Fall is finally here! The air is crisp, the leaves have turned and the season of giving is about
to begin. Still, it wouldn’t be autumn without the perfect pumpkin bread – and the perfect pumpkin bread is made, of course, with fresh pumpkin. So before you carve those jack-o-lanterns, plan to set aside all of that delicious pumpkin and put it to good use with this recipe.
Lower the oven racks so that the tops of the pans will hit the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Choose either two small loaf pans (8 x 4 x 2 inches) or one large loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3 inches). Grease bottom of pans only with shortening.
- 15 oz of pureed pumpkin
- 1 2/3 cups of sugar
- 2/3 cups of vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups all purpose (or whole wheat)flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 cup chopped nuts (coarsely)
- 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
*While fresh pumpkin works best, a can of pumpkin can be substituted in a pinch.
Mix pumpkin, sugar, eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Stir in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and ground cloves. Once well blended, mix in the raisins and nuts, then divide evenly between pans if using two.
Bake small loaves for one hour and the large loaf for one hour and twenty minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean. It is always a good idea to check ten minutes before the timer goes off, just in case.
Allow the pumpkin bread to cool ten minutes, still in the pan and placed on a wire rack. Loosen the sides and place the loaves top side down on the wire racks. Before slicing, let them completely cool for about two hours.
Pumpkin bread keeps very well. Wrapped tightly, it can be stored at room temperature for four days or refrigerated for 10. Or, you can always make extra and freeze a loaf or two to have at Thanksgiving, though you might find it hard to wait that long!
Pumpkin bread is delicious with coffee or tea at breakfast, warmed with butter or plain. It packs perfectly for lunch and makes a great after dinner dessert. Best of all, it is a wonderful gift for friends and family, when you make your holiday rounds this season. Enjoy!