Tuesday, October 21, 2008
when life gives you pumpkins. . .
I could hear the rain pouring this morning as I luxuriated in my bed, drinking up my day off in lazy sips of sleep. It was a glorious morning, quiet and peaceful down to my bones. Didn't have to be anywhere until 3, when I'd walk down and meet David when he finished work.
My walk was dreamy. The day had become crisp and bright in the aftermath of the morning shower and Flogging Molly reeled out of my iPod to put a good jaunt in my step.
David's foul mood threatened my flawless day, so I whisked myself off to the little French bakery near my house. It is always overrun with strollers and their pushers, ladies who mocha and the men who love them, not to mention scary Lance Armstrong wannabes. But today is charmed because it's just me and another scattered few right now. A perfect day to spend a little time with you, and gush a little about the pumpkiny fun I've been having.
Believe it or not, there are people who can refuse a slice of Pumpkin bread in Fall. I believe that people like this have likely developed said ability after being the victim of a Bad Slice. Bad Slices come from Bad Recipes, of which there seem to be many. Thankfully, I'm here today to bring you a Really Darn Good One.
Nothing smells so cozy as something pumpkin-pie-spiced baking slowly in the oven, as evidenced by the oodles of “Pumpkin Harvest”-ish candles that vie for shelf space at the very whisper of the first chill of autumn. Call me bonkers, but I always thought it more fun to actually BAKE something rather then light a candle and pretend so I have tried quite a few Pumpkin Breads in my day. Vegan Pumpkin bread, Alton Brown-hyper-analyzed-until-it's-no-fun Pumpkin Bread, Hippie whole wheat unrefined everything Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Bread with no leavening agent (accidental, but a trial nonetheless). Some were ok, others so gross they'd have turned a weaker person off pumpkin anything for good, but none were IT.
Then I met David, and in turn, his mother's recipe for Pumpkin Bread. THE recipe. Although it's taken me a little practice to recreate the ethereal perfection that David's mother effortlessly coaxes out of the simple recipe, I have no qualms about sharing it with you. You can do it.
Just know, tempting though it may be, this cake will not turn out if you sleep walk through it's stupidly easy steps. I don't know how else to put it.
Pay attention to the harvest moon-colored batter as it splashes around in your mixing bowls. Make flirtatious googly eyes at it as you ripple it into the baking pan. It may take a little practice but you'll be well rewarded.
I sat munching away at a freshly baked loaf this past Sunday with some of my best girlfriends, we all agreed there was magic in the way indiscretions of the night before were gently melted away by its spicy goodness. Come to think of it, if your Halloweens are anything like mine, this is just the thing to have around the house for the after party. . .
Here's the recipe, I hope it brings you plenty of warmth in the cold days ahead. . .
BETH'S PUMPKIN BREAD
3 1/2 cups Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
3 cups sugar
1 cup Oil
2/3 cup water
2 cups canned Pumpkin
Combine all the ingredients and beat for 3 minutes in a electric mixer. Pour into 2 medium sized loaf pans or 1 10 inch tube pan that are greased and floured.
Bake 1 hour (or more, usually it takes a little longer but I'd give it a poke at 1 hour).
Cool 10 minutes and then invert on the cooling rack. Some people like it with a little cream cheese frosting, but I prefer a good slather of butter.