|© Charles Schulz|
One thing is for sure, no what you believe, pumpkins make great eating. While I will eat pumpkin pie, my favorite use for the large orange squash is Pumpkin bread and I like it year 'round. It is a favorite served for tea.
Now I include this disclaimer on behalf of Dear Sir who chides me for calling this a bread recipe. After tasting it he said, "I don't know why you call it bread--this is cake!"
In the States we delineate between long rising breads--be they savory or sweet--which require yeast and time to make the rise, and quick breads--those which rise quickly due to the inclusion of baking powder, baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and high oven temperatures. Pumpkin bread falls into the latter category.
In the States Libby's canned pumpkin is carried year 'round. I was therefore saddened to find no canned pumpkin on the grocer's shelves here in England where it is an import--and believe me I looked in every Tesco's, Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Aldi's I came across on our journeys.
After lamenting on FaceBook about the lack of canned pumpkin, a dear friend posted to tell me she had seen it at Waitrose. Of course! The only store Les has forbidden me to shop in, is the one that carries it!
Three weekends ago we hired a car and drove down south to visit family in Watford and Luton. I told Les I wasn't coming back to the boat without stopping at a Waitrose for Libby's canned pumpkin, so we found one and trooped in to ask if they carried it. The clerk wasn't sure. She took us down the canned fruit aisle and there was none. I told her in the States it was stocked in the vegetable aisle. "Oh! Of course," she smiled and led the way. They had twelve cans and I cleaned them out. A can for every month in the year!!
Now several folks contacted me to say I could buy fresh pumpkins at any grocers, but I only like fresh pumpkins for their seeds, which are delicious scooped out of the innards, cleaned under cold water and then left to soak in cold, well salted water for 24 hours after which I drain them, dry them with paper towels, oil them liberally with a good oil, spread the seeds on a baking tray and bake at 350 degrees (gas mark 4) until they are lightly browned and toasty. MMMmmmm!! Otherwise I have no use for the flesh. Years of experience have taught me that Libby's canned pumpkin puree makes the best pumpkin pies and breads. Why this is I do not know.
I made my first batch of pumpkin bread over here last week. In Braunston we came across Jo and Keith on Hadar who came 'round for tea while we filled up with water. She loved it and asked for the recipe, so here it is with U.S. measures followed after the slash by European measures:
Libby's solid pack Pumpkin--1 can (15 oz/25g)
4 large eggs
Vegetable oil--(1 cup/8 fluid ounces/240 ml)
Water--(2/3's cup/160 ml)
Flour--all purpose or, for a very tender crumb use Soft As Silk cake Flour in the States/McDougalls 00 grade flour in England--(3 and a 1/2 cups/385grams)
Sugar--500 grams/2 and half cups
Baking Soda/Bi-carbonate of Soda--2 tsp.
Salt--1 and 1/2 tsp.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (Gas mark 4). Butter 2 large loaf pans.
In a large bowl, mix together the canned pumpkin, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended.
In a separate bowl, flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
Stir the dry ingredients into the Pumpkin mixture until just blended.
Pour into the buttered loaf pans.
Bake approximately 50 minutes. Loaves are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.