Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Pumpkin Party

So, Hallowe'en is now well and truly over, and what does that mean in the world of home baking?

It means several metrics tonnes of reduced pumpkins in the shops. And it would be rude to ignore that kind of encouragement.

After providing hours of carving fun times, our pet pumpkin, Reg, has now found his true, culinary, calling in life.

Now, although pumpkin and ginger soup is one of my all time favourite autumn comfort foods, we seem to have a lot of squash-related soup in this household. So, inspired by the success of the banana buns I recently made, and challenged by the other half's announcement that "I'm not really a fan of pumpkin in sweet things", I was keen to come up with a lovely moist tea bread with a pumpkinny element. I had the end of a packet of ground almonds that wanted using, and some stoned dates, inherited from a friend who left them in my rucksack, and surely couldn't have expected them to remain uneaten...?

I had fully intended to put a couple of ounces of Stork in the mixture. But then I managed to forget, and still the mixture looked pretty good, so I just rolled with it in the end - and no disasters ensued! Here's the resultant recipe.

Pumpkin, banana and date tea loaf

2oz caster sugar
2oz dark muscovado sugar
5oz self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2oz ground almonds
1oz chopped nuts
2 bananas, mashed
an equal amount of pumpkin, cubed very small (about 2 handfuls)
3 tblsp milk
1 egg
1tsp cinammon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
handful dates, roughly chopped

To finish:
1 tblsp honey
handful chopped nuts


1. Put the 2 tblsp water on the pumpkin, cover and microwave for about 3 minutes, stirring half way. This should cook the pumpkin through until tender. Allow to cool.

2. Mix together all of the dry ingredients

3. Mix the bananas, milk and egg together. Then fold this wet mixture into the dry mixture, along with the pumpkin. I was going to puree the pumpkin first, but I couldn't be bothered in the end. It actually worked out nicely, with pumpkinny chunks coming through into the final tea bread - yum!

4. Turn the mixture into a silicone loaf tin, and bake for 30-40mins at 160 degrees celsius. A skewer will probably not come out clean because of the banana content - but you should be able to see that it's only banana residue and not unbaked cake.

5. Put the loaf tin on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes, until it is cool enough to handle. Then turn the cake out. Warm the honey for about 10 seconds in the microwave, until it will drizzle easily over the top of the loaf. Finish off with a scattering of chopped nuts.

Obviously the best way to serve this is with a good cuppa - I realise this is my standard cake-related advice, but then again, if it's not broke, don't fix it!

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