With Will and Paige back in school, our house dynamic is shifting again. It does at the start and end of every summer. And I love that subtle shift … it means that sometimes I am the only one home. And sometimes it’s just Paige and I. This afternoon? Will and I will have an hour together alone. After a summer of all-family-all-the-time, it’s nice to have a little solo time and some one-on-one time with the kids. It balances things. It’s also nice that the weather is turning to something that resembles fall – cooler temperatures, especially at night and in the early morning, and warm sunshine during the days. It’s a glorious retreat from the burning temperatures and thick humidity of August. And this afternoon, I even noticed that the leaves are beginning to drop from the trees. Progress, baby. Really, as much as I love summertime, beautiful days spent away from the beach are more akin to torture than fun (lots of people would disagree with me, I am sure, but to me, summer must be spent at the beach). With fall setting in, I am ready for all the warm, comforting foods it brings. Like pumpkin dishes because pumpkin is fall. Or autumn, if you prefer, but I have never been a fan of the word autumn.
This past weekend, I baked. A lot. And one of the delicious creations that came out of my afternoon baking spree was this Perfect Pumpkin Bread. It’s moist, like a good quick bread should be, and it has whispers of all the right spices – cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. It smells heavenly baking … and then the best part: you get to eat it. I suggest you toast it and then spread a pat of butter on. It’s so good that way. Then, you can grab your mug of coffee and your favorite book (or e-reader … I love mine) and have a blissful few moments to yourself lost in a good book with a tender, sweet slice of pumpkin bread. You can thank me later. As for that leftover pumpkin puree, try Iced Pumpkin Bundt Cake. What’s your favorite way to enjoy pumpkin?
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking oil spray. Set aside.
- Cream together the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the egg and beat well to combine. Add the pumpkin puree and mix again.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. With the stand mixer running on its lowest speed, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time until fully incorporated.
- Add the milk to the stand mixer and mix until fully incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and then put it in the oven. Bake for 55-65 minutes, until cooked through (use a toothpick ... when it comes out clean, the bread is done). Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes before loosening the edges with a knife and turning out onto a cooling rack. Flip the bread right side up and let cool before slicing.
- This is really amazing toasted and served with a pat of butter.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.