Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Pumpkin Pecan Loaf
I decided to try a new recipe for pumpkin bread tonight -- I know those of you who have had the Pastry Queen pumpkin bread with streusal topping are probably wondering what's wrong with me since that recipe is fantastic... why would I try a new one you might ask? Well, for one, although I love the Pastry Queen recipe and it's quick to come together, it's also huge -- making two 9x5 inch loaves, and I just didn't feel like messing with it.
In addition, I didn't start the night out looking for a quick bread or a pumpkin recipe. Basically I was flipping through the Carole Walter Coffee Cake book looking for some inspiration (and something that I had all the ingredients for) and a few recipes stood out to me. Chris got the final decision between this pumpkin bread and a recipe called honey spice squares and he chose pumpkin bread.
One of the reasons this recipe stood out to me is that it includes orange and lemon zest which I found to be rather odd additions to a spicy, fall-flavored quick bread -- but odd additions that looked intriguing. In fact, the first flavor that jumps out after the first bite of the bread is the citrus, then the whole thing mellows down into the quiet, fall spice flavors you would expect. But that citrus adds a great balance to it, brightening up all the flavors of the bread, without overwhelming anything.
The Pastry Queen version of pumpkin bread is still my favorite, but this is very good, and will likely appear in the rotation again.
A couple of notes on the recipe itself. It calls for lightly packed dark brown sugar -- I used tightly packed light brown sugar by mistake... it didn't hurt the recipe any, but I'm sure the flavor would have been a bit richer with the dark brown sugar. It also calls for 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree -- I used the full regular size can (16 oz I think) -- it was probably about a cup and a half so it wasn't a whole lot more. Plus, in the directions, she is specific about how long you mix and how you add things, I (mostly) followed how she had it written, but I'm sure that just ensuring that you mix for the appropriate times it wouldn't matter if it actually takes you 2 minutes to slowly stream a 1/2 cup of oil into the recipe....
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 large eggs
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp freshly grated orange zest
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups canned pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup medium-chopped toasted pecans
Preheat the oven to 325. Generously butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Set aside.
Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and all-spice in a medium bowl and whisk until combined.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, or until lightened in color. Add the brown sugar, 1 to 2 tbsp at a time, taking about 2 minutes, and the granulated sugar, taking about 1 minute. Add the orange and lemon zests and beat for 1 minute longer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and drizzle in the oil in a steady stream, taking about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the pumpkin puree. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add the dry ingredients in two additions and blend for 10 to 15 seconds, just until incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and using a large rubber spatula, fold in the pecans.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until the top feels springy to the touch, or a wooden skewer inserted deeply into the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. When the loaf is almost cool, invert it onto the rack. Remove the pan and turn the loaf top side up.