Autumn baking - Pumpkin Walnut Bread

>> Saturday, March 20, 2010


It is turning cold and autumn-y in Sydney. Summer has overstayed its welcome in my book and I'm so ready to bring out my winter jackets and woolly socks!

Of all things, Autumn reminds me of pumpkins and spices, and anything that makes you warm but not quite hearty yet as that's Winter. This Pumpkin Walnut Bread is one of the dozen pages on 'The Art and Soul of Baking" cookbook that I have dog-eared (as like my other cookbooks) so what better time to make it than now?

I have found my perfect recipe for Banana Bread (I'll leave that for another post) but I still have not been able to find my perfect recipe for pumpkin spice bread. The ones I've tried before tend to be either too full of spice or lacking it. This recipe is by far the best I've tried. I love the fine balance between the pumpkin and the spices. The spices were not too overpowering and the bread is soft in texture (although denser than your normal banana bread).

I'll definitely be making this again sometime soon this Autumn. I can't think of better use of pumpkins than this bread :)

Pumpkin Walnut Bread
Adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 1 cup (9 ounces) canned pumpkin puree (I steamed then mashed fresh pumpkin)
  • 1/2 cup neutral-flavor vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) chopped toasted walnuts (toast in the oven or in a small pan on the stove)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a loaf pan with melted butter. Use a large bowl to whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger and salt. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and water. Blend in the sugar until well incorporated, then add the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Blend these wet ingredients together well.

Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Stir in the walnuts until they are evenly distributed. Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and level the top.

This is a thick loaf, so bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until the bread is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a cooling rack. The best technique for serving is to use a serrated knife to saw through the bread, cutting 1/2-inch thick slices. Leftovers will keep for about two days wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for up. You can refrigerate it for about 4 days or double-wrap it in foil and freeze it for a month or two.

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