Time is passing here in Rockaway and we are moving forward. Our neighborhood is not where it was or where we hope it could be, but it is winter and spring will bring renewal.
But we need the familiar, the normal, the comforts of before Sandy. In this spirit, after Thanksgiving had come and gone in the cold, I was reminded of what was always normal for me at this time of year — pumpkin bread. Every year I would bake all through November and create delicious, spicy, tasty pumpkin bread and then share with family and friends. In the clean up of the basement, over 20 cans of pure pumpkin were tossed in the garbage.
I know they were sealed, but I was afraid to take a chance and use them. Thanks to the kindness of my sister Maria, who lives in Manhattan and has been generously replenishing my supply by carrying 4 or 5 cans at a time on the subway to bring to me.
I began the comforting task of baking pumpkin bread. As I baked, I distributed them to neighbors on the block who worked together to bring our homes back. Each bread brought smiles not seen much these days.Then some went to other friends, who I would normally see but we had become too busy. Visits with loaves of pumpkin bread brought looks of recollection and joy. My pumpkin bread invites you to share with others at the table with coffee or tea and just the act of sitting together and savor the moment as well as the spices. So, if you are in need of comfort and normalcy in your world, try to bake the pumpkin bread. If you have any difficulties, call me and I will bake one for you.
FRAN’S DELICIOUS PUMPKIN BREAD
1 15oz can of PURE PUMPKIN (Libby’s or Trader Joe’s)
2 eggs room temperature
1/2 cup canola, or vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix
If you are lucky enough to own a KITCHEN AID MIXER use it to blend the eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, and pure pumpkin
You can also use a hand mixer. Blend until all ingredients are incorporated
Slowly add the dry ingredients, adding about 1/2 cup of water, (put water in pumpkin can first) as needed so the mixture is not dry. Fold in chopped nuts, (walnut, pecans,) about 1/2 cup, then fold in 1/2 cup of raisins or dried cranberries.
Pour mixture in a greased loaf pan. Place in 350degree oven and bake for about 55-60 minutes or until knife inserted in the middle is not wet.
Turn over on to a rack to cool.
Call your family to the table to share and be comforted.