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Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries and DatesThe Goddess loves this time of year, when the frost is on the pumpkin, the leaves are a riot of color and there’s just a slight chill in the air.  It’s soup weather.  It’s stew and chili weather.  And it’s time to make pumpkin bread!  My dear friend, The Orchid Mother, reminded me that I should be making pumpkin bread.  It is that time of year, isn’t it?  She’s very cutting edge.  So, not to disappoint her, I got out my mother’s old recipe and whipped up a loaf and it’s in the oven, as I write.  This makes a huge loaf or, as I did here, a very large loaf and two smaller “muffins”.  I used a couple of 6 ounce, well-oiled soufflé dishes, but you could use a muffin tin, too.  What I usually do, is to make two smaller loaves, 8 X 4-inch pans.  Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries and DatesThis is a cinch to make—

we mix the liquid ingredients together with a whisk.

Then we combine the dry ingredient, add the dried fruit(s) and zest, stir them together, then dump the dry into the wet, and fold/stir the ingredients together just until they’re mixed.  Quick breads suffer from over-mixing.  It develops the gluten and makes a “tough” end product.  Gluten is great for a loaf of yeast raised bread, but not for a cake-type quick bread.  Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries and DatesAfter mixing, you pour the whole mess into whatever choices of pans you choose, into a preheated oven and bake.  Remember that smaller loaf pans, or muffin-sized containers, will take less time than larger.  And if you use two different sizes of pans, then you’ll have to bake for different times (I baked the smaller dishes for 30 minutes, the larger pan for 65 minutes).  Keep in mind, your oven temperature may be different from mine, and that can affect the outcome as well.  Test with a wooden skewer; test in several places, too.  Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries and DatesI sprinkled coarse sugar over the tops of each loaf, because I don’t plan to glaze them.  But, you should glaze, if you want.  This recipe isn’t as sweet as some versions, and I’ve always liked that.  So to that end, you can glaze it, without it becoming too sweet.  The Maple Glaze recipe appears at the end of this post.  You can also sprinkle with a streusel topping before popping the pan in the oven.  Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries and DatesBut, it’s pretty delicious just as it is, sliced, with butter or without!

Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries and Dates

  • Servings: One Loaf
  • Difficulty: Easy-Peasy
  • Print

  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Vietnamese cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional, but it’s really good)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4-1 cup dried fruit (I used half cranberries and half dates—see NOTE)
  • Grated zest of a large orange (optional)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 15-ounce can solid pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Butter or spay with cooking spray, a 9 X 5-inch loaf pan; set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, measure the flour and the spices; stir to combine.  Add the dried fruit and stir until thoroughly coated; set aside.

Combine the melted butter, oil and pumpkin in a large bowl; whisk until smooth.  Whisk in the eggs until thoroughly combined.  Add the sugars, buttermilk and vanilla extract; give the mixture a really good whisking.  Dump the flour/fruit mixture into the bowl.  Using a spatula, stir and fold until the mixture just comes together.  DO NOT over-mix.  Scrape into the prepared loaf pan.  Bake for 60-75 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from the oven; cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and cool to room temperature.  Glaze, if desired, or leave as is.  Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

NOTE:  You may use any single or combination of dried fruit.  I have used diced crystallized ginger and figs, apricots alone and with cranberries, diced candied orange peel and apricots, etc.  I always add the black pepper.  It compliments the ginger nicely.  You may omit the ground ginger and add 1 tablespoon very finely shredded fresh ginger.  Many times I add the freshly grated zest of a large orange (a good tablespoon).  Sometimes I sprinkle the top of the loaf with a cinnamon/sugar combination, before baking.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries and Dates Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2018.  All rights reserved.

If you wish to glaze the loaf(s), a Maple Glaze is nice.  Whisk together 2 tablespoons melted butter and 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar (you can add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, if you wish).  Add enough maple syrup, about 1/4 cup maple syrup (more or less) to make a thick, but still pourable icing.  Keep whisking until all the little lumps dissolve and disappear.  Whisk in 1/4 teaspoon maple extract.  You don’t have to use it, but I think it definitely boosts the maple flavor and makes a more interesting glaze.  Spread on the cooled loaf.  Let stand for at least an hour, before slicing.  The allows the glaze to set.