Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

It seems to me that it happened every single year in elementary school: there would be one day when we crowded around a bowl and made pumpkin muffins.  To this day, every time I open a can of pumpkin, that memory comes flying back.  It's as powerful as the smell of tempera paint or that hand soap in the bathrooms.  Isn't it strange how specific and tangible olfactory memory is?

This is my take on a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, the Fannie Farmer Baking Book.  When I was growing up, I think I baked almost every single cookie in it.  It's a fantastic reference book - every chapter begins with a "Basic Master Recipe" that goes through the steps for bread, pie, cake, quick breads, crackers, and cookies in painstaking detail.  There are drawings and suggestions for pairings and substitutions.  Most of all, everything I've ever made from it has turned out beautifully.  It also contains the recipe for the best scones in the world.  It's a great book.  When I moved out of my mom's house, I bought myself a copy, knowing that it wouldn't feel right to be in the kitchen without it!

This is a dense, spicy bread, studded generously with dates and nuts.  After the bread is baked, the dates become moist, unidentifiable pockets of sweetness.  It's best within a day or two, but after that it's fantastic toasted and spread with salted butter.

Pumpkin Bread

1 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup oat flour (grind old fashioned oats in the blender until powdery)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cup melted butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2/3 cup milk
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease and flour two standard loaf pans.  Stir together dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In another bowl, stir together butter, sugar, eggs, milk, pumpkin puree, dates and walnuts.  Add to dry ingredients and fold together, taking care not to over mix.  Divide evenly between loaf pans and bake 50-65 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in pans for 5 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

Yield: two loaves


  1. This was divine! I may even try to make this recipe :)

  2. Wow this looks absolutely delicious!! So glad you found my blog so that I could find yours, I love it! New follower! xoxo