Friday, October 26, 2012

local love: Elmridge Farm pumkin cranberry bread

Well, fall has finally arrived. The leaves are all aglow in reds and oranges and yellows and chilly temperatures have replaced the warm summer breezes. But there's no better sign that it is autumn than the sudden pumpkin mania gripping the world. There's just something about fall that makes people throw all other ingredients to the curb and focus on those big orange gords. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin. It's literally everywhere you look. While I do love me some pumpkin, I doubt I would ever drink a pumpkin latte and my pumpkin pie craving is easily satisfied by a single piece at Thanksgiving. But that didn't stop me from grabbing a cute lil' pumpkin from Elmridge Farm at the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market. Elmridge out of Centreville is a mainstay at the market with shelves bursting with local goodies. They pretty much have everything you're looking for.

I originally had visions of pumpkin bundt cake but this bad boy ended up in pumpkin cranberry bread. Last season planting I remember serving a similar loaf and folks went nuts. I mean, what's better to come home to on a cold planting day than a hot bowl of soup and a moist pumpkin bread all slathered in butter. Nothing. But this version went all vegan on me since there were no eggs to be had. A quick internet search led me to this recipe over at All Recipes which I then made my own. And so I give you:

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

1 3/4 c. flour
1 c. brown sugar
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. plus a few pinches nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
few pinches allspice
2 t. vanilla
1 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. canola oil
1/3 c. coconut milk
1/3 c. pumpkin seeds (raw, unsalted)
1/2 c. dried cranberries

If you are making your own pumpkin puree (local is best baby!), get that pumpkin a roasting. Perhaps 425 for 20-30 min should do it. When its all soft, scrape out the flesh and puree til smooth.

Preheat oven to 350. Sift together dry ingredients. Mix in the wet ingredients til all the flour is absorbed. Fold in the nuts and cranberries. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 min. The crust did brown quite a lot so next time I'd probably cover it in the last 15 minutes. When done, cover with foil and let it steam for about 15 min. This helps keep all that moisture right where you want it, inside.

This loaf was moist and delicious and proves that vegan food isn't missing anything. However, I do think the loaf could easily have handled  more spice. More nutmeg and perhaps some cloves which I didn't have on hand.

Brent just had a piece and says we should buy more pumpkin. So, I guess I am joining team pumpkin after all.