Oat Rolls

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This is a variation on the oat bread I have blogged about before. The recipe is excellent for rolls, and I enhanced them by added some honey, the sweetness works very well with the oats.

Ingredients:

  • 100 ml water ( 0.4 cups)
  • 500 ml milk ( 2.1 cups)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8.3 g active dry yeast (0.3 oz) or 25 g yeast cake (0.9 oz)
  • 150 g rolled oats (quick cook or traditional) ( 5.3 oz)
  • 150 g whole wheat flour (5.3 oz)
  • 500 g all purpose or bread flour (17.6 oz)
  • oats, milk to decorate

Method:

1. Heat the water and milk until lukewarm, about 30 C/ 90 F.

2. Dissolve the yeast in the liquid in a large bowl.

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3. Add the honey, oats, salt and whole grain flour and mix well.

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4. Add most of the bread flour and form a dough.

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5. Turn the dough out on a work surface and knead it through (5 min), add more flour if necessary.

6. Put the dough in bowl and let it rise to double size, about 1 hour.

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7. Turn the dough out on a work surface and knead well, until elastic.

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8. Let the dough rest for 15-20 min.

9. Divide the dough into quarters, and divide each quarter into 8 pieces.

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10. Form each piece into a ball and form a roll. Put on a parchment covered baking sheets (you will need 2 full sheets for 32 rolls).

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12. Let the rolls rise under a tea towel for about 45 min.

13. Preheat the oven to 395 F/ 200 C

14. Brush the rolls with milk and decorate with oats, pressing them into the rolls.

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15. Bake for about 20-25 minutes and let cool on a wire rack.

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The honey is a great touch and I like these little rolls. They are small in size, but I think that is great  – if you prefer big buns you can make 16 bigger ones.

Croissants

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I have wanted to try and bake croissants for a long time, but I have held off since it is time consuming, and a bit intimidating. I thought I was going to try a couple of times before I was successful, but this is the first time I made these, and they turned out so good.

I looked at different recipes, and decided I was going to try the one from Tartine Bread, the book from Chad Robertson with recipes from his Tartine Bakery. I got the book last year, and while I have browsed it many times, I had yet to try baking anything from the book. It is a gorgeous book, and I do recommend it, Robertson has very interesting, almost spiritual, approach to baking.

These croissants are made with a bit of sourdough too, which was intriguing, but I have tasted the ones from Tartine the last time I was in San Francisco, and they were delicious. There was one problem though, and that was my sour dough had been somewhat neglected. I discarded most of it, fed it again, and it revived. I think I would ideally had an extra day to revive it, but there was still yeast activity in there. I do in general make it and maintain it a little different than the sourdough in the book, but it should not be an issue however you choose to handle your sour dough.

Ingredients: (original recipe from Tartine Bread (book 1))

Day 1, leaven:

  • 1 tbsp sour dough
  • 220 g all purpose flour
  • 220 ml water

Day 1, poolish:

  • 200 g all purpose flour
  • 200 ml water
  • 3 g active dry yeast

Day 2:

  • 450 ml whole milk, at room temperature
  • 300 g leaven (from above)
  • 400 g polish (from above)
  • 1 kg bread flour
  • 28 g salt
  • 85 g sugar
  • 10 g active dry yeast
  • 400 g unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg (for egg ash)
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream (for egg wash)

Method:

Day 1:

1. Make the poolish by mixing the flour, water and yeast in a bowl. Cover and let stand overnight in the refrigerator.

2. Place your sour dough in a different bowl and add the flour and water. Cover and let stand at a cool room temperature overnight.

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Day 2:

3. Mix the milk, leaven and poolish in a large bowl the next day. Save the remaining leaven as your sour dough starter, if desired.

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4. Add the flour, salt, sugar and yeast, and mix until a dough begins to form. Let rest for 25-40 minutes.

