Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fall Comfort

Okay. I give up. I am officially in fall mode. The time of the year when grill foods and salads make way for slow cooked comfort and fall flavors. Generally, I don't like fall. It's not fall itself that I don't like. I mean, who could not like all the fall colors and the return of soup and stew season. It's what fall signifies. Fall signifies that winter is on its way, and that's what I don't like. I really don't like winter.

One of the best things about fall is the fall harvest. Pumpkins and squash, cranberries, apples, and brussels sprouts. Pears, walnuts, and the last of the summery tomatoes. I've been trying to come up with the best way to combine two of my favorites- pumpkin and cranberry. I've tried to do so in pie, but so far I haven't been happy with the results. So I have turned my attention to another favorite, the quick bread. (I know- shocking, right.) We all know of my penchance for sweet and delicious quick breads. And this time of year, two of my favorites are pumpkin bread and cranberry nut bread. But why couldn't you combine the two? So I took a recipe for pumpkin bread, added some coarsely chopped fresh cranberries, and called it bread. The only thing missing was some nuts. I am out, and this bread certainly would have shone with the addition of some pecans. But otherwise, it was a very satisfying quick bread. This recipe makes two 9x5 loaves, so slice one fresh, and freeze the other for later.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

1 can (or 2 cups fresh) pumpkin puree
1 2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 large eggs
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray two 9x5x3 loaf pans with cooking spray, set aside.

Combine pumpkin, sugar, oil, milk, vanilla, and eggs in a mixing bowl and mix well to combine. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and baking powder. Stir well with a whisk. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Gently fold in the cranberries and nuts. Divide batter between the two loaf pans.

Bake in a 350º oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool in pans on a rack for about 10 minutes. Carefully remove the bread from the pans and allow to cool completely before slicing.


Jann said...

This looks yummy .....it is a great combination! Will give it a try...Thanks

Claire said...

Ooooh..I love both of these, pumpkin and cranberry! When I make pumpkin bread, I'll have to try this. Fall is a coming here. I must admit that I love it because fall gives a break from sweltering heat PLUS we don't have a very severe winter.

Erika said...

This is really good, I have to say. The sweetness of the pumpkin bread combined with the occasional punch of super tart cranberry. Mmm.

Erika said...

Claire- if I didn't have to put up with some pretty nasty bugs, we'd be all over moving to the south to experience a mild winter.