There’s been a nice chill in the air the last few days, which has turned my thoughts to fall dishes.

One of my very favorite fall dishes is pumpkin bread. There’s just something about it which makes me feel like fall is actually here and the holidays right around the corner. The leaves start turning and sooner or later I have to make a few loaves of pumpkin bread. I started making pumpkin bread when I was a teenager after finding a recipe in a Celtic Cooking book which waxed poetic about the many festivities that featured various squash breads and walnuts. This always amused me because pumpkins, like many squashes, come from North America and wouldn’t have been used at that time or in England, but I think someone just wanted to give the book flair, and the pumpkin bread recipe was pretty darn good.

The recipe I use now is a little more modern and uses E-Z Gel to help preserve the moisture and provide for a more tender crumb. I like this because it means the bread freezes even better than it did originally. It’s easy to make this bread in mini muffins or muffin sizes and freeze them now to have on hand for the holidays. I know there are times I really appreciate having a snack, or breakfast food on hand as the visitors start coming through. As well if you’re looking for a good gift for neighbors or to take to any holiday occasion this pumpkin bread can’t be beat.

Now, before I get to the pumpkin bread recipe, just a note about the last ingredient. It’s a general category called addins. Pumpkin bread is fantastic on its own, but it also works really nicely with dried fruit, nuts or chocolate. So feel free to experiment in your kitchen and add upto three cups of complimentary flavors. I tend to stick to 1 to 2 types of additions, for instant mini chocolate chips and craisins, or just toasted pecans, or nuts in the batter and a drizzle of white chocolate on top. You get the idea. It’s fun to experiment and something you can involve younger chefs in planning too!

pumpkin Bread

Moist Pumpkin Bread

3 large eggs

2/3 cup unsalted butter or 1/3 cup unsalted butter and 1/3 cup applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cup sugar

4 Tablespoons E-Z Gel

2 cups flour

1 1/2 cup white wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (fresh ground is the bomb!)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree

1 over ripe medium banana, mashed

3 cups add ins: dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, candied ginger, etc.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 loaf pans and set aside. In a stand mixer combine eggs, butter, vanilla and sugar until smooth. Add E-Z Gel and beat until entirely incorporated. In another bowl combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add pumpkin and banana to the cream mixture. Add dried ingredients in three doses mixing until just combined each time. Do not over mix or the bread will be tough. Fold in add ins by hand. Divide batter filling each pan about 2/3rds full. Bake for 50-60 minutes and test with a toothpick inserted into the center. Bake additionally as needed depending on the size of your loaves. The more add ins in the batter the longer the total baking time. Once baked allow to cool for 10 minutes in pans before turning out and cooling fully before slicing. If you want to freeze loaves wrap air tight and freeze for upto three months.