Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

Humility alert: My work colleagues love me.  Not because I work hard or because I'm the smartest cookie on the plate (both of which I do/am, of course!), but because I bake.  I bake lots.  I bake at least once a week.  If I don't bake, they start to wonder what's wrong with me.  And their blood sugar levels start to collectively drop and they get the shakes, so I run home and whip up something to restore them. 

This week there was a big hunk of pumpkin sitting in my fridge, leftover from making Pumpkin Soup, and crying out to be used before it turned into a science experiment, which things are known to do in Fortress Moxham's fridge.  I'm pretty sure it's the fridge's fault, it aims its cosmic rays at some poou, unsuspecting piece of produce and makes it grow a nice woolly coat of white fuzzies.  Totally the fridge.  So I made some pumpkin bread out of said earlier-mentioned pumpkin for the work mates, just to make them love me a little more.  What can I say, I am a glutton for baking love.

Anyway, this is my pumpkin, of the crown pumpkin variety.  *Photography disclaimer: I'm using Instagram and Hipstamatic on my iPhone because (a) it's winter here in Wellington, and being so far south we lose any daylight before I get home from work, and (b) I haven't learned how to optimize my dinky point-and-shoot camera yet, and so I still take pretty average photos.  Back to my pumpkin - I only used that piece you see in front, that was plenty of pumpkin meat (pumpkin meat, really?! is that the term?) for this concoction.  I weighed it up, just for good measure, and it came out to 600 grams.  True story: before I moved to New Zealand, I had never measured by weight!  Must be my innate fear of scales.

So then I had to use all of the strenth that I possess, my sharpest knife, and whatever wits I had at the end of the workday in order to carve the skin off the pumpkin and not my own fingers.  And then again with the cutting the pumpkin into chunks - this thing did not want to cut up.  It acted like I was carving up its soul.  Poor little pumpkin soul.  I hope it rests in peace. 
So once you have de-souled the pumpkin, throw it in a pot of hot water and boil it up into a mash, much like you would for mashed potatoes.  When it's nice and soft, strain it, and mash up in a big bowl.  Add sugar, oil, water, eggs and shake what yo momma gave ya.  Or just mix it, if you're not feeling very enthusiastic.  Then mix up some dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves.  You can sift them together, or just aerate them with a wisk in the bowl.  Either way, it's all about aeration.  On a completely different note, please don't judge me for my 80's bench tops and shoddy-looking drawers, we're renting! 

Ok now that that's out of the way and I don't have to worry about being harshly judged for my cracked-out kitchen, I can finish this bread.  Introduce the dry ingredients to the wet ones, preferably in an actual mixer if you don't fancy having to clean up stray flour, and beat until smooth.  Divide between two loaf pans and bake at 180 C for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick come out clean. 

This pumpkin bread does two things for me as an American.  First, it gives me a reason to cut up a pumpkin.  I may or may not have carved some eyes into this one before I mutilated it for the pumpkin soup.  And I may or may not have given him a crooked smile too.  Look, New Zealanders don't really do Halloween, and they definitely don't do jack-o-lanterns at Halloween, so I had to take the chance when I got it, k?  You can take the girl out of American, but you can't take all of the America out of the girl. 

The second thing this bread does is mostly fulfill my fix for Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.  Although I am determined to do Thanksgiving this year!  But this will suffice for now, especially if I serve it warm with some real whipped cream.  *Homer drool*  Yes, this is a multi-tasking bread, and really when it's as cold outside as it has been, you need food that does many things for you at once!

Here's the recipe, straight up:

Pumpkin Bread
- 600 grams of pumpkin, about 1/3 of a Crown Pumpkin
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup canola oil
- 4 eggs
- 3 1/2 plain flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking power
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 3/4 tsp group cloves

1. Preheat your oven to 180C.  Grease or oil and flour two loaf pans.
2. Peel the pumpkin and chop into large chunks.  Boil in water for 15-18 minutes, until it's soft enough to be pierced by a fork.  Strain the water out as much as possible, squeezing the pulp. 
3. In a large mixing bowl, mash the pumpkin.  Add the sugar, water, canola oil and eggs, and beat until mixed.
4. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves.  Sift or whisk together to aerate and combine.  Slowly add them to the pumpkin mash in the mixing bowl and continue beathing until the mixture is smooth. 
5. Divide the mix evenly between your two loaf pans.  Bake for 55-60 (ish) minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. 
6. Feed to your family/work mates/bestest friends, because you now have a lot of bread to get rid of!


  1. I love jack o lanterns, coming from the uk that's all I knew pumpkins where for until moving to NZ and finding people actually eat them :0) the bread sounds great. I also wondered if you wanted to join up to we are having a food bloggers conference in November you might want to joins us?

  2. Ooh a food bloggers conference, I am definitely into that! Will look into it!


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