Something a little different but still filled with the flavors and scents that mark the season - that's what I was looking for when I pulled this recipe from my box.
Pumpkin Ribbon Bread seems to fit! It's flavor and texture offer a nice contrast to the other breads I baked while using up a large can of pumpkin last week. This recipe for pumpkin bread was also a real hit with friends and family. This pumpkin loaf has an appealing smooth cream cheese filling, tastes less spicy than the other pumpkin breads I bake, and offers a nice hint of citrus.
For me, this recipe also brings back fond memories. It is handwritten on a recipe card by my sister-in-law, Mary Beth. We have spent many Thanksgivings together, in a variety of family settings all over the country. She always brings samples of wonderful recipes she has tried that feature pumpkin in an interesting way. She has shared pumpkin cookies and pumpkin soup as well as this unusual pumpkin bread.
As I searched my memory for which Thanksgiving we had first enjoyed this bread together, I was struck by the number of fond flashbacks that came to mind. I remembered snowstorms and sunny after dinner walks, after Thanksgiving shopping trips and creative leftovers. This recipe binds me to holidays past and present and reminds me of our family's unique holiday traditions. It took me on a wonderful journey that left me smiling about the places we have been and the places food can take us without ever leaving our own kitchen.
Maybe you won't enjoy making this bread as much as I did last week but if you make it this year, and share it with friends and family, it may pay special dividends in the future when you remember times past! Happy Baking!
Pumpkin Ribbon Bread
2 3oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 1/2 cups cooked pumpkin
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves or ground nutmeg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
To prepare the filling : In a small bowl beat cream cheese, sugar and flour with an electric mixer until smooth. Add egg and continue beating until the ingredients are well combined. Stir in grated orange peel. Set aside.
To prepare bread batter: Combine sugar, salt, spices ,flour and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Whisk pumpkin, vegetable oil, water and eggs in a separate bowl until well blended. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring just until combined.
Pour 1/4 of the batter into each of two prepared loaf pans. Carefully spread half of the cream cheese filling over the loaves. Cover each with 1/2 of the remaining batter to cover the filling.
Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. (Mine baked more quickly. Test the loaf early to see if it's done. If it springs back when touched lightly in the center, and has a golden color on the top the loaf is done. A toothpick can also be used for testing.)
When the loaves are done, remove them from the oven and cool on a wire rack for ten minutes before removing them from the pans. Let them cool completely on the wire rack. Store bread in the refrigerator.
Note: You may choose not to include the cream cheese stripe. I made a second batch with my son's preferences in mind. I omitted the filling and sprinkled the top with chocolate chips and nuts. He gladly consumed the results!