Every year, when the leaves begin to crunch underfoot and there is a chill in the air, I get the fever. I think about it during the day, at night, I dream about it... the perfect slice of pumpkin bread. Infused with warm spices, moist, just sweet enough, and not too much butter. I know, I know. I love butter, I do. But I like a somewhat healthy pumpkin bread, I want it to taste like a portable pumpkin pie that is ok to eat for breakfast. Or with afternoon tea. Or after dinner.
The fever took hold last night, so between working out and eating dinner I rifled through a half dozen cookbooks looking for a recipe.
- Uses as much pumpkin as possible, ideally a full can but at least one cup.
- No more than 1/2 a stick of butter (i.e., 1/4 c. fat)
- Very few extra ingredients to detract from the flavor of pumpkin and spices
I took ratios from one recipe, lowered the fat in another, added more pumpkin to another, stirred up the batter and threw in a handful of chocolate chips for good measure. An hour later, pumpkin bread nirvana. Packed with pumpkin, a trio of spices, and a bit of chocolate. Tender and moist, the Great Pumpkin would be proud.
Before I give you the recipe, I do have to admit something. Pshew, here goes. I used sweet potato puree. Here I am, waxing nostalgic about pumpkin bread and I used a tuberous root instead of the beloved pumpkin. Scandal! But I had 3 cans of sweet potato puree in the pantry, so I threw caution to the wind.
I give you permission to use whatever puree you want to... pumpkin, butternut, sweet potato, delicata, go crazy. I'll still be calling this pumpkin bread. Yes, I'm a baking rebel.
Pumpkin Fever Bread
- 1 c. all purpose flour
- 1/2 c. spelt flour
- 1/2 t. kosher salt
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1/4 t. cinnamon
- 1/4 t. allspice
- 1/4 t. nutmeg, freshly grated if you can
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 1/4 c. pumpkin puree
- 1/2 stick butter (1/4 c.), melted and cooled
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 c. water
- 1/2 c. chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter a standard 9"x5" loaf pan. Better yet, use this tea loaf pan from King Arthur Flour. I love this pan, and you will too... I promise.
In a bowl, whisk together both flours, salt, baking soda, and spices.
In a larger bowl, whisk together the sugar, pumpkin puree, melted butter, eggs, and water.
Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and mix until just combined. A rubber spatula is best here. Stir in your chocolate chips. Pour into your prepared loaf pan, spreading the batter evenly in the pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. Remove from the oven, cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out the loaf onto a wire rack and cool completely.
A few notes:
- Feel free to use 1 1/2 c. all purpose flour. The little bit of spelt flour is undetectable in the bread, and next time I might try 1 c. spelt flour and 1/2 c. all purpose flour. Whole grain pastry flour would also be good here.
- Substitute grapeseed or a mild olive oil for the melted butter.
- Not feeling like chocolate chips? Leave them out. You could add in 1/2 c. toasted walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts. I think 1/4 c. toasted nuts and 1/4 c. chopped figs or dates would also be delicious.