Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Nuts, Raisins & Seeds

Bursting with the intoxicating aromas of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves, this moist and fragrant Spiced Pumpkin Bread, is infused with all the comforting scents and familiar flavours of Thanksgiving that instantly warms the soul and feeds the spirit. Sweet and spicy, this sensational recipe shines 
with the full bodied flavour and rich colour of vibrant pumpkin purée, the sweet notes of brown sugar, the warmth of exotic spices, and a flurry of plum raisins and chopped walnuts for added texture and sweetness. The scent, as it bakes in the oven, has a nostalgic quality — one that's pretty hard to resist.

A batter of butter, sugar, fragrant spices, pumpkin purée, eggs, flour, 
walnuts, raisins, oil and water is blended until smooth

The batter is poured into a greased non-stick loaf pan, 
sprinkled with pumpkin seeds and baked at 350°F

After an hour, the bread is puffed and golden on the outside and still moist in the middle

The bread is removed from the tin after about 5 minutes and then allowed to cool on a wire rack

A dusting of icing sugar and sprigs of decorative berries add a 
festive flair to the final presentation

Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Walnuts & Raisins
Makes 1 9-inch loaf

4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp fine salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts 
1/2 cup raisins 
1 cup canned pumpkin purée
2 large eggs
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, for garnish
1 tbsp icing sugar, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a non-stick 9-inch loaf pan. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves in a small bowl.

Beat the butter, sugar, and oil on high speed in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times, until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the pumpkin purée and mix until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just incorporated. 

Mixing on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture, then the nuts, raisins and 2/3 cup water, and mix until just combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then invert the pan and remove the bread and sprinkle with icing sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature, in thick slices with butter or spiced pumpkin cream cheese — but it tastes gorgeous on its own!

Spiced Pumpkin Cream Cheese
Makes about 1/2 cup

8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 cup canned pumpkin purée
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp honey or maple syrup

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and beat until smooth. Serve immediately or store covered in the fridge.

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