Monday, November 9, 2009

Second Chances/Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

So it's that time of year again, the time of year when the weeks suddenly start flying by, the thoughts of papers and exams are constantly whirling around my head and before I know it, I haven't cooked anything in almost a week because I have actually forgotten what day it is. I usually like forgetting what day it is, because it is so often a sign of being on vacation, of relaxation and fun. Then there is the other type of forgetting what day it is which means that I start counting days based on how far away I am from a due date, and find myself having tunnel vision up until that day. It is at times like these that I accidentally make 6 pumpkin cranberry loaves and believe it to be the funniest and most exciting thing that has happened in weeks (sadly, it probably is).

Let's back track. Yesterday, I finally had the time to procrastinate, which, from the looks of my agenda, won't really be happening in the next few weeks and so, I decided to bake. It seems like every single food blog has been flooded with pumpkin dishes; chilies, soup, cake, pudding, you name it and a there is a food blogger out there using pumpkin to make it. Oddly enough, I have always disliked pumpkin, especially pumpkin pie. I know that is a cultural crime of sorts as an American, but in my opinion pumpkin pie is always over-spiced and soapy tasting. At first, when I was seeing all these pumpkin recipes I was quite disappointed, until I realized that it was time to give pumpkin a second chance. I told myself that if I took matters in my own hands, maybe I could adjust the recipe to suit my liking and I hoped that maybe I would be more excited to see a pumpkin recipe from there on out.

Well, like I said, I ended up with 6 loaves of this Pumpkin Cranberry Bread, so it was lucky that after the first bite I changed my mind about pumpkin desserts. By the time the batter was overflowing from the biggest bowl in our house, it was too late to backtrack, so a few hours later I was handing out cakes left and right. Luckily for me, not one person seemed mad about it. Everyone has been raving about the crispy top of this cake which is sprinkled with turbinado sugar and tastes a whole lot like gingerbread for such a mildly spiced cake. The incredibly moist inside is studded with tart cranberries and toasted pecans which counteract the richness of the spices and pumpkin and provide exciting textural variations. Overall, I am pretty glad that I followed the food blog madness and made my own pumpkin treat, it turns out second chances can be a good thing and I have a feeling this will not be the last pumpkin dish we'll be seeing around here.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
(adapted from Serious Eats, who got it from The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread)

1 1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted
4 large eggs
2 2/3 c. pumpkin puree
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup plain yogurt
4 1/8 c. AP flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. kosher salt
3 c. fresh (or frozen) cranberries
1 1/3 c. toasted pecans
5 tbsp. turbinado sugar

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 3, 8 x 4" loaf pans.
2) Combine butter (cooled), eggs, pumpkin, sugar, and yogurt in a large bowl.
3) In another bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda, and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until barely combined. Fold in the cranberries and the toasted nuts, do no overmix.
4) Divide evenly among greased loaf pans. Spinkle the turbinado sugar over the tops of the loaves. Bake for 55-65 minutes, until a knife comes out clean.

• I used 5, 6 x 3.5" loaf pans AND 1, 8 x 4" which is why I had so many. If you have even bigger loaf pans I would make it in those.
• It is also easy to half this recipe, which I suggest, unless you need to give out gifts.


jaime said...

i risked my life in the library trying to eat a piece... it was SO worth it! oh, and, i already ate my whole loaf.

SippitySup said...

This is a pretty little bit of confection perfection! GREG

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

My husband and I don't like pumpkin pie, but there are definitely some pumpkin desserts we do like, so I think you've got a lot more pumpkin in your future.

Katerina said...

Careful, once you have the pupmkin addiction you can't stop it!

Jackie said...

I completely agree about pumpkin pie, the texture of it never really appealed to me. But, oh do I love pumpkin bread, muffins, even pancakes. Welcome to the orange side.

Anonymous said...

two words for you.. dangerous and amazing!