The first of the fall storms rolled in the other night. At sunset, the sky was thick with dark, billowy clouds. The wind was strong from the west pressing and bending the aspen trees in the corner of the yard, their yellow leaves chattering in rapid staccato.
The temperature dropped twenty degrees that night and the rain turned to snow. By morning, there was an inch of white crust covering the still green lawn. When I walked down to the garden to check on the pumpkins, the frozen crust crunched under foot.
It feels like the season to bake, a time to take the damp chill off the kitchen with a hot oven and a time to permeate the house with the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg. We’ll bake apple pies and big loaves of knobby bread–and pumpkin. We love pumpkin breads and muffins and cookies, all loaded with spices and the moist earthy taste of pumpkin.
In most recipes, you can use fresh or canned pumpkin. While we’re biased toward fresh pumpkin, quite frankly, in many recipes we have a hard time telling the difference between fresh and canned. And we often use commercially canned pumpkin for the convenience.
You can also use grated pumpkin in your baking. If you do so, you will have flecks of deep orange color and the bits of pumpkin tend to give a chewier texture. Try adding grated pumpkin to your favorite bread recipe.
Harvest Pumpkin Bread Recipe
This is a great pumpkin bread recipe! It has an attractive orange color, it’s moist, and it’s packed with nutrition and flavor. We usually make it with white bread flour but you can substitute whole wheat flour. (If you use all whole wheat, add several tablespoons of wheat gluten.) The recipe calls for raisins but walnuts make it a great pumpkin bread also.
This bread is not sweet like a dessert bread. You can add more sugar if you like. If you choose, add one cup of chopped walnuts. Incidentally, try this bread toasted with red current jelly. It is terrific!
5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups white bread flour (you can substitute up to 3 cups whole wheat flour)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 seven-gram packet of instant yeast
1 1/3 cup warm water, 110 degrees
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup puréed pumpkin or canned pumpkin
1/2 tablespoon salt
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cups raisins, golden raisins, or currents
1. Place half the bread flour, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of your stand-type mixer. Add the warm water and beat with a dough hook until it is partially mixes. (The purpose of this mix is to hydrate the yeast.)
2. Add the rest of the flour, the spices, the pumpkin, the salt, and the butter. Knead with the dough hook at medium speed for four minutes. When the dough comes together, add the raisins and continue beating for the remainder of the four minutes or until the gluten is developed. You will likely need to adjust the moisture level either by adding flour or water. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn once, and cover. Set the bowl in a warm place and allow it to double in size.
3. Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Form two loaves, cover them, and let them rise until doubled and puffy.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until done. The internal temperature should be at 190 to 200 degrees. Remove the loaves from the pans and let the bread cool on a wire rack.
Baker’s Note: The pumpkin in this bread makes it very moist. Pumpkin has a very mild flavor and acts as background for the spices and this has a mild bread combination of spices. Add more spices if you like.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe with a Chocolate Swirl
You can pair chocolate with pumpkin for a really nifty-looking, scrumptious dessert. This makes a great holiday or seasonal dessert but since canned pumpkin is available anytime, you can indulge year around.
This is an easy cheesecake to make. The chocolate requires an extra step but otherwise, this is as easy as most other cheesecakes.
2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 16-ounce can pumpkin (about 1 3/4 cups)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
1 cup pure dark (semisweet) chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
1. For the crust, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press onto bottom of a ten-inch springform pan.
2. For the cheesecake, in the bowl of your stand-type mixer, beat the cream cheese, salt, and granulated sugar together. Beat in the pumpkin, eggs, cream, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
3. Heat the chocolate chips until melted, either in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add one cup of the pumpkin batter and stir it into the melted chocolate.
4. Pour the pumpkin batter into the prepared crust. Spoon the chocolate batter on top. Use a straightedge spatula and vertically cut through the batters to create a chocolate swirl in the cheesecake.
5. Bake for 60 minutes or until the cheesecake tests done. Cool completely and then chill in the refrigerator before serving.
Pumpkin Fritter Recipe
This isn’t a baking recipe—fritters are deep fried—but this is such a beloved recipe that we had to include it. And it’s easy.
We’ve been making these pumpkin fritters for a long time. They are wonderful for supper on a chilly fall evening served alongside a soup or a salad. We serve them hot, drizzled with maple. The corn in these fritters complements the pumpkin well.
You deep fry these pumpkin fritters just as you would French fries. The fritter batter mixes together quickly so this is a quick dish to put together for those evenings when you just don’t have a lot of time. It’s also very economical.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
3 cups grated, raw pumpkin
1 cup frozen or drained canned corn kernels
1. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Add the milk and eggs and stir until mixed. Add the pumpkin and corn kernels.
2. In a deep fryer or heavy pan, heat enough vegetable oil for deep frying. The oil should be very hot, 375 degrees.
3. Drop three or four large spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil. Let them cook for three or four minutes, turning once, or until they just start to brown. Remove them to dry on paper towels. Serve immediately drizzled with maple syrup.
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Dennis is the founder and general manager of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho, a full-line kitchen store and online retailer of food, baking mixes and ingredients, and kitchen tools.
The Prepared Pantry sells over 250 different baking mixes.