Yes, we've been hot-and-heavy with the winter squashes lately, but that's ok, because they are equally delicious in sweet and savory dishes alike. Some people think that pumpkin's only reason for existence is to be carved into some gruesome jack o'lantern for Hallowe'en or magically whipped up into a pie for Thanksgiving, but it is so much more versatile than that.
Truth be told, pumpkin pie isn't even my favorite pumpkin dessert. No, that would be spiced pumpkin cheesecake. Coming in after that, and still before the pie, are pumpkin gingerbread and pumpkin bread, and those are still in the realm of desserts. Dishes such as pumpkin lasagna, pumpkin ravioli in sage brown butter and curried pumpkin soup do a fantastic job of showcasing pumpkin's savory side.
If you want something pumpkiny and immediate, a quick bread like this one really delivers. It took me longer to assemble my ingredients than it did to get the batter in the oven, and the scent that filled the house while it was baking was just indescribably wonderful. Those fall baking smells are one of the reasons I look forward to fall so intensely.
This loaf is richly scented and moist, with the bits of pecan studded here and there providing nice texture.
- 1 cup fresh pumpkin puree, or about ½ of a 15 oz. can
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup pumpkin-apple butter*
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon**
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 350° F
- Grease and flour a large loaf pan.
- Ina large bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, eggs, pumpkin-apple butter and water until thoroughly combined. I did this in the food processor when I realized that the pumpkin puree I had processed the other day still had some chunks of pumpkin in it.
- In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix well.
- Stir in the pecans.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 - 60 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool.
- I replaced the oil that is usually found in these recipes with pumpkin-apple butter, but if you don't have any, you can substitute with the same amount of applesauce or a mild oil, like canola.
If you do use the same pumpkin-apple butter, you can cut down on the spices provided in the recipe, because the pumpkin-apple butter is very generously spiced already. In fact, I added no extra spices at all. If you decide to use oil or applesauce, however, you will need to add the spices listed in the recipe.