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5. Fold the dough on top of itself, like a letter, and transfer to a bowl or proofing box and cover.croissant-7

6. Let the dough rise for 1.5 hours, where every 30 minutes you pull the bottom of the dough to the top, stretching and turning it over in the bowl. The entire dough should be stretched each time. The theory here is work the gluten without a lot of kneading.

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7. Transfer the dough to a plastic bag ( I used a heavy ziplock bag), and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

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8. When the time has almost passed, cut the butter into cubes and spread over a work surface. Dust with all-purpose flour.

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9. Bang the butter together using a rolling pin, until you have a cohesive mass. The flour should be worked into the butter, and help it have a softer consistency without getting warm. Form a 8″x12″ rectangle of the butter.

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10. Keep the butter cool while you roll out the dough. Take it out of the plastic bag, and roll it to a 12″ x 20″ rectangle.

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11. Place the butter on one end of the dough rectangle, so it covers 2/3 of it.

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12. Fold the unbuttered piece of dough over 1/2 the butter, then fold over the last piece of dough and butter.

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13. Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll it out to a 12″ x 20″ rectangle again. Fold the dough over in thirds again, like folding a letter.

 

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14. Wrap the dough in parchment paper and refrigerate for 1 hour. The dough should be cold, but the butter should not harden, so don’t keep it there longer. If you have to, leave the dough out of the fridge for 15 min or so before working on it

15. Roll the dough out to 12″ x 20″ again, and do the letter fold. refrigerate for an hour again.croissant-18

16. Do this once more – take out the dough, roll it out and fold it over.

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17. Wrap the dough in parchment paper or plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours. (If you want, the original recipes says you can wrap the dough in freezer proof wrap and leave for up to 3 days – let thaw overnight in the fridge before using).

18. Line to baking sheets with parchment paper. I used cookie sheets and they were too small – these are big croissants!

19. Roll the dough out to 18″ x 24″ and about 1/2″ thick.

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20. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, creating 2 long, thin, ones.

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21. Cut each rectangle into 4 parts, and cut each across to create 8 triangles.croissant-24

croissant-2522. Roll each triangle up and place on the prepared sheet.

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23. Repeat with the second part of the dough.

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24. You let these rise for 2 hours, or you can do as I did and cover with plastic wrap and retard in the fridge overnight – that way they are ready to be baked fresh for breakfast.

Day 3:

25. Take the croissants out of the refrigerator and preheat oven to 425 F.

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26. Mix an egg with a bit of cream to make an egg wash, and brush over the croissants.

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27. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden and flakey.

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I was really happy with the taste and flakeyness of these, it was worth the work – though it was a lot of work, or waiting, at least. The portion is HUGE though, it makes 16 very big croissants. Next time I might try to half or even quarter it, and maybe make them a little smaller.

The croissants were fantastic right out of the oven, pretty good the next day, and OK the third. I don’t think they would have been good to keep longer. We happened to be invited to a small gathering the evening of the day I baked these, so I gave the rest away for people to eat the next day – there was no way we could have eaten all of these by ourselves!

Pizza Stone Naan

 

naan-10After getting my pizza stone, I had the idea that it might be useful to bake Naan on, being closer to mimicking a Tandoor than baking on a sheet. Of course I am not the only one with this idea, and found this great recipe and video instructions on Manjula’s Kitchen.

I love Indian food, and having an Indian grocer around the corner means that it is quite easy to experiment with. I made these Naan to both Channa Masala and Saag Paneer, and they were great meals.

Ingredients: (original recipe on Manjula’s Kitchen)

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour (475 ml)
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water (175 ml)
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast (10 g fresh yeast cake)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2  1/2 tbsp plain yogurt
  • Nigella seeds for sprinkling (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp butter, melted, for brushing (preferably clarified)

Method:

1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water.

2. Mix the flour, sugar salt and baking soda in a larger bowl.

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3. Add oil and yogurt to the dry ingredients and mix it together

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4. Add the water and yeast mixture and mix it in until a dough starts to form.

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5. Knead the dough until smooth, about 3-5 min. It is quite soft and sticky, that is OK.

