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A Twist on a Classic

By November 2, 2022No Comments
Martha's pumpkin bread

Almost three years ago to the day, I published one of my most favorite blogs; “Martha’s Damn Good Pumpkin Bread.” It is a piece of writing that explains so much about how food has, and continues to, shape my life. As I stated in this piece, “My mother was not necessarily known for her cooking. She had her staples which she made with great consistency and nourished us well. However, I must give credit where credit is due. She made a damn good pumpkin bread.” Little did I realize how much my mother taught me about seasonal cooking. However looking back, I understand this was a gift she gave me.

fall foliage

Autumn has arrived in New England and although the days are getting very short, the crisp air and stunning foliage certainly distracts me from how quickly the sun disappears each day. I do not think I could truly call anywhere else my home. I am a New Englander through and through and it’s the distinct seasons we are blessed with that truly solidify this for me. Fall brings us apples, pumpkins, stews, pies and crisps. We adorn ourselves in flannel shirts, knit sweaters, and hats. Football is a staple throughout the weekends on the television and at the local high schools and colleges. And every once in a while, we have a spectacular 70 degree day that puts a smile on the face of even the worst of the curmudgeons.

seasonal: new england fall

Now while I wax poetic about the traditions that fall brings, such as my mother’s pumpkin bread, as I get older I realize that although it is truly important to hold on to our history, it is even more important to be open to our future. Change is inevitable, but being open to change is a necessity to growth. So yes, after 44 years of my relationship with Martha’s Damn Good Pumpkin Bread, I am going to put a twist on the classic. What would Martha say, you ask? I think she would use her old standby statement “Variety is the spice of life.”

Martha’s Damn Good Pumpkin Bread with a twist

Ingredients: 2 2⁄3 cups of sugar 
2⁄3 cup of shortening 
4 eggs 
16 ounces of pumpkin puree 
2⁄3 cup of water
3 1⁄3 cups of flour
1 1⁄2 tsp of salt 
2 tsp of baking soda 
1⁄2 tsp of baking powder 
1 tsp of cinnamon

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease two 9x5x3 loaf pans. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer), combine shortening and sugar until it resembles coarse sand. Blend in eggs, one at a time, followed by pumpkin puree, and then water. 

In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients well. Little by little, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, until fully mixed. Pour mixture evenly into loaf pans and bake for 45 minutes. Check and then cook longer as necessary, typically 60-70 minutes total depending upon oven. 

Breads are done once an inserted toothpick emerges clean. When bread is ready, remove from oven and allow to cool to handle before transferring to a wire baking rack. 

Enjoy with butter, cream cheese, mascarpone, peanut butter… or simply by itself. Because it’s that damn good. However, if you want to be open to the possibility of change, let’s put this little twist on it, shall we?

The twist

the twist

Ingredients: 4 oz of softened cream cheese 1/4 cup softened butter 1 cup sifted confectioner sugar pinch of salt 1 tsp of vanilla extract

Directions: Place all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and using a handheld blender, combine. Once combined, put bowl in the microwave for 1 minute, until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the pumpkin bread and allow it to set.

pumpkin bread twist

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