Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and for most families that means pumpkin-based desserts. This year, rather than purchasing your pumpkin in a can, consider heading out to your local farmer's market or whole foods store and picking up an organic sugar pumpkin to make your own puree for your pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin bars, pumpkin soup or, in this case, streusel-topped pumpkin bread. It's easier than you think and the results are worth the effort.
Behold the sugar pumpkin. Smaller than your Halloween-style jack-o-lantern, this little guy has less guts and seeds inside and a dark and sweet flesh that bakes into the perfect puree consistency.
Scoop out the inside of your pumpkin, removing as many of the stringy insides as possible. This is a great time to rinse off the seeds and use them too. A few seeds can be stored in brown paper bags to be planted in the spring, and the leftovers can be roasted with a bit of sea salt and eaten as a snack.
Find a baking dish large enough to fit both pumpkins hollow side down.
Add ½ to 1 cup of water to the bottom of the dish, just enough to cover the bottom of the pumpkin about ¼".
Roast your pumpkin until the flesh is soft to the touch in a 350º F oven. This 4-pound pumpkin took about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Using a spoon, scoop the insides of the pumpkin out of the shell. They should scoop out easily. If you're having difficulty, return the pumpkin to the oven for a while longer.
Use a blender, food processor or mash pumpkin by hand until it resembles...well, baby food. And that's it! You have organic pumpkin puree to add to your favorite pumpkin recipe
My family isn't too keen on your traditional pumpkin pie, but we can always get behind a delicious spiced loaf. This one is topped with a streusel-like topping of oats and walnuts for good measure. Dense and moist, it's the perfect fall breakfast bread, but it's sweet enough to be served on the dessert table.
Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Bread
¾ cup butter, softened (1 ½ sticks)
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups organic pumpkin puree
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt.
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup butter, softened (½ stick)
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup oatmeal
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons ground flax seed (optional)
¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350º F. Grease and flour bottom of two 8" loaf pans. To make the topping mix together all ingredients using a fork or pastry cutter until combined thoroughly.
In a large bowl or mixer cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Add vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated. Stir in pumpkin puree. In a separate bowl add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cardamom. Whisk together until no lumps remain. Add half of the flour mix to the pumpkin mix, blending well. Beat in buttermilk. Add remaining flour mix and beat lightly until smooth.
Pour batter evenly into the two prepared 8" pans. Cover each with half the topping mix. Bake at 350º F for 65-75 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Slice and enjoy.
Inspired by The Hungry Housewife.
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