Oh, pumpkin. I could eat it in everything- mix it in to oatmeal, bake it into pie, pumpkin lattes (have you had yours yet? They’re my favorite way to kick off the fall season when the weather gets crisp for the first time each year). Working in food retail makes me realize that I’m not the only one! When pumpkin items hit the shelves our customers fall in Autumnal lust with the gourdy goodness that is anything pumpkin.
Pumpkin bread used to appear in our house most often on Thanksgiving Day. My mother would slice it and set it on the table with cream cheese for us to savor while we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and she started to cook dinner. She always put walnuts in it…I hate walnuts. Now the tables have turned and I put walnuts in it when I have them around because Alex loves walnuts. It seems I’ll be picking them out of my pumpkin bread no matter who makes it. Jane doesn’t use walnuts in her recipe, which makes me like her even more than I did already.
I use canned pumpkin here because it’s easier, but also I live in Manhattan and I’m not often willing to lug a pumpkin home to roast it for this purpose. If you feel so inclined, you can purchase a pumpkin, cut it in half, remove the seeds, and roast it on a baking sheet at 350 for about 45 minutes until for tender. Then scoop out the insides, puree them in a blender or a food processor and continue on with the rest of the recipe. Or you can buy a can of pumpkin puree (not pie filling, that’s different) and make your life a lot easier.
mom’s pumpkin bread
makes 2 loaves
3 cups sugar
1/3 cup oil
2 cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
2/3 cup water
1 can pumpkin puree
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
3 tablespoons pepitas (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two loaf pans and set them aside. Mix the sugar and oil in a mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time. In a separate bowl sift together the dry ingredients. Add them little by little to the wet ingredients, alternating with the water. Add in the pumpkin and mix until well combined. Stir in the walnuts and pour the batter evenly between the two loaf pans. If using pepitas sprinkle them on top of the loaves. Bake the loaves for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then flip on to a cooling rack to cool completely.