Articles Comments

Five flavours » United States, Vegetarian » Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

Jesus in my pumpkin bread!

We’ve just had Halloween which used to be one of my favourite holidays as a child in the United States. Although the roots of the event lie in Ireland, North Americans have taken to idea and run with it. From the beginning of October lots of spooky and fun things start appearing in shops, on TV, in the press and pretty much everywhere. Since Halloween coincides with autumn harvests, there are lots of lovely veggies that get celebrated, the best known of which is the pumpkin.

I believe there may be a photo of me somewhere as a wee girl pulling a disgusted face whilst pulling the guts out of a pumpkin in preparation for making a Jack-o-lantern. The funny thing was that, in the 1970s and 1980s at least, nobody ever ate those pumpkins. Yes, pumpkin pie (one of the world’s best pies IMHO), that great American delicacy, was more often than not made from tinned pumpkin. That’s just the way it happened. Imagine my surprise when I lived in England and my (now) Mother-in-law surprised me with a pumpkin one year so that I could make a pie. Granted, I was still an undergraduate and my life was about partying, not cooking, but I did know that pumpkin came from a tin and you mixed it with “pumpkin pie spice”…also pre-mixed. Nobody ever dealt with the real McCoy!

Well, now I live in the land of pumpkins, New Zealand*, and I’ve been experimenting a lot with converting the veggie for use in sweet dishes. Last week I made my Mother’s pumpkin bread recipe, an all time favorite of mine. I used a good ol’ NZ buttercup squash or kabocha. Would you believe there is actually a New Zealand Buttercup Squash Council? The things you learn! Anyway, it turns out that that particular variety made up a very tasty version of this cake, and yes it is a cake so don’t let the word “bread” fool you! The pumpkin makes this such a moist and moorish thing that I have a difficult time not plowing through a whole loaf in a day. At least I have to wrestle my husband for it so that cuts down on my portions as well as gets me a bit of exercise to burn off the calories.

I’ve adapted my Mum’s recipe a bit here and I also used chocolate melts for the first time, rather than normal chocolate chips. The problem with them was that they sink to the bottom of the cake. This did three things:

1) left me without chocolate in some bites (grr!)
2) presented a layer of chocolate in the bottom 1/4 that meant the bottom came off as I took it out of the pan (will wait for it to cool and solidify next time)
3) meant that at one point I ended up with a smiley face one one of the slices complete with walnut eyes and choco-smile. I almost thought Jesus was in my pumpkin bread!

So, unless you are looking for religious icons in your tea time delicacies, I’d go for real chocolate chips.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

You need

1 2/3 cup flour
1 slightly overflowing cup sugar (Let’s call it a cup and an eighth)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp “pumpkin pie spice” or a mix of warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and whatever you’ve got (chai spice would work perfectly as long as it has not got too much black pepper)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin of your choice but laess watery ones are best
1/2 cup water
1 cup chocolate chips
2 eggs
1/2 cup of broken walnuts

It couldn’t be easier. Preheat the oven to 175 C (350 F) and mix all the dry ingredients together and then add the wet ones. Mix it all together and then stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Spoon into an oiled and floured loaf tin. It rises a bit, but you can fill it up most the way without disaster (she says, bwa ha ha ha! ). Bake for an hour or more depending on how wet your pumpkin is. You may need to cover it in foil if it starts to brown prematurely. Slice and serve with tea.

*Well, OK, they are originally from South America but you’d never know it round here.

Filed under: United States, Vegetarian · Tags: , , , , , ,

2 Responses to "Pumpkin Bread"

  1. Marie says:

    Thanks Belinda. I found out about the Irish origins when making a lesson plan for English students one time. I always learn more than they do:)

  2. That’s one happy bread!! Love the flavors – had no idea the Irish origins….

Leave a Reply