Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin bread is in vogue in my circle of friends right now. Pumpkin bread is as good a candidate as any, I suppose. It's fast, it's easy-- you can make it quickly with friends. It's also delicious and makes it look like you know what you're doing. I have always been fond of pumpkin bread, but none of it ever lives up to Mom's. I supposed I was just being nostalgic, loyal, and trained-- until Mom brought out the pumpkin bread this Christmas. Hers is better. And not just better! It is perfection. I asked her where her recipe was from, and turns out it's just a standby from (at least) the 1975 edition of Betty Crocker's Cookbook (minus the raisins). Well then why, why, why is it so much better than everyone else's? If this recipe is so available, and for so long, why hasn't it overtaken all other pumpkin bread recipes? She hypothesizes that it may be because she uses self-processed sugar pie pumpkin. I think it might be because, when it comes right down to it, my friends don't measure their ingredients. Whatever it may be, this recipe deserves to be a permanent fad.

Pumpkin Bread

2/3 c shortening
2 2/3 c sugar
4 eggs
1 can (1 pound) pumpkin -- Mom uses sugar pie pumpkin she processes herself
2/3 c water
3 1/3 c all purpose flour
2 t soda
1 ½ t salt
½ t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1 t cloves
2/3 c coarsely chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350. Grease two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans or three 8.5x4.5x2.5-inch loaf pans. In large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Stir in eggs, pumpkin, and water. Blend in flour, soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir in nuts. Pour into pans. Bake about 70 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Pumpkin bread freezes very well in an air-tight bag.

1 comment:

Taina said...

Besides the pumpkin (canned pumpkin can make a perfectly lovely pumpkin bread; occasionally, however, people think they will make their own pumpkin, but they use appallingly watery jack-o-lantern pumpkins, which is a terrible idea) and the measuring of ingredients (you are quite right; this is a primary factor) there are at least two other important elements. One is the method of blending ingredients. This can make a huge difference and few people know how to do it properly. The second is the use of reasonably fresh spices.