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Recipe: Pumpkin spice is truly nice in bread

  • TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE
                                Roasted Pumpkin Loaves with Salted Breadcrumbs.

    TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

    Roasted Pumpkin Loaves with Salted Breadcrumbs.

The idea of another pumpkin loaf either makes you excited or makes you tired. If you’re in the latter camp, give my iteration a shot.

Because I like the idea of pumpkin spice things but not their execution, I developed this loaf to be about all the good qualities of the flavor — cloying lattes notwithstanding. I take real pumpkin and roast it with olive oil, salt and pepper to give the puree an umami edge.

The loaf gets a crown of salty bread crumbs, perfumed with the usual “spice” suspects; it’s the ideal contrast to the tender loaf cake. Freshly ground spices do make a difference, but use the pre-ground kind if that’s what you have (but please, not pre-ground nutmeg; the flavor is acrid and bitter).

It’s a lightly sweet, kinda savory loaf, at home with butter slathered with a drizzle of honey, or with a thwack of ricotta and some chopped thyme. Best part: It’s the type of “PSL” treat where the spices accent the pumpkin, not overwhelm it.

You’ll note that the recipe calls for 1-3/4 cups pureed pumpkin — the same amount as one can of pumpkin puree, and if you insist on using canned, I want you to be able to swap it for the homemade version here. In that same vein, you can swap all the spices used in the bread crumbs for 1-1/2 tablespoons premixed pumpkin pie spice if you don’t have all those called for.

This loaf is flat-topped on purpose. High-domed loaves are beautiful, but in achieving them, the texture suffers. I prefer these flatter loaves, which have a very tender, moist crumb, more akin to cake than bread.

ROASTED PUMPKIN LOAVES WITH SALTY SPICED BREAD CRUMBS

By Ben Mims, Los Angeles Times

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-3/4 cups pureed roasted pumpkin (recipe follows ) or 1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
  • Flaky sea salt (optional)
  • >> Bread crumbs:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup panko or plain bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pans with olive oil and dust with flour, tapping out any excess.

>> To make bread crumbs: Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium. Add panko and cook, stirring often, until lightly toasted, 60 to 90 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in spices and salt.

>> To make loaf: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together sugar, vegetable oil, buttermilk, vanilla and eggs until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin. Pour wet ingredients over the dry; stir until just combined.

Divide batter between the 2 prepared pans, then sprinkle each with spiced bread crumbs; if you like, sprinkle each with a pinch of flaky salt. Bake loaves until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of each loaf comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes.

Transfer pans to racks and let cool completely. Unmold and slice or wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to a week. Makes 2 loaves.

ROASTED PUMPKIN

By Ben Mims, Los Angeles Times

  • 1 whole sugar pumpkin or kabocha squash (3 1/2 to 4 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Split the pumpkin from stem to blossom end. Scoop out and discard seeds and fibrous strings. Place halves cut side up on baking sheet and rub olive oil into all the exposed flesh. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Bake until very tender and lightly caramelized at the edges, about 2 hours.

Remove from oven and let pumpkin cool. While still slightly warm, scoop pumpkin flesh from skins and mash it or puree it in a food processor. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freezer for up to 2 months; thaw before using. Makes about 4 cups.

Nutritional information unavailable.

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