Fall is here. Changing colors in our yard delivered the news this week. The leaves are turning red. The cardinals that frequented our bird feeder are mostly gone. On my drive to office in the mornings, I notice that some of our neighbors already have their Halloween decorations up; pumpkins of various sizes lined up, fake spider webs on the bushes. Fall is here and it is beautiful. The first recipe for TWD this month, Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Loaves, is a natural fit for the season.
I have some experience baking with pumpkin since David loves pumpkin pie. We also both enjoy pumpkin flavored cakes and muffins. So, I was excited to give this recipe a shot. The recipe mostly calls for simple ingredients; cranberries, pumpkin puree, raisins, flour, yeast, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and some butter. To my surprise though, I could not find fresh cranberries at the supermarket and had to substitute with dried ones. The challenge with this recipe is that there are a lot of steps which require hours of waiting for the dough to rise. Overall though, it is not a difficult recipe at all.
Here is what the process was like:
I baked a medium-sized fresh pumpkin and scooped out the cooked pumpkin. I mixed butter and egg in a mixer and gradually added the pumpkin, spices, and the dry ingredients. After I kneaded the dough for 10 minutes, I let it rise in a large bowl for two hours. The dough rested in the fridge overnight, came out in the morning, got shaped and waited for another couple of hours before finally hitting the oven. Like I said, a ton of waiting.
The loaves smelled and looked wonderful when they came out of the oven.
We definitely loved this recipe. The loaves taste like pumpkin flavored challah bread. The texture is very soft and delicate. The pumpkin flavor is very prominent. And the dried fruits and nuts give the loaves just the right amount of sweetness it needs.