My Fall baking has had a poor showing this year. But I do have an excuse (and news!) Life has been a bit hectic the last month. I’m going to have to take a multi-month hiatus from hearthomemade, since I’ll be out of the country for work, and probably won’t be venturing into a kitchen during that time. Yes, I’m sad about that part :( But, once I’m back I plan on making up for lost time by cooking, baking, and blogging up a storm. I can’t even imagine how many recipes are going to be on my “to make” list by that time. :P
I did manage to bake one last amazing Fall recipe as a last hurrah. And, appropriately, it comes from ole reliable – Cook’s Illustrated. It’s a bit more involved than your typical quick bread recipe, but those extra few steps really make a difference as far as flavor. The bread really does have a more pronounced pumpkin taste. And the topping is ridiculously good.
Speaking of the topping … brown sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon, and salt. Looks more interesting than the dry ingredients.
The pumpkin puree and spices are cooked down in a saucepan to intensify the pumpkin flavor. This step starts that process of making your kitchen smell amazing.
Sugars, neutral oil, and cream cheese (what?, yes cream cheese) are added to sweeten and give body.
Here’s where you get your arm work-out from whisking like a madwoman. Darn specks of cream cheese.
Eggs and buttermilk for structure and texture. This bread is very tender.
Fold in the dry ingredients.
I don’t have two large loaf pans, so used half the batter to make mini breads. A couple didn’t get the topping. Poor guys.
Pumpkin Bread – Cook’s Illustrated, Sept. / Oct. 2012 (Issue 118)
- 5 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1, 15 oz. can unsweetened pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 4 oz. cream cheese cut into 12 pieces
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
Using fingers, mix all ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined and topping resembles wet sand. Set aside.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°. Grease two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2″ loaf pans with softened butter. Whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda together in a medium bowl.
Combine pumpkin, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, 6-8 min. Remove pot from heat; stir in granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and cream cheese until combined. Let mixture stand for 5 min. Whisk until no visible pieces of cream cheese remain and the mixture is homogeneous. (I still had some specks of white, in spite of vigorous whisking :/)
Whisk together eggs and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Add egg mixture to pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine. Fold flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until combined (some small lumps of flour are ok). Scrape batter into prepared pans. Sprinkle topping evenly over top of each loaf.
Bake until skewer inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 45-50 min. Let breads cool in pans on wire rack for 20 min. Remove breads from pans and let cool for at least 1 1/2 hrs. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield – 2 large loaves
Happy Holidays, and see you all in the Spring!