Its the winter holidays upon us now that Halloween and Thanksgiving are in the can, pumpkin, now considered a super food, is on the menu in both savory and sweet cooking. So it is time to crank up the oven and bake some quick breads with the fall flavors of winter squash, dates, nuts, sweet spices, persimmon, apple, pears, and citrus.
This is one of my favorite fall quick breads, from my wonderful Quick Bread book (endorsed by Maida Heatter, Dorie Greenspan, Deborah Madison, and Amy Scherber, oh yeah), which has a new bright-warm yellow cover this year. It has a fabulous texture–moist and thick. The cream sherry (Harvey’s Bristol Cream, the old ladies afternoon sipping drink of choice, oh yeah for a second time) accents the pumpkin and after baking, you wont even know it is there except for the deep rich flavor. This makes a plain spice bread but you can also add a cup of chopped pitted dates or chopped walnuts if you like that combination. I like it smooth.
This recipe makes a convenient three large loaves, so you can stash in the freezer. I use the disposable aluminum loaf pans from the supermarket, one of my favorite secret baking pans. Great spread with cream cheese or a combination of half and half cream cheese and soft goat cheese.
Yield: Three 8-by-4-inch loaves
- 2 cups organic granulated cane sugar
- 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
- One 29-ounce can pumpkin, or 3 2/3 cups puréed fresh pumpkin
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup light olive oil or nut oil, such as walnut, almond, or sunflower seed (I like the light olive oil for baking and it goes on sale regularly for the big bottle)
- 4 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons each ground cinnamon, cloves, and coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup good-quality cream sherry (a glugg for the batter and a swig for the baker)
1. Preheat the oven to 350º. In a large bowl, combine the sugars, pumpkin, eggs, and nut oil. Beat with a large whisk or an electric mixer until smooth, about 1 minute.
2. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. With a large spatula, combine the wet and dry mixtures and beat until smooth. Stir in the cream sherry. Vigorously beat until thoroughly blended, about 1 to 2 minutes. The batter will be thick and fluffy.
3. Scrape the batter into three greased 8-by-4-inch loaf pans, filling each no more than three-fourths full. Bake immediately in the center of the preheated oven 65 to 75 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into each center comes out clean. The top surfaces will be crusty and have a long center crack. Let stand 5 minutes in the pans before turning the loaves out onto a rack to cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let set at room temperature overnight or up to 4 days before serving.
Cream Sherry Pumpkin Bread with Dates and Walnuts
Fold in 1 cup chopped pitted dates and 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts to the batter in Step 2.
Excerpted from The Best Quick Breads, by Beth Hensperger. (c) 2000, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.
Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2016
Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.