Everywhere I turn I am reminded that Fall is upon us. Shorter days, cooler nights, falling leaves blanketing the ground….and pumpkin in EVERYTHING! Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bars, cake, cookies, cheesecake, pancakes…auuugh! It is endless. But as much as the pumpkin onslaught has tempered my enthusiasm for all things pumpkin I still find myself wanting to pull out my loaf pans and bake some pumpkin bread. Today was the perfect day to do so. With rain in the forecast, it was time to hunker down at home in my jammies and bake. I pulled out a favorite recipe, Rebecca’s Apple and Pumpkin Bread from Gourmet magazine’s You Asked For It column. Moist and flavorful, spiced with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and an added twist of chunks of apples peppered throughout plus a crunchy cinnamon sugar topping. It is a slice of yumminess. Perfect with a steaming cup of tea or coffee, especially on a wet, chilly day.
TWEAKS. I add chopped toasted pecans to the streusel topping to add some crunch and substitute brown sugar for part of the sugar in the topping. If you like the contrast of tart and sweet, use granny smiths or pippins. I have used golden delicious, fuji, and mutsu apples with great results. Really, any apple that doesn’t break down works well. At times I use mace instead of nutmeg for a milder, subtle flavor and I add ginger to up the spice. The recipe makes two loaves of bread, one for now and one you can wrap and freeze for another day. Enjoy!
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar I use 3 T granulated sugar + 2 T brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or mace
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1 (15-oz) can solid-pack pumpkin (original recipe calls for 16 ounce, add 1/4 cup applesauce if desired)
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2-1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (2 cups) I use Pippen and Fuji, your choice
- For topping: Blend together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and butter in a small bowl with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add nuts. Set aside.
- For bread: Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 X 5 inch loaf pans. Set aside.
- Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg or mace, cloves and allspice into a medium bowl.
- Whisk together pumpkin oil, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl.
- Add flour mixture, stirring until well combined.
- Fold in apples.
- Divide batter between buttered loaf pans. Sprinkle half of topping evenly over each loaf.
- Bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of bread comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool loaves in pans on a rack for 45 minutes, then turn out onto rack and cool completely, about 1 hour.
- Yield: two loaves.