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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fresh Pumpkin = Moist Pumpkin Bread

Walking through the markets of Strasbourg, I noticed huge chunks of pumpkin-like vegetables, so I bought some and then decided to try my hand at some pumpkin bread. But first, I had to make some pumpkin puree, which I had never done before. Turns out that it's not that hard.

I adapted this recipe from Closet Cooking, adding only that I covered the pumpkin slices with some foil (since I didn't have pumpkin halves) and then I let the pumpkin strain overnight in the fridge.

Pumpkin Puree

1. Cut the pumpkin in half.
2. Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits.
3. Place the halves face done on a baking sheet. Or if you have smaller pieces, place them flesh-down and lightly cover the exposed flesh with foil.
4. Bake the pumpkin in a 400F oven until soft, about 30-90 minutes depending on how thick the pumpkin is.
5. Scoop the flesh from the pumpkin. Place the flesh in a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and let sit overnight in the fridge (if the pumpkin seems overly watery).
6. Mash with a fork or put in a food processor and process until smooth.
Before processing:

I ended up with a lot of pumpkin puree, so I froze the leftovers in a cupcake pan in 1/2 cup portions. Then I threw them in a freezer bag to use later.

And finally, a couple of days later--I didn't say that this was a quick process!--I had time to make my pumpkin bread. The recipe was suggested by a friend (Thanks, Darcy!), and I found it to be extremely moist. It makes a ton of batter (enough for a big bundt cake and 4 muffins), so if you don't need that much, try halving it.

Pumpkin Bread
Text-only version

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree or 2 cups fresh pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
2 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans or a bundt pan.

In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pan(s).

Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
The time varies depending on the size of pan(s) you use.
Although this bread is yummy as is, when I get home to the States, I'll probably experiment with adding a swirl of cream cheese in the middle or make a cream cheese frosting. This cake isn't super sweet, so it could handle a dose of creamy richness.

Thanks again, Darcy, for the yummy recipe!


Anonymous,  February 10, 2009 at 11:45 PM  

Great way to make pumpkin bread. I rarely make it from fresh pumpkins but the extra effort is always worth it.

Mindy February 11, 2009 at 1:55 PM  

Jude, I've never made anything with canned or fresh pumpkin before, and I think that I'm spoiled now. And I just couldn't resist 1.50 Euros a kilo for that beautiful "potiron!"

Laura in Paris February 14, 2009 at 7:42 AM  

It looks yummy and I am sure it tastes yummy too ... gotta try it.

Sue February 16, 2009 at 2:48 PM  

Wow, that pumpkin looks beautiful. I've never baked with fresh pumpkin. I don't think our pumpkins are as flavorful as what you can get. Don't people say that even the canned stuff isn't really pumpkin, it's some other kind of squash?

Mindy February 16, 2009 at 4:35 PM  

I'm not sure about what's in canned pumpkin since I've never bought it (!), but the "pumpkin" I got here was some sort of pumpkin-shaped squash. I've heard that you should never buy Halloween pumpkins to eat, though. Apparently, they're very bland.

Anonymous,  February 23, 2009 at 6:17 PM  

I've always wanted to make pumpkin bread/muffins etc from fresh, but never gathered enough courage to do so, that sucks! I always end up rasting the pumpkin in delicious caramelised roasted bits or processing it into creamy soup... There's less and less pumpkins available out there, I should really stock on butternut squashe and freeze it while it's still time...

Mindy February 26, 2009 at 6:42 AM  

Colloquial Cook--you could always roast a little more and use that to make some bread. It sounds like you'd go through a very similar process as for soup...

Darcy March 3, 2009 at 4:58 PM  

Mindy, I didn't realize you had your own blog for your culinary experiments! I just read your pumpkin bread recipe. Delicious stuff, for sure! I'm going to try to make banana bread tomorrow. I have a great recipe for banana oat muffins...but I'm gonna make a real banana nut bread tmw, hopefully. (Except I'm going to try hazelnuts, so I guess that rules out the "real" part of it...)

- Darcy

Mindy March 3, 2009 at 5:06 PM  

Hey, Darcy...yeah, I didn't want to force people to read my stuff, so I didn't advertise it widely. Glad you found it since you are the star of this recipe!

And hazelnuts are about the only nut I can stand in sweets!

Anonymous,  October 11, 2010 at 7:31 PM  

I only now just noticed this is from last year...it is in the oven at this moment! thanks, looks great!

Jillian,  November 5, 2010 at 7:00 PM  

Just made this bread. It was very moist and delicious and it's not too sweet so it's excellent. My family loves it too, said it's the best pumpkin bread they have ever had. And of course I made it from real pumpkin. I followed the ingredients exactly besides two things, I didn't have ground cloves and I added 1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract.

Mindy November 5, 2010 at 7:35 PM  

Thanks, Jillian...I'm glad it worked out well for you! Great idea about the vanilla--I tried a new recipe this week and decided it needed vanilla too. Maybe I should take my own advice on this recipe as well!

Darcy November 23, 2010 at 11:18 PM  

Baking some pumpkin bread right now! I wanted to reference your version since I think we agreed yours works out better than the original, and I never updated my saved version online.

Related question, although it doesn't really matter now since the bread is almost done...but do you know why cooked pumpkin would still be stringy? Did I not cook it long enough or was it just a different type of pie pumpkin? I didn't puree it in a blender (don't have a good one) - just mashed it with a potato masher. That method worked perfectly fine for some other pumpkins I pureed before. I just bought them from a different place.

Mindy November 26, 2010 at 1:21 PM  

Darcy, I'm not sure. My guess is that it's a different type of pumpkin. If you look closely at the pictures above, this pumpkin (or potiron) was stringy, and several that I just baked here in the States were stringy.

Darcy,  December 1, 2010 at 1:21 PM  

Well, despite it being stringy, it worked perfectly for the bread! The baking process must break it down farther...or maybe freezing it helped, too. When I made a pumpkin pie with it, the stringiness remained...so, good to know!

Darcy November 4, 2011 at 12:01 AM  

Works well for pumpkin muffins, too! Made about 26 (I did 24 and a mini loaf), and like you said - since the bread itself isn't too sweet, it lends well to an icing without feeling too guilty/rich. Yum! Taking to co-workers tomorrow haha

sharon,  November 16, 2012 at 10:21 AM  

I use halloween pumpkins all the time, cooks well, mashes well, and taste good. Can't wait to try this recipe. Thanks

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