time of one hour was perfect.  I used my silicone loaf pan, so I didn't need to use any oil there.  The loaf came out of the pan easily after 15 minutes of cool down time.  The first slices my husband and I tried were still warm out of the oven, and just perfect with a cup of tea! Sweet, moist, and delicate.  We had seconds after it had completely cooled, and it still tasted wonderful.  The "roof" on this loaf seemed to have lifted during the baking, and when slicing it, I had to be careful, but this did not detract whatsoever from my enjoyment of it.  I do wonder, though, if this same thing would have happened if I'd used white flour and oil?  But even if that's the case, I'm glad I kept to my challenge, and I have no complaints about this lovely loaf.

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