I feel like by calling this basic I am insulting it but what I mean is, this is a delicious no frills pumpkin bread that is easily adaptable should you wish to add any kind of browned butter, chocolate chip, cranberry frills. I’ve made this a few times and each time I felt like I was adding too many frills, at one point you wouldn’t have known there was pumpkin in it (largely due to too much treacle) so I stripped it back and there it was, a super simple but delicious loaf perfect for afternoon coffee.
This was what I had been thinking about just before I made this bread. Stop overcomplicating life/recipes. The reason my last few recipes had failed was because I had made them too complicated. I like a strong ginger flavour so I put 1.5 teaspoons in but you can adjust the spices to your taste. I’ll be sneaking a slice of this into work for my 3pm sugar craving. Continue reading →
This isn’t the post that’s meant to be here today. For a little while I’ve been compiling this month’s Take Five, but, guys, I’m just too excited to not share this now. I made this super-easy pudding and then did a little happy jig when I ate it.
The recipe is based on my go-to pumpkin pie recipe, but updated a little to include a better mix of spices and to make it incredibly easy – you don’t even have to get the scales out, really. Just some measuring spoons and one bowl.
Last autumn, when pumpkin fever hit for the first time I made too much pie filling and had about six ramekins of it in the fridge, an easy to grab dessert or the main ingredient for incredibly indulgent porridge. This year, I’ve scaled back to make just enough for two portions. Two little ramekins to be enjoyed, hot or cold, on crisp blue days and drizzly grey ones alike.
I promise – I promise – there are recipes on the way that don’t involve pumpkin or spice mix. It’s October, and that means spices and variations of squash and soon, oh so soon, big mugs of mulled cider. I can’t help that I feel this way. Bear with me. Continue reading →
On Monday morning, I stepped out of the front door and it smelt like the summer finally turning to my favourite season. There was an edge to the air, the temperature a little cooler. “At last,” I thought, “Autumn’s arrived. Not long till I can crack out the tweed jacket again.”
And by 1pm I was cursing wearing three quarter sleeves and trying to convince myself that it wasn’t really obvious that my entire face was sweating. What the hell, autumn? You’re teasing me.
I tried to encourage you with salted caramel candles, but their smell mingled with my bravest perfume to make my bedroom smell like holiday caravans and now I’m terrified I stepped onto a packed tube smelling musty and a bit like pee.
There are a lot of smells I wish I could bottle: the smell of the house I grew up in, a fragrance you can’t detect unless you’ve been away from it for too long; the fresh crispness as summer turns to autumn and winter turns to spring, smell, taste, and feel all in one; sizzling bacon wafting through the flat.
I could also do with a perfume that smells of baking bread with butter, sugar and spices. Maybe Nigella should do a celebrity perfume. Who wouldn’t want to smell like dessert? (Apart from cannibals, maybe).
Because even if it’s still 26C outside, the aroma of pumpkin, maple, and all the best spices will make everything feel a bit more cozy. In one whiff it’s chilly Sunday mornings and knee high Fairisle socks, wooly hats and coming in from the rain to clasp a huge mug of hot chocolate with both hands.
The maple and pumpkin flavours are delicate, the back up singers to the star of the show – pumpkin pie spice. Since cobbling together a jar of the stuff, I’ve thrown it into yoghurt and onto toast, but I like it best wrapped up in warm, soft dough.
Now I just need the weather to catch up with me.
Pumpkin pie spice
Below is the ratio of spices – it’s easily scaled up to make a jar full.
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Mix ’em up and store in an airtight container!
The dough and the filling both use Moose Maple Butter, a taste revelation that burst into my life a couple of months ago at Food Blogger Connect. It’s UK launch isn’t until November – but it’s worth the wait. Your morning (and lunch, and evening…) toast will never be the same again.
For the dough:
350g plain flour
1 envelope of yeast
1/2 tsp salt
55g maple butter
110g pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
For the filling:
55g maple butter
2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1) Whisk together 2/3 the flour, the yeast, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs.nIn a small saucepan, warm the milk and butter until the butter has just melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before whisking in the pumpkin and vanilla extract.
2) Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients, and mix with a spatula. Add the eggs and stir until evenly distributed.
3) Add the remaining flour, mix until fully incorporated and transfer the mixture to a large greased bowl. Cover with cling film and live in a warm place until doubled in size. While the dough rises, mix together the sugar and spices and grease a large roasting tray.
4) When the dough has risen, tip it out onto a generously floured surface, and lightly knead about 3 tbsp of flour into the dough. Split the dough into two equal portions. On the floured surface, roll one portion out into 25cm circle.
5) Warm the butter until just melted and spread half of it over the rolled dough, using the back of a spoon or a pastry brush to push it to the edges. Sprinkle with half the sugar and spice mix.
6) Use a pizza cutter to divide the circle into 16 segments. Roll each segment tightly from the edge of the circle inwards and transfer to the roasting tray. Repeat with the second portion of dough and remaining filling.
7) Cover with a clean towel and leave in a warm place until almost doubled in size. Preheat oven to 180C.
8) When almost doubled in size, bake the rolls on the centre shelf of the oven for 35 minutes, until a deep golden brown on top. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
I know guys, I know. I need to step away from the pumpkins and the oats. Indulge me for one last pumpkin post, and I promise* I’ll leave it alone for at least a month.
I love it because it’s creamy and adds bulk to meals, for no Weight Watchers points. It can be savoury and it can be sweet. Plus it’s orange, and orange foods are almost always brilliant: mangoes, carrots, er, oranges, squashes, sweet potatoes and orange Smarties are all delicious.
At first glance, these flapjacks look a lot like I just baked pumpkin porridge with a few nuts and that’s that. The truth is that the porridge gets a thumbs up for Weight Watchers followers, and these flapjacks, full of sugar and glorious golden syrup, most definitely do not.
But despite the sugar, they have a balanced sweetness that teams well with the warmth of the pumpkin and spices. A colleague even said it was the best flapjack he’d had “in a very long time”. Are you converted yet?
For those nuts (ba doom tsh) who, like me, still aren’t over pumpkin, check out this Pinterest board and The Cake Hunter’s pumpkin week posts. Starbucks doesn’t get to dictate when pumpkin-eating season ends.
*I totally had my fingers crossed.
Serves 18, using a 8×8 inch pan. Click recipe to enlarge.