Sunday, November 9, 2008

Hello November

It's November! Turkey month!

I'm slowly starting to plan our Thanksgiving meal. It's my favorite meal to plan since I am proud to say that A and I do one of the best turkeys around. The past two years we've done a turkey with citrus and herbes de provence. This year I want to do something different, but I haven't found the perfect recipe yet.
It's also pumpkin time! I'm learning to really like pumpkin. For awhile, it was not high on my list nor would I go out of my way to make anything with pumpkin. However, lately I've actually craved those pumpkin pie flavors of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg. I found this recipe in my October edition of Gourmet magazine. It was a good bread...quite tasty and crumbly. It was excellent for a snack with a swipe of real butter and a drizzle of honey. I kept to the recipe for the most part, except I added a lot less sugar. I didn't want a really sweet bread, but I'm sure it would be just as delicious with all the sugar. Also, I know the recipe said PUMPKIN bread, but there wasn't pumpkin puree at Whole Foods. So, instead I used sweet potato puree, which was very yummy. It wasn't a loaf cake and really was more like a bread, so don't expect a moist Starbucks-like pumpkin pound cake. However, that sounds good too and I may look for that recipe next!

Pumpkin Walnut Bread (or Sweet Potato Walnut Bread for me)
From Gourmet Magazine, taken from The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar (I used only 1/2 cup)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (I substituted sweet potato puree since there was not pumpkin at my store)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped and toasted walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position oven rack in the center. Lightly coat a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with melted butter and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, and salt until blended. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together eggs and water. Add sugar and blend well. Add pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Blend well.

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

4. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until bread is firm to the touch and the toothpick inserted comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

Can be stored up to 2 days at room temp or up to 4 days in the refrigerator.