Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Fall Favorite

Ever since Labor Day rolled around, the gray cloud ceiling that defines Erie for my husband made its grand appearance and has refused to allow even a slight glimpse of the sun. My husband and I naturally try to cheer ourselves up by planning all the delicious fall treats. Every item on my list normally begins with "pumpkin" whereas his seem to all include "bacon." This is an example of the type of dish my husband would eat every night of his life if I would let him:

Disgusting, isn't it? His own creation: Shredded pork crisped in bacon fat, topped with fried bacon, and an egg poached in bacon fat. Serve with a stick of butter and a heart attack. This is the reason for my existence: to ensure that he and the other, shorter, cuter guy in the household survive and thrive. You should see the fuss he puts up when I suggest that we go for a jog (the hubby, not the baby...the latter would willingly jump in his stroller and go for a run with me!). Anyway, I digress...

Our chat about fall cooking made me crave pumpkin bread! This morning, I woke up a little earlier than usual and decided to make some for my little cherub before he began to bang on the wall, demanding that I release him from the confines of his crib. Even though the stores have not yet begun stocking up on canned pumpkin, I have PLENTY of spare cans in our basement. During The Great Pumpkin Shortage of 2009 where canned pumpkin became scarce, I stocked up like crazy wherever I found cans for sale. Being a pumpkin fiend, I could not imagine life during the winter months without it! Unfortunately, I bought perhaps a few cans too many. So many that I haven't bought a single can in the last two years and still have plenty left in our basement.

Either way, I had some pumpkin to bake with this morning. I tried a new recipe from Christopher Kimball of Cooks Illustrated that involved removing some of the water in the pumpkin in order to produce a bread that has a more concentrated pumpkin flavor. The loaf was definitely not as heavy or spongy as some of the pumpkin bread I have made in the past. It was probably the UGLIEST loaf of bread I've ever made, but pumpkin bread is not normally known for its eye appeal. The bottom line is, it tasted great and the spice proportions were simply perfect! My little guy made his appearance right after I pulled the loaf out of the oven and immediately started pointing and demanding that I slice him a piece. Yes Sir!
And he loved it so much that he consumed half the loaf. In one sitting.
At least he got to practice using a fork. Although he's still not all that good at it. He has speared himself in the face one too many times. As long as he doesn't pierce an eyeball, it's all good.

Pumpkin Bread
adapted from Christopher Kimball

1-15 ounce can pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup white sugar
8 tablespoons melted, cooled butter
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x5 bread pan.

Spread pumpkin on a triple layer of paper towels and then top with another triple layer of paper towels. Press down gently to saturate the top towels with excess liquid. Remove and scrape pumpkin from towels into a mixing bowl.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Whisk together pumpkins, sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla. Stir pumpkin mixture into flour mixture with a spatula and scrape into prepared pan, smoothing the top.

Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan on a rack before turning the loaf out to slice and serve.

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