Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gourmet's pumpkin apple bread

My intentions were to find a fancier version of Beer and Jalapeno Cheese Bread, if such a thing could exist; a co-worker had given me an excellent loaf of the bread, and I had found what seems to be the only recipe for it, repeated many times over on all the cooking sites of the internet. Nevertheless I wondered whether some professional had perhaps improved the recipe with additions of some glorious cheese, or some glorious heirloom jalapeno or fine expensive beer.

Thumbing through the index of my trusted paper-and-binding Gourmet cook book brought me no closer to what I wanted. Perhaps beer bread is beer bread. But something else caught my eye there. "Bread, pumpkin apple," sounded very nice.

It is very nice. Gourmet (2004) credits the recipe to Rebecca's Gourmet Bakery in Cary, North Carolina. 

For the topping:
1 Tbsp. flour
5 Tbsp. sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. butter, softened
Blend together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and butter in a small bowl with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

For the bread:
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 and 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, chopped*
*Query, can we steep them, or perhaps even flame them in the Calvados we just bought?

Butter 2 9 x 5 inch loaf pans. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice in a bowl. Whisk together pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs in another bowl. Add the flour/spice mixture to the egg/pumpkin mixture, combining well. Fold in the apples.

Divide the batter between the two buttered loaf pans. Sprinkle half of topping evenly over each loaf. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean, about 50 minutes to an hour.

Cool the loaves in their pans for about 45 minutes, then turn out onto racks and cool completely.

Little luscious treats like this are so very right in fall, with its abundance of harvest goods that go right into the bakery oven and the long-cooking stewpot. Pumpkins and apples here, nuts, cranberries, squashes, spices, and cream everywhere. We must do a little study of Halloween, you know, and find out why all its foods are treats and tibits -- but why no one sits down to a formal Halloween dinner. It seems to have something to do with the prehistoric Celts.  

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