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6. Put the dough in a bowl, cover and let rise for 3-4 hours until almost doubled. If you prefer, you can every 30 min or so, stretch the dough by taking the bottom of the dough and pulling it on top (gently to not remove air form the dough). It helps for the gluten, and I find it very useful with a wetter dough like this one.

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7. Place a pizza stone in your oven and preheat to 500° F/ 260° C for at least 30 minutes.

8. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes and divide into 6 parts.

9. Turn the oven to a high broil when you are ready to form the Naan.

10. Roll each piece of dough out to an oval or triangle.

11. If using, spread nigella seeds on top and use the rolling pin to roll them into the Naan.

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12. Place the Naan on your pizza stone, I could fit 3 at a time.

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13. Bake for 2-5 minutes, until risen and lightly browned.

14. Place on a wire rack and brush with melted butter or ghee (clarified butter).

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15. Repeat with the other Naan, letting the oven heat for about 5 min between each batch.

I think these are very tasty, easy, and beautiful, this is a great recipe.

Weekly baking

And last week too, since I forgot to post.

These were 2 busy weeks. I baked the potato bread from Levy Rosenbaum’s The Bread Bible again, almost managing to follow the recipe this time, but of course forgetting to take some pictures of the finished product. It is a great, sweet, soft bread, so I will be making it again though. I also made Croissants for my husband’s birthday, following the recipe from Tartine Bread – it was more successful than I imagined, and I will be blogging about it. In addition I made some enriched rolls, my mom’s ‘Sunday Rolls’ from a recipe she gave me from memory. I don’t think they were quite as I remembered, so I will experiment a bit with it.

This week I made some impromptu chocolate mousse one evening, and I also made oat rolls, from a slightly modified version of the oat breads I usually make, they turned out delicious.

Chocolate Cupcakes

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I know a lot of people love cupcakes, but I have other cakes that I enjoy more. However, sometimes, you just need a cupcake. Rich frosting, fun decorations and of course, if you’re me, lots of chocolate.

I found this recipe on JoyofBaking.com. I found lots of different cake recipes by doing a quick search, but not too many frosting, and to me the frosting is what sets a cupcake apart, and a bad frosting means a cupcake is just a cake with a heap of unappealing sugar on top. This recipe had a frosting included and it looked promising, and it was. The use of unsweetened chocolate really made very chocolaty rich without being too sweet.

I also went a got a small cake decorating set cake decorating set from Wilson, and I was glad I did. It made it really easy to decorate and make them look good, and I have been missing having some nice way to use ganache and similar for other cakes so they look prettier.

Ingredients, cake: (original recipe on JoyofBaking.com)

  • 50 g unsweetened cocoa powder (1/2 cup)
  • 240 ml boiling water (1 cup)
  • 175 g all purpose flour (1 1/3 cup)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 113 g unsalted butter, softened (1/2 cup / 1 stick)
  • 200 g sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients, frosting:

  • 120 g unsweetened (100% cocoa) chocolate (4 oz)
  • 150 g unsalted butter, softened (2/3 cup)
  • 160 powdered sugar (1 1/3 cup)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 375° F/ 190° C and line a 12 muffin tin with cupcake liners.

2. Pour the boiling water over the cocoa powder and stir until smooth.

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3. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt.

4. Use an electric mixer to mix the butter and sugar until fluffy.

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5. Add the eggs one by one, mixing after each one.

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6. Add the vanilla extract

7. Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt mixture, taking care not to over mix. You can switch to hand mixing at this point.

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8. Add the cocoa mixture and stir until you have a smooth batter.

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9. Pour the batter into your prepared cups.

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10. Bake for about 16-20 minutes, until firm and springy on top, and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

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11. Cool on a wire rack. Do not frost until they are completely cool.

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12. To make the frosting, start by  chop and melt the chocolate. You can do this in a double boiler, or like I do in the microwave. If you use that method make sure to do short intervals and stir the chocolate as you go along.

