Recently I have put an effort to admire and celebrate the seasons. I have always been a bit of a flower child, finding myself more comfortable outside in nature. This makes it easier for me to notice not only the seasonal changes but the daily changes in weather and climate. However, now as I am older, I spend more time indoors working, reading or surfing the internet. I need to put a conscious effort into staying connected. A few weeks ago I saw that autumn was on its way. In response I brainstormed projects and foods I could create and share with you to represent the new season.
To me nothing represents fall foods more than pumpkin. It is the most popular of the gourds. Even if you are not a fan of eating pumpkin, they are still great to look at. They arrive at the farmer’s markets right about the beginning of autumn and are a quintessential part of autumn festivities.
I have a Pumpkin bread recipe from my Fanny Farmer Cookbook that I always use but this time I wanted to try something new. I decided to look online and in some of my other cook books for a variety of recipes. I didn’t find much difference in base ingredients and spices. Some recipes add things like crushed walnuts, raisins or chocolate chips. The recipe that caught my interest is one from Old Pioneer Recipes, a small cookbook given as a gift from my aunt last year. Instead of using vegetable oil, like all the other recipes, this one uses butter. After reading the book Extra Virginity and learning about how vegetable oil is made, I am trying to reduce if not eliminate it from my cooking. The new recipe ended up working very well and tasted great with my morning tea. I may change my baking preference to Pioneer Pumpkin Bread.
Pioneer Pumpkin Bread from Old Pioneer Recipes
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1 cup cooked pumpkin
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup butter, softened
Optional: ½ cup chopped nuts, raisins or chocolate chips
First, preheat the oven to 350° F and grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. In one bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. In a second bowl, blend together the pumpkin, milk, eggs, vanilla and butter. Next, add the first bowl to the second taking care not to mix too much. Then fold in any optional ingredients. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. I sprinkled some raw sugar on top for a sweet crust. Bake the bread in the oven for 1 hour until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Last, cool the pan until it is no longer hot then turn the pumpkin bread out.