Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Autumn Pumpkins

I felt hungry for something, anything, pumpkin immediately upon removing the lid to this week's CSA harvest basket and spotting that bright orange sphere.
First I considered making a pumpkin soup to serve on a chilly evening, then continued to think about all the different, delicious dishes I could create with a pumpkin. Finally, I decided on pumpkin bread. I felt pumpkin bread would make that little pumpkin go the furthest so that not only would I enjoy the pumpkin, but I would have plenty to share as well. I set to work, cutting the pumpkin in half to remove the seeds and stringy fiber from its center.
Next, I washed the seeds under the running water and carefully sorted through them so that only the most plump, mature seeds would be roasted.
Coating the bottom of a pan with a dab of butter, I tossed the seeds with a couple of shakes from the pumpkin pie spice tin and roasted them in the oven at 350 F until they were slightly browned and toasted. The pumpkin halves were turned face down in a pan and roasted in that same oven. When they were fork tender, after about a half hour, I removed them from the oven and set them aside until they were cool enough so that I could comfortably handle them.
Carefully peeling the skin from each of the pumpkin halves, I mashed the pumpkin with my potato masher until it was the texture I desired.
After a quick trip to the grocery store to procure brown sugar and chocolate chips, I gathered the ingredients.
Really Rose's Pumpkin Bread Recipe
1-3/4 Cups Mashed Pumpkin
1-1/2 Cups Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
3 Eggs
3 Cups Unbleached Flour
2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Chocolate Chips
Cream the brown sugar and butter together, then whip in the eggs and blend in the pumpkin. Add all of the spices and other dry ingredients - except for the flour - to the pumpkin mixture and stir until well blended. Add the flour, one cup at a time, stirring in each additional cup completely before adding the next one. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spoon the mixture into greased bread pans and bake at 350 F - approximately 20 minutes for small bread pans and 40 minutes for large, or after a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for a few minutes before removing from the pans. Yields one large and two small loaves.
Cool the loaves completely before slicing. Store in the refrigerator for use within a week or freeze for another time.

Taste tester Kriss has indicated that this batch of bread is delicious without butter - and should be heavenly with.

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