13. Beat the butter until smooth with and electric mixer.

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14. Add the sugar and mix until very fluffy. Then beat in the vanilla extract.

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15. Mix in the melted chocolate on low speed.

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16. Now you can either use a knife or spoon to spread the frosting on the cupcakes, or use a piping set. If you are, choose a tip and fill a piping bag. I used Wilson 1M star tip.

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17. You can either decorate by making a top down ‘star’ or by swirling a round pattern, I prefer the latter. It was very easy to swirl it around the cake.

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18. Top with sprinkles, if desired. Sprinkles are fun!

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It was very easy to decorate the cakes with the piping tip, I was please with how they looked. The frosting was really great, even my husband who usually find cupcakes too sweet liked it. I think the cake itself could be more interesting, but I also did not use Dutch processed cocoa as the original recipe called for, maybe that would make the chocolate taste more powerful. However, there are lot of other cake recipes around, I might try this one next time.

Lagkage – Danish Layer Cake

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In Denmark you usually have a specific type of cake for your birthday, called simply ‘lagkage’ – layer cake. It is cake layers of an egg foam cake with fillings in between. The filling can be anything you like, really, usually it some combination of whipped cream, jam, fresh fruit or pastry cream.

It was recently my birthday, so of course I had to make one. I made a version with chocolate cake layers, chocolate whipped cream and apricot jam that my mom used to make. It is decorated with lots of chopped dark chocolate on top, and it is a rich and decadent chocolate cake, perfect since I love chocolate.

In Denmark you would rarely bake the cake layers themselves. They mostly just the vehicle for the fillings anyway, and you can buy vanilla or chocolate ones in almost any supermarket. Since I can’t get them here, I had to make my own, and found this very easy recipe on a Danish blog. I have been using it for years, and it really works well.The blog has some great pictures of the process, check it out even if you don’t read Danish.  The recipe makes about 4 layers, and usually you use 3 (since they come in packs of 3 when you buy). I made 1.5 portions and had 6 layers for 2 cakes.

Ingredients, cake layers (original recipe in Danish):

  • 6 eggs
  • 200 g sugar (7 oz)
  • 100 g all purpose flour (3.5 oz)
  • 40 g unsweetened cocoa powder (1.4 oz)
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar or 1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients, filling:

  • 500 ml heavy whipping cream (1 pint + a little)
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • apricot jam, about 6 oz/ 180 g
  • 100 g dark chocolate (4 oz)
  • 1-2 tbsp rum or other liqueur (optional)

Method:

1. Use a plate to draw circles on parchment paper. I am using a lunch plate here. Draw 4 circles, or 3 bigger ones.

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2. Preheat the oven to 200 C / 390 F degrees.

3. Measure out the flour, cocoa  and vanilla sugar (if using) in a bowl.

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4. Put the sugar and the eggs in a big bowl, and start mixing with an electric mixer.

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5. Keep mixing until the mixture is light, almost white, and fluffy. You should be able to create a track with the mixer. It will take about 5-8 min for a regular portion, longer if you make a bigger one.

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6. Mix in the vanilla extract, if using that instead of the vanilla sugar.

7. Sift the cocoa, flour and vanilla sugar over the egg mass.

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8. Mix it very gently using a metal spoon. You want to be careful you don’t remove the air from the mixture.

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9. Spread the batter over you circle on the parchment paper. Again be careful to leave as much air in there as possible.

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10. Bake for about 7-15 min. They are a bit hard to see when they are done when made with cocoa. They will still be a little soft on the top when done, but should otherwise be firm. The bottoms can go dark careful, so keep hovering over your oven. The time is very dependent on you oven, I have found.

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11. Remove and let cool on wire racks. Do not remove from the parchment until you are using them.

12. You can store these for a day or so in a dry place. You can stack them on top of each other with the parchment between. The top of them will stick to the parchment, that is normal.

