Comfort Food: Pumpkin Bread

Everyone has their own ideas about comfort food. I know I certainly have my old stand-by’s, dishes that I gravitate to when I need that little something extra. Often those are the foods of our childhood, but now and then we find new ones. Risotto is one of our faves for its rich, creamy texture, though it takes lots of stirring before it’s done.

Today, though, Aidan and I made what may become another of those special dishes: pumpkin bread. The recipe was fairly easy — a lot like zucchini bread or banana bread, but with pumpkin we had baked a few days ago (in a pan with an inch or so of water in the bottom). It was a big pumpkin, so we’ve made pumpkin risotto, pumpkin pasta, soup with pumpkin, etc. The bread is one of those true comfort foods, though, and that’s probably because of the spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove (or alspice, but we were out).

The recipe comes from one of my favorite websites: Pick Your Own. I’ve gone here to find local u-pick orchards and to find recipes for anything you can pick in one. They usually have good ideas, and their pumpkin bread recipe, though basic, is great (they even tell you how to cook a pumpkin and what kind to select — we ignored most of that advice because we had already bought the pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern that never got carved, and I had already baked it the way I had heard to do it before).

I did alter the recipe, based on experience and the comments on their site. A couple people mentioned using apple sauce, and I remembered that in any carrot cake, quick bread, etc. recipe, you can usually substitute 1/2 the oil with the same amount of apple sauce. It’s a great way to make a low-fat recipe out of something fairly decadent, and it works great. I also cut the sugar, though not as much as some people did. I used 2 cups instead of the 3 that the recipe calls for or the 1.5 that many people used. (I kept some more sugar because the pumpkin we started with wasn’t too sweet to begin with, and we wanted to give one of the loaves away.)

You don’t even have to eat it to enjoy this bread. Just the aroma is enough, though once you’ve had a whiff of it, you won’t be able to not eat any! It’s less decadent than pumkin pie, and is easier to put together, but the taste is almost as good. So next time I have some pumpkin around (canned will work, too) and am in the need of a little extra warmth in my life, I know just what to make.

Happy Holidays….

Published by Kendall Dunkelberg

I am a poet, translator, and professor of literature and creative writing at Mississippi University for Women, where I direct the Low-Res MFA in Creative Writing, the undergraduate concentration in creative writing, and the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium. I have published three books of poetry, Barrier Island Suite, Time Capsules, and Landscapes and Architectures, as well as a collection of translations of the Belgian poet Paul Snoek, Hercules, Richelieu, and Nostradamus. I live in Columbus with my wife, Kim Whitehead; son, Aidan; and dog, Aleida.

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