Thursday, November 5, 2015
Cooking with the Presidents: JQA Pumpkin Bread
When I stumbled upon a recipe for John Quincy Adams' pumpkin bread, though, I felt like it was divine intervention, or at least worth a try.
Confession time: I've never used fresh-roasted pumpkin to make pumpkin everything. I've always used cans (of pumpkin puree---not pumpkin pie filling; I have some standards). I've been wanting to roast my own pumpkins, though, and I figured a John Quincy Adams recipe gave me the perfect excuse.
I guessed that one small sugar pumpkin wouldn't give me the two cups of mashed pumpkin I needed for the recipe, so I bought two. But then before I got around to making this, one of them went all gross and squishy on me, so I was down to one. In a way that was a good thing, because dealing with the slimy innards was a lot more time-consuming and disgusting than opening a can.
I wound up with about 1 1/4 cups of pumpkin, so I basically halved-plus-somed the recipe, meaning I halved everything then added a bit more. It was very scientific. I did stray a bit when it came to the ginger and sugar. I added the full amount of ginger, and didn't add any extra to the halved amount of sugar. That wasn't done for health reasons or anything. It just seems that recipes call for way more sugar than they needs. I felt bad second-guessing John, but whatever. I also didn't add more than the halved-amount of eggs because that would have been impractical.
Anyway, to make the recipe as I did, you'd need:
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 TBSP cinnamon
1/2 TBSP nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 1/2 c. sugar
A little less than 1/2 c. water
1 c. pureed pumpkin (cooked or canned)
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Add the other ingredients and mix until incorporated.
Pour batter into one or two loaf pans, depending on how big you want your loaves.
Bake about an hour (probably longer for one large loaf), cool, and enjoy!
In the end, I had wound up with enough for two decent-sized loaves. I had planned on sharing one with relatives who live down the street, but...that didn't happen. (Sorry, guys.)
The end result? Really, really good. The bread was moist and flavorful yet mild. This is the pumpkin bread I've been looking for. Thank you, John Quincy Adams!