This past Fall, I acted like (some) people do before a big snowstorm and stocked up like I wouldn't be able to leave the apartment all winter. Only, I wasn't stocking up on milk and shovels; I was stocking up on canned pumpkin. Every time we went to the store, I'd casually put another can in our basket. My reasoning was this: last year, I needed canned pumpkin for several dishes, specifically around Thanksgiving. But when I went to the store, no matter the time or the store, the cans were inevitably sold out. All Fall!
Maybe I missed the article on the massive canned pumpkin shortage of 2009, but this year I vowed I wouldn't run into the same problem. Cue re-arranging our pantry this weekend and discovering jars upon jars of pumpkin puree. Luckily, pumpkin hoarding is an easy problem to fix.
Ironically, we didn't use our canned pumpkin for Thanksgiving and Christmas dishes. In fact, I haven't used a single can--until yesterday. If you know me, you that pumpkin is one of my favorite things. I love the smell, I love the taste, I love their shape, and I love the memories I have that are associated with Fall and pumpkins. And though pumpkin is a taste and smell I normally only associate with September through Christmas, I decided to break out of my comfort zone and use at least one can of it!
I made Shaker Style Pumpkin Bread. The bread uses a little bit of cornmeal for a slight crunch in the finished loaf. It's simple to prepare and comforting to eat. As one caveat, the bread took longer to bake than the recipe indicates. The recipe says to bake for an hour, but I had to keep my bread in the oven for one hour and twenty minutes. Just watch your bread carefully! It was really hard to be in my apartment yesterday afternoon, because I made the bread for this morning's breakfast. I somehow had the self control not to eat any until we sneaked a tiny slice as a bedtime snack. If any of you are hoarding canned pumpkin, I encourage you to bake this! And if you're not keeping around a few cans 'just in case', then go to the store. This year, they're well stocked.
Shaker Pumpkin Walnut Bread
Recipe Source: Dishing Up Maine
Makes 1 loaf (10 slices or so)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1) Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9 X 5 inch loaf pan with butter.
2) Spread the walnuts on a dry skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes.
3) Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg in a medium-sized bowl.
4) In a larger bowl, using an electric mixer (or if you don't have one, a whisk), beat together the eggs, pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, water, and brown sugar. Add the flour mixture and whisk/beat until well blended. Stir in the toasted walnuts. Finally, scrape the batter into the pan.
5) Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour (but possibly more). Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack and cool completely. Enjoy!