While pumpkins are widely available this week, you may want to buy a pie pumpkin to cook and puree. Pumpkin freezes beautifully and lasts for up to 6 months if it’s tightly wrapped in the freezer, so you can enjoy its comforting taste in many different recipes well into 2016.
As I wrote earlier this month, my newest cookbook is 101 Things To Do With Pumpkin (Gibbs Smith, Publisher; 128 pages, $9.99). Thanks to all of you who submitted comments about your favorite ways to enjoy pumpkin, and congratulations to lucky winners Carolyn and Linda, who each won a signed copy.
This easy pumpkin quick bread recipe is one of my favorites, and it’s so good with a cup of coffee or tea. It’s featured in the cookbook’s “Muffins and Breads” chapter, and I think you’ll love its moist texture and spicy flavor.
Pumpkin Quick Bread
- 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin or 1 7/8 cups cooked pumpkin puree
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 4 eggs
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 3 x 7-inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, sugar, oil, water, applesauce, and eggs until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Stir the flour mixture in the pumpkin mixture just until blended. Divide evenly among the prepared pans.
Bake for about 50 minutes, or until loaves are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Makes 3 loaves.
Here’s how to cook and puree your own pumpkin:
Easy Baked Pumpkin Puree
- 1 medium pie pumpkin, about 4 pounds
- 1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash the pumpkin and cut out the top and stem with a sharp knife. Lay on a cutting board and carefully cut in half. Scrape out stringy membranes and seeds. Cut pumpkin in large pieces and arrange skin-side up in a roasting pan. Pour water in the bottom of the pan and cover with foil. Bake 45 to 60 minutes or until pumpkin is soft and easily pierced with a fork. Cool to room temperature.
Scrape the soft pulp from the skin into a food processor or heavy-duty blender, discarding the skin. Pulse until evenly pureed, adding a little water if necessary to make a smooth puree. Alternately, mash the pulp in a large bowl with a potato masher or run it through a food mill. If finished puree is watery, drain in a fine mesh strainer for 5 minutes. The puree can be used immediately or refrigerated, covered, and used within 3 days; the puree may also be frozen, tightly wrapped or in an airtight container, for up to 6 months. Makes about 8 cups.
Hugs and a happy harvest,