13. Make the chocolate whipped cream by adding sugar and cocoa to the heavy cream, and then whipping it.

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14. When you are ready to make you cake, place the first layer on your serving plate.

15. Sprinkle some rum over the cake.

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16. Cover the layer with jam.

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17. Spread chocolate whipped cream over the jam. Don’t worry if you mix some jam into the cream.

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18. Add another cake layer and repeat.

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19. Add the last cake layer and sprinkle with rum.

20. Spread whipped cream over the top (no jam) and down the sides.

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30. Chop the chocolate and add the chocolate pieces on top.

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31. Keep refrigerated until an hour before you eat it or so. It is best the same day, but after having been assembled for a few hours.

If you want to make vanilla layers, simply replace the cocoa powder with flour in equal weight, and 4 tsp vanilla. You can fill this cake with whatever you like, the apricot and chocolate is just one example. Plain whipped cream and strawberries is a great summer option, for instance.

Baking this week

I got a lot of baking in this week! I was so busy that I forgot to blog a recipe though.

It was my birthday, so I made a traditional Danish layer birthday cake – post about that following soon! I received Levy Rosenbaum’s The Bread Bible as a birthday present, and so far I can recommend the book. I made a basic hearth bread and a potato sandwich loaf from it, and both were delicious even if I messed up some of the instructions for the potato bread. She goes over a bit of technique in the book, and most of the recipes require more rising than I am used to, so it feels like you need a long time available to bake. I will see if I can get used to it, and post some results of the baking here. So far I am making the potato bread again soon again I expect, this time I will see if I can follow all the steps.

I also baked some buckwheat gingerbread cookies from a recipe from Food & Wine Magazine. I wanted to try and bake some gluten free cakes, and these looked interesting. I don’t think they were entirely successful, but I suspect it might be because my buckwheat flour was a bit old (and reading on the package it says it is best stored in the refrigerator).

Weekly Baking

This week I made some fast ‘shower’ buns because I felt like having fresh bread for lunch one day, and they don’t take long to make.

I also made the pumpkin bread again, I couldn’t help myself once I wrote up the recipe. I changed the spices a little, adding more allspice, cinnamon and cardamom. I think I ended up with a little too much cardamom, but it was still delicious, and the extra cinnamon was a great thing.

Pumpkin Bread

pumpkin-13We had been getting a lot of different winter squash and pumpkins from our CSA recently.

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I decided to use the red Kuri to make this pumpkin bread from simplyrecipes.com. I added a bit more spice to it, and that was good – I feel I could have added even more, maybe doubling the amount of cinnamon would be good. I also used brown sugar, to give a richer taste.

As most loafs, this is simple to make, but if you do use fresh pumpkin it does take a while and add some work with cutting out the flesh and pureeing. You can easily use canned pumpkin puree if you don’t have a fresh. Start at step 6 if you have puree already.

Ingredients (original recipe on simplyrecipes.com):

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (200 g)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger (dried)
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 cup brown sugar (200 g)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (240 ml) or one pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (120 ml)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (120 ml)

Method:

1. Prick pumpkin through the skin all over and place in a baking dish

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2. Bake for 1-2 hours at 375 F, until very soft

3. Cut open and scrape out the seeds.

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4. Take out the flesh with a spoon, or cut off the skin. I found the latter easiest. Puree the flesh.

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5. Reserve 1 cup of puree for the cake and freeze the rest, or use soon for something else. I got several cups from 1 medium sized squash.

6. Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C and grease a loaf pan.

7. Mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, spices and sugar.

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8. Mix together the pumpkin puree, oil and eggs.

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9. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, but do not over mix.

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10. Mix the nuts into the batter.

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11. Pour into the prepared tin, and bake for 50-65 minutes.

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12. Take out and cool on a rack, removing from tin after 5 minutes to cool completely.

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So very yummy! I usually don’t like cakes using oil as much as ones with butter, I think they sometimes feels a little more greasy, but this worked. It was a moist and delicious loaf. I think I will add more cinnamon next time, though.