Cranberry & Walnut Pumpkin Bread
October 26, 2023
As the days have been getting shorter, and the mornings colder, my oven has been working overtime. Harvesting another beautiful pumpkin from our garden, and looking for some extra comfort this past weekend, I reviewed some quick-bread recipes from my files. Here walnuts, and plump, tart cranberries are folded into a perfectly spiced pumpkin bread. With the use of orange juice in the batter the resulting loaf is moist and brightly flavored. Perfect for a holiday brunch, or even dessert, this is an easy to make treat that you will want to make again and again.
8 ounces pumpkin puree, canned or homemade (see notes)
2 large eggs
½ cup coconut oil
1/3 cup orange juice
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups fresh cranberries
½ cup walnuts, chopped
Raw or demerara sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9- x 5-inch loaf pan by greasing with butter and dusting with flour. Shake out the excess flour.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, orange juice, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Next, combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing with a wooden spoon until just combined. Fold in the cranberries and walnuts, taking care to evenly distribute.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle a thin layer of the raw sugar over the top of the loaf. Bake until top is golden brown, and center is cooked through, about 50 to 55 minutes. However, depending on your oven it could take up to an hour or so. If the top is getting too dark, cover lightly with foil during last minutes of baking. A thermometer inserted into the center should read 180 to 190 degrees, and the tip should come out clean, when done.
Remove from oven and allow loaf to cool for at least 10 minutes before attempting to remove from the loaf pan. If needed, use a small metal spatula to loosen the sides before removing. Serve warm or at room temperature.
If using canned, look for "pure" pumpkin puree. Do not use the pre-sweetened and spiced pie filling. If you have a nice, sweet pumpkin try making your own puree: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut off the stem of your pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Depending on your pumpkin's size, carefully cut into halves or quarters. Lightly oil the flesh of the pumpkin and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Lay pumpkin hunks, cut side up, on to parchment or foil lined baking sheets. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes, until very tender when pierced with a fork. Cool slightly, then scoop out the flesh from the shells and place in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until smooth, adding a splash of water if needed. Use what you need for the above recipe and save the rest for other recipes – pies, moles, cakes, risottos, or custards. Extra puree freezes beautifully.
As with other quick-bread recipes, there is plenty of room for you to add your own flair. Switch out the walnuts with pecans, or even pistachios. Add pumpkin seeds to the top for more crunch. You can adjust the spices or try other seasonings to your taste. Adding some grated orange zest or using a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger instead of the dried, would add more brightness. To make it feel more like a dessert, you could top the loaf with a simple sugar glaze after it cools completely.