SOUTHFACIN’ COOK, PATSY BRUMFIELD
More Pumpkin!! It’s Pumpkin-Orange Bread
While we’re celebrating pumpkins, here’s a yummy sweet-bread recipe I’m sure you’ll love with coffee, tea, or any other reason you choose to eat it.
Thanks to always reliable baker Martha Stewart’s “Living” magazine, which I really enjoy, I’ve made her Pumpkin-Orange Bread topped with green pumpkin seeds. Grandson James is going to like this and so will I.
Let’s get started.
EQUIPMENT: 9×5 loaf pan, 2 mixing bowls, 2 whisks, rubber/plastic spatula, foil-lined baking sheet, 2 small bowls for butter, wire rack, measuring equipment, small brush (I use a regular small paint brush but just use it for cooking), microplane
1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus more for loaf pan
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for loaf pan
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 ¼ cups pure pumpkin puree (from 15-oz can)
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons grated orange zest, plus ¼ cup fresh juice (from 1 large orange)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
1. Preheat oven to 375*. Brush a standard 9×5-inch loaf pan with butter and dust with flour, tapping out excess.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, allspice and nutmeg. About 30 seconds. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, orange zest and juice, butter and vanilla, then pumpkin.
3. Make a well in flour mixture and pour pumpkin mixture into it. Using your spatula, mix together until just combined, which means no dry flour remains. Don’t overmix.
4. Transfer mixture into prepared pan and sprinkle top evenly with pepitas, pressing lightly to adhere.
5. Bake until tester (wooden or bamboo skewer?) inserted into center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Bread can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in parchment-lined foil up to 3 days.
* How accurate is your oven’s thermometer?
I’ve come to realize that many built-in oven thermometers, on which you generally rely, are totally out of whack, which means your baking is at jeopardy. I found out mine was off when my gorgeous pound cake took forever to bake, then really wasn’t at its best. It was because my oven said it was at 375 but it was much cooler.
Go to your local hardware store or a certain online site that sells virtually everything, and get yourself a reliable oven thermometer, which you can place on or hang from an oven rack. I recommend the $8.70 CDN Pro Accurate Oven Thermometer or the $6.10 Taylor TruTemp, tested by the America’s Test Kitchen folks.
Once you get your thermometer, set it inside your oven and turn on the oven on 400. When the oven beeps to claim it’s at 400, take a look at what your new thermometer shows. (Usually, I turn on the oven light and use a little flashlight aimed at the thermometer, rather than opening the oven, although that’s OK too.) You may be surprised, as I was, that your oven really isn’t 400 hot. Give it another 15 minutes and check again. My oven usually is off by 10-15 degrees.
You can see why knowing this is important, especially for baking. If you’re roasting meat like a roast, meatloaf or turkey, you should be cooking to internal temperature and not time to determine when it’s ready, so using an electric thermometer, which you stick into the meat’s deepest spot, determines when it’s done inside.
For baking, you need to check the temperature every time before you put your goodie into the oven. Really. Depending on what the real temperature is, you may need to lower the heat or raise it to achieve the correct temperature before you put your cake, pie, bread etc. inside for cooking.
If you’ve wondered why your baking is not working so well, this may be, and likely is, the reason.
SOUTHFACIN’ COOK, PATSY BRUMFIELD
All photos provided by Patsy Brumfield