We do not, as a rule, celebrate Hallowe’en at our house. Come to think of it, this faux holiday with its mad masquerades and sugar-fueled trick-or-treating, has always left us bored and uninterested.
Truth be told, the only thing I actually like about Hallowe’en is the fact that it brings out a number of unusual foods based on pumpkin. I am seriously intrigued by the pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin scones served in western Starbucks branches and the fact that doughnut shops serve pumpkin doughnuts.
In this part of the world, pumpkins – actually, kabocha squashes – are normally used for savory dishes and its seldom that they’re used for anything sweet. Come to think of it, the only pumpkin-filled pastry I know is the ensaimada filled with candied pumpkin sold in Pampanga.
That said, I decided to try my hand at making a sweet pumpkin dish. In the process of leafing through all my cookbooks and food ‘zines, I found a perfect recipe for a pumpkin quick bread.
However, the said recipe – from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, by the way – called for canned pumpkin. Now, this ingredient isn’t readily available in this part of the world as Filipinos have never really warmed up to pumpkin pies.
I opted to improvise and just boiled up some fresh pumpkin with some water and a bit of brown sugar. The result: a gorgeously velvety puree with hints of caramel and a somewhat floral taste.
I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit since I wanted to amp up the healthiness with some granola. It adds textural interest and a good load of fiber.
Incidentally, this makes a fab breakfast when toasted and smeared with cream cheese. Coffee is a must; pumpkin-suited teddy bears are optional. 😉
Pumpkin Spice Loaf
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granola
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup mashed cooked pumpkin
- 1/3 cup cooking oil
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- pumpkin seeds (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees / Gas Mark 4. Grease a standard-sized loaf tin; set aside.
Combine 1 cup of the flour with the sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Beat the eggs in one at a time. Add the mashed pumpkin, oil, granola, and the remaining flour. Mix until well-combined.
Tip the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. If desired, top the surface of the batter with pumpkin seeds. Bake for 1 hour.
Makes one loaf. (Approximately 12 – 14 slices.)