At this time of year pumpkin is everywhere. My oldest son is a fanatic for Pumpkin Pie, but I wanted to give him an alternative to his favorite dessert. This bread is a quick bread (i.e. uses making powder/soda instead of yeast), and has all the traditional seasoning for a pumpkin pie. While the ingredient list is long, I had everything in my kitchen already. The recipe makes a wonderful seasonal alternative to banana bread. Surprisingly, my pumpkin-fanatical son only had two slices. Hmmm, go figure. Overall the recipe yields great pumpkin-pie-flavor, a moist interior with a perfect hint of sweetness on top. 4-stars.
IMPORTANT HALLOWEEN TIP. How to prevent squirrels from eating your pumpkins.
- Chris Kimball recommends two 8-1/2″ by 4-1/2″, but I think most people only have 9″x5″ loaf pans. The resulting loaves will be a bit squatter and will need to be check 2 to 3 minutes earlier. I could only find 1 of the 2 necessary 9″x5″ loaf pans, so I substituted my Pullman loaf pan (18″x4″), which made one long loaf instead of two shorter ones. The substitution of pans lengthened the baking time by 2 to 3 minutes.
- While I recently made homemade pumpkin puree by roasted my own sugar pumpkin, today I used a can of Libby’s. One of the motivations of this recipe was to remove the raw, metallic flavor of canned pumpkin, so I wanted to test the effectiveness of that element of the recipe too. It worked.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess? Medium.
Start time: 2:00 PM. Ready at: 5:00 PM.
The Cook’s Illustrated original recipe is here. The recipe as I cooked it today is as follows:
5 tablespoons packed light brown sugar (2 1/4 ounces)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
15-oz can unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)
1 cup packed light brown sugar (7 ounces)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4-oz cream cheese
4 large eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup walnuts (4-1/2 oz)
- To prepare the topping, add all the ingredients in small bowl. Use your finger to mix until well combined. It should resemble wet sand. Set it aside until Step 7.
- Cut your cream cheese into 12 pieces. Toast 1 cup walnuts an a small, dry skillet then chopped fine. Set aside.
- Set a rack to middle of your oven and pre-heat to 350-degrees. Grease two 8-1/2″ by 4-1/2″ loaf pans.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
- Put a large saucepan over medium burner, add pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Cook and stir for 6 to 8 minutes until it is reduced to 1-1/2 cups. Remove saucepan from heat and add granulated and brown sugar, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, cream cheese. Stir until combined and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Use a whisk until there is no longer any visible cream cheese. It should appear homogenous.
- In another small bowl, whisk together the 4 eggs and 1/4-cup of buttermilk. Add into the saucepan with the pumpkin and whisk until combined. Fold in flour mixture from Step 4 until generally combined, but a few small lumps of flour are alright. Fold the chopped walnuts.
- Use a rubber spatula to evenly divide batter into the two prepared pans. Evenly sprinkle the topping from Step 1 over both loaves. Bake in the 350-degrees oven for 45 to 50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. If you are using 9″x5″ loaf pans, then you should star checking for doneness 5 minutes earlier.
- Allow bread to cool in the pans set on wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove bread from pans and allow to cool for another 1-1/2 hours. The bread can be served either warm or at room temperature.