Is there any ingredient inspired more by autumn than pumpkin? I don’t think so! I really wanted to get into the October spirit and bake with it. So I was thrilled to find this pumpkin loaf recipe in the recently published Bar Americain Cookbook written by Bobby Flay and published by Random House of Canada.
It was the perfect place to start putting this Iron Chef’s recipes through my test kitchen.
Whisk together 1 3/4 cups flour, 1/2 tsp fine salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground allspice and 1/4 tsp ground cloves.
Chef Flay uses a mixer but I know many people do not have one but will want to try the recipe so I made it by hand.
Cream together 4 tbsp unsalted softened butter with 1 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Add in 1 cup canned pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.
One at a time, add two eggs, mixing until just incorporated.
Measure out 2/3 cup water. Take turns adding some water, stir. Add some dry ingredients, stir… Making sure to end with the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake in a preheated 350F oven, from 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Mine took 1 hour exactly. I did the toothpick test and it came out clean.
Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely.
While the bread was cooling I made the sauce.
Combine 1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup apple juice, 1 star anise, 1 1″ piece of chopped peeled fresh ginger, 4 cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks and 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer then remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes.
Strain into another small clean saucepan and keep on low heat.
Combine 1 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup water and 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar in a medium saucepan over high heat. Cook without stirring for around 8 to 10 minutes until it turns a deep amber. Bobby was right on, this was eight minutes into the cooking time, nice!
Slowly and very carefully whisk in the warm cream mixture a little at a time, whisking until smooth. Warning, it will bubble up on you so use the longest whisk you have. You were supposed to add 1 tbsp of apple schnapps which I did not have so I added brandy instead. Cook 30 seconds longer.
Transfer to a bowl and keep warm. At this point I was a little worried, the sauce looked so thin!
I sliced a piece for me and Reg and added the caramel sauce to it for a treat after dinner. Was it Iron Chef worthy? Holy cow was it ever! I mean seriously, that is the moistest most flavourful loaf I have ever had and the sauce, although a tad thin, was a spicy elixir that worked perfectly with this heavenly treat.
Of course I am in the Halloween spirit at this time of year so I got out one of my cookie cutters and cut the loaf into the shape of a pumpkin. Not to worry, I did not waste a morsel. I happily snacked on the rest of it as I set up this shot.
Nothing like a stunning caramel sauce to take an October treat over the edge!
Stunning. Absolutely stunning. What a gorgeous, delicious treat that would be perfect for either Halloween or Thanksgiving or for any day ever. We both loved it. So moist, deep and beautiful. You could make this without the caramel sauce and it would actually be a very tasty healthy-er treat than most but I will indulge in the addition of the sauce. Which is good because the recipe makes 2 cups of it!
If you are looking for a dessert to make that celebrates fall, make this pumpkin bread. The pumpkin flavour is subtle and the loaf actually ends up tasting like the best gingerbread I have ever had which is such a treat. Much easier and faster than making a pie, this is a great Thanksgiving dessert idea for the new-er baker. People will love it and get a kick out of the fact that you made an Iron Chef recipe.
I give this recipe five out of five wooden spoons.
If you want to print this recipe out, click the Print Friendly button just below the post and make sure to select the option to print without photos.