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This pumpkin pecan bread is the perfect answer for when autumnal baking beckons. There's something about the change in weather that just begs for the cosiness of delicious smelling baked goodies wafting from the oven. And this recipe couldn't be easier to make - another reason we love it!
It might seem strange to bake sweet things with pumpkin, which is a squash with many savoury associations. But, just like baking sweet cakes with carrot or beetroot, baking with pumpkin adds fibre and texture, and makes your bread healthier! Add pecan nuts, as I've done here, to make a pumpkin pecan bread for even more fibre, protein and health benefits.
And why wouldn't you bake with pumpkin, especially in autumn, when the squash is in season, and you can sometimes find yourself with more pumpkin than you know what to do with! Despite there being countless varieties of pumpkin, not all are grown for eating. And it's really down to personal preference which varieties of pumpkin you use.
To make this pumpkin pecan bread or any other kind of pumpkin treat, there's no shame at all in using pumpkin puree from a can. Canned puree works a charm and yields great results -- unless, of course, the canned puree hasn't appeared in shops yet at the time you want to bake; then you could easily make your own pumpkin puree.
Choose your favourite pumpkin variety when making your own, although I'm partial to those with denser flesh when making this pumpkin pecan bread, as it gives the bread a more substantial texture. Be careful not to add too much water to your homemade puree - you ideally want a drier, thicker puree for baking. Any leftover pumpkin puree can easily be frozen for future baking.
So, if autumn baking and cravings for warmth and cosiness are calling out to you, give this pumpkin pecan bread a go. Serve warm from the oven, at room temperature the next day when the flavours have developed further, or toasted with butter. It's perfect to enjoy at elevenses or with your afternoon tea. Store your completely cooled bread in an airtight container for up to five days.
115g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing 90 light muscovado (brown) sugar 75g caster sugar 2 large eggs, room temperature 60ml orange juice, room temperature 300g pumpkin puree 200g plain flour 2 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp mixed spice 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 100g pecans, chopped
And here's what you'll need to do:
Allow the butter, eggs and orange juice to warm up to room temperature. Chopping the butter into smaller cubes will help it to soften faster.
Grease a large (2lb) loaf tin, and line it with a strip of baking parchment down the centre and up opposite ends. Then grease the parchment.
Measure the flour, spices, raising agents and salt into a separate bowl. Whisk to combined, and set aside until needed.
Chop the pecan nuts, and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180C (355F) / 160C Fan, and place a rack 2/3 of the way down.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until combined and fluffy, scraping down the sides as necessary.Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition until fully incorporated. Again, scrape the bowl as necessary.
Add the orange juice and pumpkin puree, and mix until everything is combined. Don't worry if it's looking a bit curdled at this stage, it will turn out fine!
Remove the mixer from the bowl, scraping any pumpkin mixture from the attachment and giving everything a quick mix by hand.
Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture, and gently fold in using a soft spatula until just combined. Do not over mix.
Add the chopped pecan nuts, and fold in gently until evenly distributed.
Transfer the bread mix to the prepared loaf tin, pushing it into the edges and corners, and level the top with the spatula.
Bake in the preheated oven for 60-65 minutes, until a tester skewer comes out clean. Ovens to do vary, so if you are unsure of how yours bakes, start checking from 55 minutes to avoid over baking.
When the pumpkin pecan bread is done baking, remove it from the oven, and let it cool in the pan.
Serve warm from the oven, or even better, enjoy it after a day or two, when the flavours have intensified!
Pumpkin Pecan Bread
By Wendy | Serves 4
This pumpkin pecan bread is easy to make, delicious to eat, and the perfect autumnal treat for when the weather starts to turn.