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Pumpkin Gingerbread

The recipe comes from Epicurious and is actually for muffins, not for a loaf. There are several problems with this. First of all, I love muffins, but I love loaves more. They transport easily, wrap well and can be served in any size portion. Personally, I like to work my way through a few thin slices during the day and spreading out the enjoyment, as opposed to eating one muffin and having done. Recipes that make twelve muffins can easily be converted to a loaf and vice versa. Recipes that are for either more or fewer muffins can pose a problem and, unfortunately, this is one of those recipes.

The original recipe for Ginger-Pumpkin Muffins makes 18 muffins and is precise enough (1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp buttermilk; 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp pureed pumpkin) that I never wanted to bother dividing it into a smaller batch. Not to mention that I wouldn’t want to pass up the chance to eat more of this.

After many false starts and a few overfilled pans, I have decided that the best way to approach the situation is by first removing the excess batter from my bowl, that way I never have to “eyeball” how high to fill up my loaf pan. Using a 1/4 cup measure as a scoop, I pour out 6 large muffins into a lined muffin tin. I pour the rest into a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan and set two timers. The muffins take a much shorter time to cook, as you might expect, but a loaf pan is small enough to accomodate the muffin pan alongside in just about every oven.

The most important thing to note, when making a conversion like this one, is that mose quickbread loaves take about the same time to bake, no matter their flavor. This is how I get a ballpark of when to check my loaves when I’m working on new recipes. A 9×5-inch loaf pan will usually take 50-60 minutes at 350 or 375F. I check them before I expect they will be done and I always use a tester, too.

This is one of my favorite recipes. It is full of flavors that I love – pumpkin, ginger, molasses, buttermilk – and it tastes great. If you need any more assurance, just ask Cathy what she thinks of it, since I sent a loaf to her a while back. The muffins, or the loaf, will be moist, flavorful and very tender. I love the candied ginger bits that are sprinkled throughout the bread. It is fantastic with coffee or tea and, while the spices are often reserved for winter and fall, they work surprisingly well in spring, too.

Pumpkin Gingerbread
(Adapted from Epicurious)
2 cups sifted ap flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cooked pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup golden brown sugar
1/2 cup unsulfured (light) molasses
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375F. Line 6 muffin cups with paper liners (or lightly grease) and lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, sift together the sifted all-purpose flour, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs and sugar until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in oil and molasses. Working with the mixer at low speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the eggs in three additions, ending with the flour mixture. Stir until just combined, then stir in the ginger and raisins.
Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop batter into the 6 prepared muffin tins. Pour the remaining batter into the prepared loaf pan.
Bake the muffins for 22-26 minutes at 375F.
Bake the loaf for 50-60 minutes at 375F.
Check both muffins and loaf with a tester, making sure it is clean, before removing from the oven.
Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack.
Makes 1 loaf and 6 muffins.

Note: I have used darker molasses for this bread as well. It works just fine and tastes delicious, but the bread will be much darker and slightly more likely to burn in the oven. You may want to cover the loaf with a sheet of foil in the last 15 minutes of baking, if using a very dark molasses

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  • Cathy
    April 6, 2006

    Oh yes, most definitely a very yummy loaf (of course I’m partial to anything pumpkin)! I remember it was very pretty too in its brown paper loaf pan. I’m happy to finally have the recipe!

  • Anonymous
    April 7, 2006

    glad to see maida heatter on the “hall of fame”–love her too. have you tried making the pinwheel cookies on the front of that book? i did not have luck with forming them.
    –noho chef

  • Lexi
    April 7, 2006

    completly off topic, but when’s the next BBM? and who’s hosting it this time??? I really want to join, desperetly!!

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