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I like the global aspects of food and cooking and eating (not so much other globalisations). The fact that I get to know what Hannukah and Rosh Hashanah are, what they eat – or rather don’t – during Ramadan, what Cinco de Mayo is and why I should practise some recipes before that. It’s a wonderful side of the whole wide world within your reach, down one information highway or another.
I do embrace Thanksgiving and the American autumnal (fall! you unglobal idiot!) dishes, even though I don’t understand how stuffing is dressing and both are a basically separate from turkey side dish. But pumpkin makes me miss a step.
There’s nothing redeeming about pumpkin in my culinary thinking. It’s a huge animal, impossible to peel and completely tasteless when roasted, boiled, poached or fried. It’s about as useless as kale is – there are so many more interesting vegetables to have that pumpkins (and kale!) are a complete waste of time.
Pumpkin pie to me is an acquired taste that I shall never acquire; pumpkin roast is something the vegetarian acquaintances I don’t particularly like might eat. Pumpkin carving belongs (in the past, thank God) with kids and the munchkin pumpkin fondue is lovely, but I have a perfectly good fondue pot which is about as edible.
But – there’s always a ‘but’ in my missives – I’ll say it very quickly: pumpkin bread is good. Very much the thing to do with this tin of puree knocking about the cupboard. VERY good in fact – not matching up to banana bread but still. Good. Bake it. Go on now. Just don’t get a tin of puree specially for the purpose if you have perfectly good bananas in the house.
pumpkin breadServings: one loaf cakeTime: about an hour and a half
- 225g (2 cups minus 1 tbsp.) plain flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 90g (1/3 cup) groundnut oil
- 125g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 125g (2/3 cup) dark brown sugar
- 225g (1 cup) pumpkin purée
- 2 large eggs
- 90g (1/3 cup) water
- 50g (½ cup) chopped walnuts
- 50g (½ cup) dried cranberries
- icing sugar, for dusting
1. Butter and flour a loaf tin. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.
2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir in the nuts and dried cranberries. In another, large bowl whisk or beat with an electric mixer the oil, both sugars, pumpkin, puree, eggs and water until smooth.
3. Fold the flour and fruit/nut mix into the bowl until only just combined. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
4. Remove from the oven, let it stand in the tin for about 20 minutes, then take the cake out of the tin onto a wire rack and generously dust with icing sugar.
5. Serve when still a little warm, slice and toast lightly the next day.