September 5, 2014

Perfect Pumpkin Bread


One of my favorite things, after alliteration (see what I did there?) is pumpkin bread. Back in the states, my go-to recipe was the Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread by Laurie Bennett. Here in Paraguay, however, the shelves are not stocked with cans of pumpkin puree, so I had to get inventive. Well, I just had to make my own pumpkin puree, which sounds daunting, but is actually quite easy. It just takes time. Making your own puree is kind of a no-brainer, but if you're doing it for the first time, it helps to have a good step-by-step guide with photos. My favorite is over at The Pioneer Woman Cooks, one of my favorite blogs. I've only seen Ree Drummond's Food Network show once, but I read her blog all the time. Great recipes. I also relate to her life story as I, too, have been whisked away to the country and have a much closer relationship with cattle than I'd ever imagined. But I digress.

Having made my own pumpkin puree, I adapted the Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread recipe to suit the type of baking and eating that is generally preferred in my current household. Turned out great!

Pumpkin Bread/Torta de Calabaza:

2 cups homemade pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups sugar
4 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Beat the pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, and water together in a very large bowl. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour with the spices. Slowly beat this mixture into the pumpkin mixture until thoroughly combined. Add into greased bread/cake pans (about three bread pans) and place in the oven at 350F/175C for about 45 minutes. When the knife/toothpick comes out clean, it's done!

If you want to make this a smaller recipe, it's pretty easy to cut in half.


P.S. Kivevé is a traditional Paraguayan dish consisting largely of mashed pumpkin. Leftover Kivevé makes a great substitute for regular old pumpkin puree, and gives the bread more Paraguayan flair. If you do an online search for Kivevé you'll see a recipe that includes onions, which would not be yummy in a sweet bread. The version of Kivevé made in my household does not include any onions, oil, milk, or corn flour. It simply includes mashed pumpkins, sugar, salt, a little white flour, and fresh Paraguayan cheese. When using it to make my pumpkin bread, I simply remove the cheese, and voila! An excellent version of pumpkin puree to use in my pumpkin bread recipe. I will post an actual recipe for Kivevé (sans onions) later on.

Pumpkin bread made with leftover Kivevé.