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  • Writer's pictureTina

Foodie Friday: Pumpkin Bread




I have a soft spot for old cookbooks. More accurately, I have a soft spot for cookbooks that remind me of my childhood, grandmothers, and mom. I have a modest collection of Pennsylvania State Grange Cookbooks. I believe every household in existence in Western Pennsylvania has at least one Pennsylvania State Grange Cookbook in their library. Every grandmother, aunt, cousin, and friend had at least one version of the Pennsylvania State Grange Cookbooks when I was a kid. These collections of classic recipes were usually pulled out and dusted off during the holiday season or during the fall harvest season when it was time to home can the abundance from the garden. That, at least, was my experience.


As I grew into an adult, I developed a nostalgia for the old recipes I grew up with. Now, mind you, dear reader, this was before the internet, and everything could be found on Google. It's difficult to remember those days, but they did indeed exist. To access these recipes, I bought copies of the cookbooks my grandmother and mother used. Sometimes, I picked them up for a few dollars at garage sales. Others, I bought brand new when I would luck into a complete collection of all the Grange Cookbooks at little country shops across the state. It was once a goal to own every Grange Cookbook in print. However, that goal was set aside and even forgotten at some point.


My favorite cookbooks are the used copies I picked up at garage sales. Like my Grandma Tillie, most cooks made annotations in the margins of their cookbooks. I like to read the comments, adaptations, and adjustments that are recommended by better cooks who have come before me. It's fun to think about all the fun times, smiles, and love that went into the meals, desserts, and party foods made over the years. I especially enjoy reading Jell-o salad recipes. Take note, I said read. I don't like Jell-o; I never have. I was the weird kid who refused to eat the exotic delicacy "Finger Jell-O" at birthday parties or as classroom treats. It's a texture thing for me. I don't like rubbery food. However, Jell-o salads remind me of holiday gatherings with aunts, uncles, and cousins when I was a child. Every potluck gathering had at least one Jell-o salad or dessert on the buffet table.


I believe most of the recipes handed down from my grandmothers originated in The Pennsylvania State Grange Cookbooks. This recipe for pumpkin bread is no different. I found this recipe years ago and made several loaves to share with friends and colleagues at work. This bread is the perfect balance of moist, sweet, and spicy. It checks all the boxes for my pre-requisite for fall flavors. I no longer remember which copy of the Pennsylvania State Grange Cookbook it came from, but it has been used frequently enough to warrant its own recipe card in my recipe index. Continuing with the pumpkin theme for September, I hope you, too, enjoy this old-fashioned and delicious recipe.


Pumpkin Bread


Servings: Makes 2 loaves Prep Time: 20 Minutes Cook Time: 65 Minutes Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


INGREDIENTS

2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1½ sticks (¾ cup) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 (15-oz) can 100% pure pumpkin (I use Libby's)


INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 325°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Generously grease two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans with butter and dust with flour (alternatively, use a baking spray with flour, such as Pam with Flour or Baker's Joy).

Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined; set aside.


In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until just blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until very light and fluffy, a few minutes. Beat in the pumpkin. The mixture might look grainy and curdled at this point -- that's okay.


Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined.


Turn the batter into the prepared pans, dividing evenly, and bake for 65 – 75 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the loaves cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


Fresh out of the oven, the loaves have a deliciously crisp crust. If they last beyond a day, you can toast individual slices to get the same fresh-baked effect.


Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The bread can be frozen for up to 3 months. After completely cooling, wrap it securely in aluminum foil or freezer wrap or place it in a freezer bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.


On this beautiful September Friday, stay safe, be smart, enjoy good food and seasonal recipes, and come see us at the Ligonier Country Market. There are only three left in the season. Also, mark your calendar for our Fall at the Farm event on Saturday, October 7, from 9-1, and keep washing your hands, especially when cooking.

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