Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Loaf and Gluten Free

Today I was helping out my sister in law. She needed some cookies and maybe a loaf or bar dessert for a bake-sale, and just didn't have the time to get them made.  She asked if I could help; maybe some cookies?  Maybe a pumpkin loaf?  Her Mom had some fantastic dessert loaf recipes, and I have been giving the recipes a workout.  I've made her Date Loaf, Date Nut Loaf, Zucchini Bread, Banana Bread, and Pumpkin Bread.  I made the Zucchini Bread once with regular flour, and once gluten-free.  Either way it was great.  The fact of the matter is that I am finding using gluten-free flours seem to make these loaves much more moist and delicate in texture.  Not quite to the point of being like a cake, but borderline.
Pumpkin Loaf, made with dates

Pumpkin Loaf

Makes one 4 x 8-inch loaf
Easily doubles to make 2 loaves

1 1/3 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup butter
1 cup pumpkin
1½ cups flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cloves
1/3 cup water, warm
1/3 cup nuts
1/3 cup raisins or dates

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 8 x 4-inch loaf pan. Cream the butter and sugar and beat in the eggs and pumpkin. Sift or whisk together the dry ingredients and add in with the water until combined. Stir in the nuts and raisins. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.

This recipe is easily doubled. If using canned pumpkin, just use the whole can, then double all the other ingredients.

NOTES: These dessert loaves seem to lend themselves well to using gluten-free flours.
Substitute your favorite gluten-free flour mixture and add 1 teaspoon xanthan-gum if desired. All other ingredients and directions are the same.
I had already made the Pumpkin Loaf once before, last year around this time.  'Tis the season, you know!  I am not overfond of using raisins in recipes, as I don't like the cooked texture of them, so I substituted dates last year.  It was terrific, without a doubt.  So, now when my sister-in-law suggested Pumpkin Loaf, I couldn't even recall if I had tried that recipe yet, or not.  I checked through my photos, and sure enough, I had.  Since I am trying to test recipes using gluten-free flours, post the photos and recipes in my website, and let everyone know what I did differently, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Loaf, made with raisins
I got out one of the gluten-free flour mixtures in my cupboard, and set to work.  The recipe calls for 1 cup of pumpkin.  Now, I mean, seriously - one cup of pumpkin?  Who has one cup of pumpkin?  One can of pumpkin is nearly 2 cups.  If I am going to open a can to make this loaf, then I may as well make two, right?  That's what I did.  I made two nice loaves, plus I took just a little batter to put in a tiny loaf pan, so I could take photos, and taste it.  The larger two loaves will be for the bake sale.  Again, this Pumpkin Loaf is just divine, made gluten-free. 

There was a huge difference in the color.  I have no clue why this would be.  I used no coloring aside from the pumpkin itself.  The regular loaf was what one would expect. Denser and coarser than a cake, but moist and delicious.  The gluten-free version is just softer, more moist and tender of crumb.  I may just have to switch to GF flours routinely, for these types of loaves!    

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.