Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pumpkins and cranberries

Susan introduced me to pumpkins. Of course I'd always eaten the seasonal pumpkin pie at the right time of year, but I never took pumpkins seriously. Nor squash for that matter, but pumpkins...certainly not. I've since learned that they can be made to taste great, and their great for you. And you can get pumpkin right out of a can, to use anytime you feel like it. Susan has a whole recipe book of pumpkin. It's orange.

So the other morning, I saw the cranberries that had been in the freezer since last year this time. And I had several cans of pumpkin that I picked up at whole foods for 99 cents a can, and I thought that these two November-like ingredients should go together. I can't say that I'd ever seen them together in one dish. Sure...cranberry sauce for dinner and pumpkin pie for dessert, but never all in one. So I riffed on my standard pancake recipe, added half a can of pumpkin, some chopped cranberries, and we had pumpkin cranberry pancakes. They were tasty, but something was wrong. The pancakes never quite set right. They were still mushy inside...like the texture of pumpkin meat. Maybe I used too much pumpkin...I'm not sure, because Susan and I successfully did pumpkin pancakes at her place one day.

But that left a half can of pumpkin in the fridge waiting to be eaten, and inventing pumpkin-cranberry bread seemed like just the thing. Except that a quick web browse found LOTS of such recipes, so I guess I wasn't the first to think of this (so why hadn't I seen it before?)

Choosing a recipe from among the many options is a fascinating process. I wanted something with whole wheat, and most of the recipes used white flour. I'm not quite confident enough to transpose white flour to whole wheat yet. Some just didn't appeal. But one was perfect. It used the orange juice I bought the other day just in anticipation of this project. And the buttermilk I had leftover from some other project. And just cinnamon, so I could show off that Vietnamese cinnamon I bought the other day. And only a cup of pumpkin, which I figured was pretty much what was left in the can. Sold. The original recipe was at this site devoted to spas. It goes to show, you don't ever know. But it was a good start. Here's what I ended up doing, based on the fact that I had orange juice, not concentrate, and lemon zest, not orange zest, and frozen cranberries, not dried.

And I didn't wait until it cooled completely to slice it. Come on...really now. That would've been tomorrow morning.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

1-1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz/235 g ) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (5 oz/155 g) whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup (8 oz/250 g) butternut squash or pumpkin puree
1/2 cups (3 1/2 oz/105 g) packed light brown sugar (I used Turbinado Raw Sugar)
1/2 cup (4 oz/125 g ) plain nonfat yogurt or buttermilk (buttermilk for me)
1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed (Just OJ, not concentrate)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (lemon zest...it's what I had around)
1 tablespoon canola oil
3/4 cup (3 oz/90 g) dried cranberries (frozen...and probably a full cup...I just wanted to use them up).

Lightly coat an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2 (21.5-by-10-cm) loaf pan with vegetable oil spray. In a large bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a blender or food processor, combine the squash or pumpkin puree, brown sugar, yogurt or buttermilk, orange juice concentrate, egg, orange zest, and canola oil and process until smooth. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the squash or pumpkin mixture. Stir just until blended; do not overmix. Stir in the cranberries and scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes; turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
(I didn't have a food processor, and didn't feel like getting the blender messy...using a whisk worked just fine)

No comments:

Post a Comment